Ever dream of having a vacationing home? Then realize you've got no cash to afford a summer beachouse or a wintry lodge for a retreat? Well now you don't have to worry about needing a ton of cash to buy your home forever- you just need it for a week, afterall! The magic of timeshares can get you that week for minimal cost to you, and can finally have your very own vacation home. Keep reading to find out more about them, including the types, typical costs, and even see some being sold right now!
What is a Timeshare?
A timeshare is pretty much what it sounds like. It's when you are given the right to use a property- or properties- such as resort condominium unit, for a particular amount of time. Usually you are given rights to the property for a week in the year. The same week every year, to be exact, but there are exceptions.
The concept has become very popular with many resort developers and prominent hoteliers such as Starwood, Disney, Marriott, Wyndham, and Hilton, who you can buy/trade timeshares with. Vacation ownership is one of the better parts of life for certain, and it's very easy to find affordable vacationing places for cheap, but more on that later. For now, you should familiarize yourself with the types and the best ones for yourself.
Fixed Week Ownership
This is the most basic unit of timeshares and probably the one you'll have heard about before. It's simply where you own the right to use the vacationing property for a specific time during the year. Usually it's marked off by a week on a calendar starting from the very first week of the year or some where close to it. Example: January 1-7 would be week 1, which you might own the rights to. Week 51 would be around Christmas and week 26 is usually near the 4th of July.
Floating and Rotating
These types of vacationing properties shift the week(s) you're allowed to use your timeshare in different manners. A floating week owner will be able to request a specific week after his season has started. For example, I buy the property (the week) and then declare I'll use a week in the summer. Then, during the summer, I can choose a specific week.
Rotating timeshares still function as if they were fixed week, only the week you first chose will be rotated after a year to the one before or after it. Again, an example: You want to use your week during Christmas one year, so you go week 51, but next year you'll trade that time with someone else and be demoted to week 50.
Interested in RCI?
Points programs allow you to accrue points by your level of ownership in a timeshare. You can use your points to purchase time in your share! You can buy fractions or whole weeks, but be aware that points programs use "point charts" to determine your amount of points. Things that will determine how much you will spend via the points chart include:
- How popular the vacationing resort is.
- The size of the property- smaller means you'll need to spend fewer points, and larger properties are more points to book.
- The amount of time you (don't) share is also a factor. For example, getting 2 weeks would be more points than getting 1.
- The season. Namely how popular it is. Don't expect Christmas to be cheap (even though it's the giving season).
RCI is one of the more amazing points programs. They've been around since the 70s and allow you to exchange points between resorts they own- you wouldn't be stuck going to the same exact place every year for vacation!!! In addition, you can use them for other things completely, like cruises! The video to the side has more about them.
Buying a Timeshare
Buying a timeshare isn't complicated, but there are some basics you should be aware of, like what kind of contract you sign (look for the one you prefer). A deeded contract will give you access to a timeshare indefinitely, but you have to be willing to pay taxes on it (or "maintenance fees" as the owner will call them). But that's a small price to pay when you think that you could resell your week, rent it out, or even leave it to someone in your will!
On the other hand, a right to use contract will only afford you a limited number of years to use the property. You can still resell it or rent it, but it won't be at nearly the premium as deeded contracts. Check out the Amazon listings for more info on finding a good timeshare!
Selling a Timeshare
You may be here because you're wondering more about how to get rid of a timeshare. There are a few steps you need to go through to make sure you do it properly without risk, such as checking to see your type of ownership and avoiding paying upfront commissions to a real estate agency that offers to help until you've checked them out. Basic stuff, but at you can find more details at another hubpage, specifically: Selling timeshares.
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