How Do Timeshares Work, and Are They Worth It?

You’ve probably heard of timeshare or vacation ownership properties, and although everyone has something negative to say about them, it’s a steady rising industry having a worth of over $10 billion. To help you decide if they’re something you should avoid or not, here’s everything you need to know about timeshare properties:

What Is a Timeshare?

Timeshares are a way for several individuals to share ownership of different properties, typically vacation homes or humble apartments near resort areas. A timeshare divides the property into one or two-week periods, and if a buyer wants to own individual properties for a more extended period, they can purchase consecutive timeshares. These can be either a hit or miss, that’s why most groups under a timeshare contract use membership tracking and management systems to help them make more informed decisions.

How Does It Work?

When it comes to timeshares, you only need to consider the type of contract or ownership and see how each one works for you to visit your timeshare property.

Timeshare Contracts

women signing papersFirst, you’ll need to determine who owns the property indicated in the contract. These can include shared deeded or share leased deals.

  • Shared Deeded Contract

A shared deeded contract is where it divides the ownership of the timeshare property between each member involved in the timeshare. Each property owner can only ‘own’ a unit during a specific week or set of weeks.

  • Shared Leased Contract

Meanwhile, a shared leased contract follows the same arrangement, except you don’t get a deed because you’re only ‘leasing’ that property. It also expires, so ‘owners’ can switch between leasing the timeshare property.

Timeshare Ownership

Timeshare ownership is another way that owns the timeshare properties explain how they can use the property on a specific week or set of weeks. These include a fixed week or floating week options.

  • Fixed Week Option

If you purchase a timeshare property under a fixed week option, you can select a particular week of the year and have that place to yourself during that allotted time.

  • Floating Week Option

Buying a timeshare property under the floating week options enable you to choose a week but within specific limitations. For instance, the property owner allows you to book the place any week between January 14 through May 20, except for the previous weeks before and after Easter.

Timeshare Exchange Programs

One of the newest ways you can get timeshare access is a point system or the timeshare exchange program. The system works by giving a person a timeshare property worth a specific number of points, and they can use those points to access other resorts that follow the same system.

Costs of a Timeshare

Timeshares can be costly, especially if you don’t have the means to pay the full amount upfront. This factor can result in you paying for high rates for financing the balance. Besides paying for the property, you’ll need to pay additional maintenance fees annually.

Pros of Owning a Timeshare

  • It eases your mind knowing what you’re going to get each year.
  • It eliminates the hassle of continually reserving and renting accommodations.
  • Timeshare properties can be enjoyed by friends and family too.

Cons of Owning a Timeshare

  • The ongoing costs can be expensive.
  • You have little to no flexibility when changing schedules on the contract.
  • Timeshare properties are challenging to resell.

Deciding if a timeshare would work well for you will depend on your specific needs. However, with the newfound knowledge you have, you should be able to make an informed decision.