What Is a Timeshare? Five Small but Important Things to Know

what is a timeshare property contract shared real estate

The golden age of timeshare may have come and gone with the 80s but business is still booming in the realm of vacation sales. 

Around the world, about 9.6 million people already own a timeshare or shared ownership schemes, and these numbers are increasing daily. 

What is a timeshare though, and is it really as good or as bad as it seems? 

1. Types of Timeshare Contracts 

Timeshare is a type of shared ownership of a vacation apartment. You can buy into the scheme by purchasing a title deed for a lifetime of occupation in one-week increments per year. 

There are two different ways to do this: 

• Shared Deeded Contracts where all the owners share one title deed 
• Shared Lease Contracts which work the same way except they have an expiry date 

In the latter case, the resort keeps the title deed and your right to occupation usually ends after 20 years. 

2. Types of Timeshare Ownership 

Additionally, there are three different ways to vacation with a timeshare. 

Fixed Week Ownership means you can only occupy the same week in the same resort every year. 

Floating Week Ownership entitles you to occupy a different week as long as it's within in a particular season of the year 

Points Ownership allocates a value to each timeshare week in a shared portfolio. Depending on how many points you own, you can occupy any equivalent week in this portfolio. 

3. What Is a Timeshare Good For? 

At face value, timeshare ownership’s a good concept. However, it’s earned a bad name thanks to unscrupulous developers and salespeople over the years. 

These are the benefits of owning a timeshare: 

• Enjoying a familiar location every year 
• Resort-like services and amenities 
• No hassles with finding accommodation every year 

Some people also manage to recoup some of their costs by renting out their weeks to third parties on occasion. 

4. Does a Timeshare Have Any Drawbacks? 

Despite these perks, the ongoing costs of owning a timeshare are significant. You can’t take a break from your payments if you encounter financial difficulty either. 

You’ll also enjoy little flexibility when it comes to vacationing at a different time of year or in a different location. 

It’s extremely difficult to get rid of your timeshare if you don’t want it any longer. Timeshare cancelation is near impossible without experienced legal assistance. 

5. What Are the Extra Costs Involved in Timeshare? 

The initial cost of a timeshare week is usually over $20,000 or more. If you don’t have this money saved up, the timeshare company will finance the amount. 

Usually, this costs you extra in the form of between 14 and 20% interest. 

Then, you’re responsible for an annual maintenance fee to pay for the upkeep of your timeshare week. These fees increase by around 4% annually. 

If you want to exchange your week for another time of year, you’ll need to pay an exchange fee. It’s easy to see how these costs add up and can quickly become unaffordable. 

Buyer Beware 

Long story short, before you commit to any long-term outlay in this area, it’s important to figure out what is a timeshare going to do for you. 

Unless you can benefit substantially from it, rather spend your money elsewhere. 

Keep reading our blog for the latest tips on investing, property management, and real estate. Visit the Real Estate section for more insights on timeshare rentals and contracts.

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