Fidelity Resales Blog

What is a Timeshare and How Does It Work?

Posted by Hannah O'Brien on May 27, 2020 7:00:00 AM

What started as owning one week at one unit at the same resort for years has evolved into an expansive network of clubs, memberships and resorts all over the world. Timeshares have come a long way since their inception, and are still a great option for vacations. Vacation ownership, or timeshare, allows families and owners to save on vacations for a lifetime, while staying in top-rated resorts with exceptional amenities, and extra living space.

What is a Timeshare?

What is a timeshare and how does it work

A timeshare is a property that has divided ownership or rights of usage. There are different types of timeshare, also known as vacation ownership. Big name hospitality brands like Wyndham, Hilton, Marriott and Disney are all associated with the concept of timeshare, catering to the leisure vacation needs of their owners.

Check out the Best Wyndham Resorts to Own in 2020

As times are changing, most brands are moving to a points-based model of timeshare as opposed to the traditional same week/same resort ownership. This allows for owners to have the most flexibility in their vacation options. Below we'll describe the different types of timeshare, points-based included. There are so many different brands, programs, units and locations that it's totally possible to find one that fits the needs of you and the ones you love to travel with!

What is a Timeshare Week?

A timeshare week is the most widely known type of timeshare. As with all timeshares, owners have paid for their share of time at the resort, and generally that time equates to one full week. Each resort has a different calendar system for its owners. The first week of January is typically week one, however, and the last week of December is generally called week 52.

Types Of Timeshare

Deeded Timeshare

A deeded timeshare property has the same ownership rights as actual real estate (however, unlike real estate, timeshare is not an investment and does not appreciate). A deeded timeshare means that the owner has the right to sell it, bequeath it, rent it or even give it away.

how does timeshare work

Right to Use Timeshare

Right to use timeshare grants owners the right to use their timeshare for a specified amount of time through a lease. Generally, the lease is for 30-99 years. Once the period of specified time is up, the timeshare goes back to the resort or the lease is terminated. 

Points-Based Timeshare

The most common type of timeshare nowadays is points-based. How does a points-based timeshare work?  Typically, the timeshare week is converted into points. So based on the week or caliber of ownership, owners will have a certain number of points at their disposal. These points can be used to stay at different resorts in the brands network or to stay at their unit. When you check out timeshares for sale in our marketplace, there are points charts available for participating brands. You can see that depending on the type of ownership, the point value varies.

Learn more: Should you buy a timeshare on the resale market?

Floating Week

A floating week timeshare means that you can reserve your stay for any week of the year on a first-come, first-served basis. In some cases, floating weeks may be restricted to a certain season. For example, an owner can own a week of the winter season, so they can stay at their resort any week available within that season. Some seasons are valued higher than others depending on demand and location.

Biennial vs. Annual

Biennial timeshare just means that owners can use their timeshare every other year. Annual is, well, annually! Meaning owners can use their timeshare every year, given they pay their timeshare maintenance fees.

What is a Timeshare Resort?

Timeshare resorts are resorts that have top of the line amenities and accommodations that are designed for incredible vacation experiences. Unlike hotels, timeshare resorts offer suites that include full size kitchens, multiple bedrooms and private balconies. Simply put, a timeshare resort is where vacation owners stay for their vacations. When you purchase a timeshare, you have the option to choose your timeshare home resort, which is where you will have priority booking every year.

Timeshare Amenities

When you decide to book a timeshare vacation, it's important to consider the amenities you must have for a great vacation. Amenities are considered the extras at a resort, like fitness centers, swimming pools, day spas, water parks, and lazy rivers, just to name a few. Depending on the location, you can also find on-site ski slopes in places like Breckenridge, Colorado.

Residence Style Accommodations

The accommodations at timeshare resorts are undoubtedly one of the main things that sets them apart from hotels. If you love to travel with a large group or your extended family, timeshare resort accommodations are perfect. Many resorts offer timeshares that have anywhere from one to four locking bedrooms. This means everyone can have their own comfortable space to relax in. 

Additionally, timeshare resort rooms come with more than one bathroom, so you won't all have to share just one. Not to mention, many timeshares come standard with in-unit washers and dryers, as well as full-size kitchens and separate dining and living areas. The extra space leaves you more room to stretch out, watch a movie and cook dinner, like the perfect home away from home.

Timeshares  vs. Hotel

Timeshare suites are much like residences, since they have kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms. Staying in a timeshare is more like staying in a vacation home or apartment, rather than staying in a hotel. As you can see, the offerings at timeshare resorts are far more extensive than your average hotel. Did you know the average timeshare suite is 3x larger than a hotel room? Plus, you receive more than just a microwave. In addition, you can pack lighter and use the in-room laundry to freshen up your favorite vacation outfits. This is especially helpful for large families or families with children because you can pack less.

Not to mention, resorts like Holiday Inn Orange Lake in Orlando have not just one, but seven different swimming pools to choose from, as well as lazy rivers and scheduled kids activities. Imagine game nights, karaoke, and outdoor movies all on the same resort. Timeshare resorts offer the chance to experience an incredible vacation without having to leave the front gate. If you do however, love theme parks and want to venture out, there are options like Disney Vacation Club that allow you to stay inside the theme parks. There truly is a timeshare designed for everyones preferences. The major flexibility is just one of many reasons why people still buy timeshares.

Vacation Exchange

vacation exchange

If you value traveling far and wide, you'll be pleased to know that timeshares allow a lot of options when it comes to visiting new places. Vacation exchange networks allow members to go to different resorts with their timeshare points. Club Wyndham, Disney Vacation Club and Marriott Vacation Club are all examples of internal exchange networks. You can travel within the brands networks to their other resorts. So, if you own a timeshare in Florida, you may have the chance to exchange your Orlando week for a week in Las Vegas.

RCI vs. II

RCI, formerly Resort Condominiums International and Interval International are the most recognizable vacation exchange networks. These networks are referred to as external, meaning with ownership (of a timeshare) AND membership (in one of these networks), you can travel outside of your brand as long as where you want to go is within the external network.

Learn how to Travel More With These Top 5 WorldMark Resorts

Timeshare Resales

timeshare resale

You may be curious if you should buy a timeshare resale or direct. At the end of the day, it is a matter of preference, but we recommend considering the timeshare resale market first. Browsing our blog and timeshare resale listings is a great way to decide if owning a timeshare is worth it.

If you're looking to buy a timeshare, the resale market has ownership available at costs way lower than retail. The great thing about timeshare resale is that you timeshare may be on the secondary market, but it is not second rate. Brands work hard to keep their units looking luxurious, so you can purchase the same great ownership for less. Knowing the best timeshare buying tips is a great place to begin.

And, if you're looking to sell your timeshare, we can help with that too, all the way to close. Since we are real estate agents and timeshare experts, you can trust we'll take care of you!

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Topics: Hyatt Residence Club, Marriott Vacation Club, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, RCI, Bluegreen Vacations, Interval International, Hilton Grand Vacations