Timeshare 101

Timeshare is a way to purchase a share, or piece, of a resort that guarantees a vacation at least once every year. There are different types of products—points-based, weeks-based, or a combination—that offer flexibility and a variety of options.

Put simply, there are two types of timeshare ownership—deeded and non-deeded. Most resorts today are deeded, in which the owner buys a deeded interest in real property. These are usually called “timeshare estates” under state laws. Non-deeded interests are “timeshare uses” or “timeshare licenses” but may also be called “memberships.”

We believe it truly is a better way to vacation! Timeshare is a way to purchase a share, or piece, of a resort that guarantees a vacation at least once every year. There are different types of products—points-based, weeks-based, or a combination—that offer flexibility and a variety of options.

If you took the Traveler Quiz, you discovered that timeshare offers something for everyone, everywhere in the world. If you value the benefits of taking time away each year then timeshare may be right for you.

It depends. Prices vary depending on your purchase location, size of the unit, amenities, and other factors. There is a wide variety of options and price points available for every budget. In addition to the purchase price, you will have to pay an annual maintenance fee to cover the costs of running the resort, as well as a percentage of annual real estate property taxes, either as part of the maintenance fee or billed separately.

Try it out before buying. Most timeshare resorts offer rental programs so you can see if the resort and the timeshare experience is something you’d enjoy owning. If you are interested in renting a particular resort or property, ask that resort about their rentals. Most will also offer a discounted stay at a resort in return for attending a sales presentation.

With a timeshare stay you get a few things you won’t get with a traditional hotel stay, like more room for all your travel companions or family. Living space, multiple bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen—plus it’s more cost effective in the long run.

Buying directly from a resort developer usually comes with closing incentives, such as a year’s free membership with the resort’s exchange company and other benefits. The most important benefit of buying from a developer is that it comes with consumer protections. Buying resale can be less expensive, but because the secondary market is unregulated you need to do your homework about the product you are buying so you fully understand what is and is not included in the purchase.

If you enjoy taking regular vacations with more space and amenities, and enjoy the convenience of home but the luxury of a resort, then yes! Timeshare vacations “appreciate” in sentimental value over time with lifelong memories and vacation experiences. They should never be thought of as real estate investments.

Check out our Timeshare Effect infographic to see for yourself.

Consumer Protections

For almost 40 years, timeshare companies and the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) have worked with federal and state government officials in support of policies to protect consumers and their timeshare products. As a result, in most states, you have a right of rescission—a period of time typically five to seven days—during which you may cancel a purchase contract for any reason without a penalty.

Most states also have laws or rules that ensure truth in advertising, that your timeshare interest is protected from any financial problems that may affect the developer, and that you receive detailed information about the timeshare plan you are purchasing.

Each state protects consumers in different ways. Make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities before you decide to purchase.