What is a timeshare? A timeshare is defined as:  the arrangement whereby several joint owners have a right to use a property as a vacation home under a time sharing scheme.

But what does that really mean? The truth is, there are a number of different ownership options when you’re dealing with timeshares.

First, let’s talk about the advantages to owning a timeshare. Timeshare ownership allows the vacationer to literally own a piece of real estate in a beautiful location anywhere in the world, for a fraction of what it would cost to buy. The consumer is responsible for the actual purchase price of the timeshare, which varies based on the size of the unit, location of the resort, etc., plus is responsible for yearly maintenance fees.

Timeshare resorts differ from your standard hotel room in a variety of ways. Timeshare properties are basically a vacation in a package. The accommodations are top notch, beautifully maintained, and offer a number of amenities and activities such as tennis, golf, swimming pools, exercise rooms, and a professional staff trained in the art of hospitality and customer indulgence.

Let’s talk about ownership options. First, you have the option of owning a week or a number of weeks per year. Some resorts give you a “float” or “flex” week option where you are able to book a different week every year provided you reserve your vacation during a specific time period; some resorts require you to book your stay nine months out, others as much as two years. Some timeshare resort packages allot their owners a specific week in a specific unit every year. Both methods have their advantages, but it is of course up to you as the consumer to decide which is best for your vacation needs.

The second option available to vacationers is the ability to own points. With point ownership, you are able to use accommodations in multiple resort locations.  Different point “packages” are available based on the size of accommodations the vacationer seeks and the duration of the stay.

The above description is a very quick overview of how timeshares work, there are of course many options when it comes to timeshare ownership, but this should give you a general idea. 

So what are the disadvantages you might ask? The truth is, there really aren’t any provided you buy at the right resort, love to vacation and are able to afford the cost of the yearly maintenance fees. Once you buy, you will only incurr your yearly maintenance and taxes on the timeshare. As previously stated, certain resorts allow you to transfer and stay at other locations around the world. Is your timeshare property in Florida and maybe you feel like a ski vacation this year? No problem, transfer your points to a luxury resort in Colorado and hit the slopes.

Timeshare has gotten a bad rap because of some of the dishonest and pushy sales tactics used by some companies. Many companies charge too much and promise the world, making sure to leave out important details and playing on the potential vacationers emotions in order to close the sale.

Buying a timeshare on the resale market is advantageous to everyone; a win win. You as the consumer get a great product at a great price, and the seller is able to be free of a product that they no longer use or that may no longer work for their lifestyle.