General Questions About Buying a Timeshare


Q: What is a timeshare?
A: Timesharing or vacation ownership is a term that describes a method of use and ownership of a particular property. It normally allows you to use the property for a certain period of time each year. You pay an initial investment for the timeshare and then you will pay a maintenance fee each year for the upkeep of the timeshare.

Q: What are maintenance fees?
A: Maintenance fees are the cost to operate the resort. This fee is divided up amongst all resort owners. A portion of the maintenance fee is to build up reserves to pay for the non-recurring costs like furniture and appliances. A reserve is also typically set up to pay for other capital costs incurred because of physical deterioration. When a developer is still selling in a resort the fees may be subsidized and are subject to increase after the homeowner association takes over the association. Some states regulate how much is kept in reserve for future spending.

Q: How much are maintenance fees?
A: Maintenance fees will vary from $300-$1000. They will vary from resort to resort depending on location, size of unit, amount of amenities etc. There are occasionally special assessments charged to handle a specific problem at a resort that has not been funded.

Q: What is a point system?
A: The point system allows you to break up your vacationing into 3-4 day vacations. The point system allows you to make better use of your week by vacationing in off season. Every resort that has points has a different program and you should check with your resale specialist about the differences in the point systems. RCI Points are different than the points described above.

Q: What is the difference in a leased property and a deeded property?
A: A leased property is a right to use and will expire in a certain number of years. Those years can be from 20 to 99. It is important to verify that you can transfer your property if it is a right to use property. A deeded property means that you have a deed for the rest of your life and your heirs will inherit the property.

Q: What is an exchange?
A: An exchange is the depositing of your week with an exchange and then the requesting of a week to use in place of the week you are depositing. The exchange company does not have to find someone to use your week before they will give you an exchange. Once you deposit the week you are done with it. It is very important to deposit your week early to have more power with your week. Each exchange company has slightly different rules for exchanging. There is a fee involved in exchanging your week.

Q: Why are prices so low on the timeshare resale market?
A: There are a couple of reasons for this. When your purchase from the developer you are paying the marketing fees for the developer. These are generally around 50% of the sales price. When the unit goes on the resale market the client has hopefully enjoyed the benefit of the timeshare for a few years so he benefits by use but not financially. When you buy a resale you will benefit from the use but you will also benefit financially. Prices are based on supply and demand. When you have a large resort with several thousand owners there will generally be a number of timeshares on the market. That will keep the prices lower.

Q: What sizes of accommodation are available?
A: Timeshare accommodations are quite varied - sized as small as a hotel room and as large as a 4 bedroom unit.

Q: Does my Timeshare give me access to anything more than just my unit?
A: There are many benefits when you buy timeshare. A daily schedule of on-site sporting, recreational, and social activities are normally available for both adults and children. Many resorts offer swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, horseback riding, skiing, and numerous other amenities and often all on-site. Most timeshare resorts are staffed with well-trained hospitality professionals whose sole duty is to make your vacation as fun and stress-free as possible.