Types of Timeshare Properties and Buying Options

by Kayla Beirne

Timeshares are never good investments, but a little more information about what they are and how they work can help you make a more confident decision about not buying into one. From deeded timeshares to points clubs, the entire concept of timeshares can seem a bit confusing and overwhelming. To clear things up, here are the types of timeshare properties and buying options available.

Deeded Timeshare

The classic and standard forms of timeshare contracts, deeded timeshares, are also some of the more inflexible ones. You purchase a percentage of the property with other contract holders and receive a deed noting which week of the year you can use it. Deeded timeshares may require mortgages to cover the cost. Once bought, the timeshare and the week chosen is yours for the rest of your life. You can use it yourself or share it with friends and family, but you are responsible for all the corresponding fees, upkeep, maintenance costs, mortgage, and interest. If you don’t give it away before you die, your heirs receive it—and all the bills, too.

Right-To-Use Timeshares

With a right-to-use timeshare, you don’t own the property. Rather, you’re paying the resort or true owner for the ability to use the space for your vacations. Right-to-use contracts can expire, but not for a very long time—decades, even. Right-to-use timeshares may be based on fixed weeks or floating weeks, but there are plenty of restrictions, and since you don’t own even a 1/52nd claim in the property, you don’t have many rights or much say in decisions.

Points System

In a typical points system, you have some measure of flexibility in terms of where you can stay and when you can book a vacation. With a points-based vacation club membership, you buy and apply points toward stays at different resorts around the country or world. You aren’t necessarily committed to a specific time or place, and some clubs offer the option to save up and bank points for future vacations, but many also have use-it-or-lose-it policies. Points also depend on availability, and you may have to schedule vacations at popular resorts years in advance before you can use your points there.

Other Options

When you’re considering types of timeshare properties and buying options, know that it’s not all deeds, right-to-use, and points systems. Other kinds of timeshares include biennial forms, which allow use of the timeshare in nonconsecutive years, which is consistent if not a little hard to work around regarding scheduling. Fractional ownership is like deeded ownership except you can buy a bigger share—while taking on all the usual fees and charges, of course. Overall, whatever form is offered, the costs of timeshares outweigh the benefits, and only a lawyer or timeshare cancellation company can help get you out of your timeshare contract—but not for free.

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