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The Basics of Time Shares and Tim Share Properties

Aug 17, 2007
The thought of owning a vacation home may sound appealing, but the year-round responsibility and expense that come with it may not. Purchasing a timeshare or vacation plan may be an alternative. If you consider a timeshare or vacation plan, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, says it's a good idea to do some
homework.

Two basic vacation ownership options are available: timeshares and vacation interval plans. You should know that the value of these options is in their use as vacation destinations, not as investments. Because so many timeshares and vacation interval plans are available, the resale value of yours is apt to be a good deal lower than what you paid. Both a timeshare and a vacation interval plan require you to pay an initial purchase price and periodic maintenance fees. The initial purchase price may be made all at once or over time; periodic maintenance fees are likely to increase every year.

Deeded Timeshare Ownership. In a timeshare, you either own your vacation unit for the rest of your life, for the number of years spelled out in your purchase contract, or until you sell it. Your interest is legally considered real property. You purchase the right to use a specific unit at a specific time every year, and you may rent, sell, exchange, or bequeath your specific timeshare unit. You and the other timeshare owners collectively own the resort.

Unless you've bought the timeshare outright for cash, you are responsible for paying the monthly mortgage. Regardless of how you bought the timeshare, you also are responsible for paying an annual maintenance fee; property taxes may be extra. Owners share in the use and upkeep of the units and of the common grounds of the resort property. A homeowners' association usually handles management of the resort. Timeshare owners elect officers and control the expenses, the upkeep of the resort property, and the selection of the resort management company.

"Right to Use" Vacation Interval Option. In this option, a developer owns the resort, which is made up of condominiums or units. Each condo or unit is divided into "intervals" either by weeks or the equivalent in points. You purchase the right to use an interval at the resort for a specific number of years typically between 10 and 50 years. The interest you own is legally considered personal property. The specific unit you use at the resort may not be the same each year. In addition to the price for the right to use an interval, you pay an annual maintenance fee that is likely to increase each year.

Within the "right to use" option several plans can affect your ability to use a unit:

Fixed or Floating Time. In a fixed time option, you purchase the unit for use during a specific week of the year. In a floating time option, you use the unit within a certain season of the year, reserving the time you want in advance; confirmation typically is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fractional Ownership. Rather than an annual week, you buy a large share of vacation ownership time, usually up to 26 weeks.

Biennial Ownership. You use a resort unit every other year.

Lockoff or Lockout. You occupy a portion of the unit and offer the remaining space for rental or exchange. These units typically have two to three bedrooms and baths.

Points-Based Vacation Plans. You purchase a certain number of points, and exchange them for the right to use an interval at one or more resorts. In a points-based vacation plan (sometimes called a vacation club), the number of points you need to use an interval varies according to the length of the stay, size of the unit, location of the resort, and when you want to use it.
About the Author
Ameen Kamadia, known as "The Millionaire Loan Officer" offers dozens of free articles about mortgage marketing. Get dozens of great cheap lead generation ideas at his free Mortgage Marketing website.
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