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What Is a Timeshare?

Oct 31, 2007
A time share is a name given to a piece of property shared among number of owners. This involves use and cost of maintaining the property. Although the majority of the timeshare properties are condominiums and resorts, you can also find a hotel timeshare, a motor home timeshare, a cruise timeshare, or even a campground timeshare. The choices are increasing by the day.

The idea of a timeshare property originated in Europe in the 1960s, when property values were skyrocketing and it was impossible for people to afford a full time vacation house. People found that by sharing ownership, the burden of maintenance and other costs on a single person were greatly reduced. These also greatly enhanced the fortunes of real estate developers, because they were able to successfully market and sell the properties to a greater number of people.

A key point to remember in timeshare properties is that a timeshare is owned by a number of people who have no relation to one another, so it's not like a standard home ownership. A technical definition of timeshare property is that owners have specific time (often one week per year) that they own in a property.

As more and more properties are converted into timeshare properties, flexible timeshare options have taken the foreground. Flexible timeshares offer owners the option of choosing more than one timeshare destination and more than one specific time of the year.

Timeshare properties are usually found in warm destinations like Florida, where people like to vacation a lot. They can also be found in cold weather areas near ski resorts, like Sun Valley in Utah.

Timeshare properties are typically furnished in full and usually have one to three bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. Many timeshare properties also come with indoor or outdoor swimming pools--a common feature of most timeshare properties nowadays.

The typical duration of a timeshare ownership unit is one week. Depending on what time of the year you own the timeshare, the price may vary. For example, a timeshare property in the month of April in Florida will be much higher than in a less desirable month like August. Rates may vary with the season and demand.

Some resorts give color coding to different seasons, depending on the demand. For example, some resorts term high demand season as red season, meaning the prices of the timeshare will be highest in that season.

Timeshares can usually be inherited by your children, just like any other real estate property. Timeshare properties offer not only a great vacation, but also a great investment. Most people rent their timeshares to others when they do not use their timeshare. Timeshare rental has a double advantage: you earn rent, along with the appreciation of the property with passage of time.

Timeshare properties are exchangeable and tradable with other properties in most cases. While it may be easy for the owners of red season timeshares to exchange their unit with other owners, it might be difficult or even impossible for owners of low season timeshare owners to get a high season timeshare unit in exchange.

You can purchase timeshares through financing, but usually, resale properties purchased from individuals are paid in cash. The cost of management and maintenance for common areas, like pools and tennis courts, are paid by timeshare owners. Fees may vary, so always be sure to find out what the fees are before buying a timeshare.

There are many types of timeshare properties. A "fixed unit, fixed week, deeded timeshare" allows you to own a specific timeshare at a specific time each year. A "floating time" agreement allows you to be flexible about the dates that you can use your timeshare. In these cases, reservations may on a first come, first serve, because many owners would like to go for that option. A "right to use timeshare" is a leased timeshare, where you no longer have rights to the property after the lease expires.
About the Author
Andrea Arnold writes about timeshares and condominiums for Articles Unleashed.
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