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Timeshare FAQ & Definitions

Q: What is a timeshare?

Q: Why buy a timeshare?

Q: What are maintenance fees?

Q: How much are maintenance fees?

Q: Are there any differences between buying a timeshare resale and buying a new timeshare?

Q: Why are timeshare prices so low on the resale market?

Q: What is a “home resort”?

Q: How do I exchange my week?

Q: What is banking a week?

Q: What is the difference between deeded and leased timeshares?

Q: What is the difference between a fixed week and a floating week?

Q: What is a points program?

Q: What is the difference between red, white, yellow, blue and green time?

Q: What is a lock-out unit?

Q: Where should I buy a timeshare resale?

Q: What is an upfront fee?

Q: Do I have to attend the closing in person?

Q: Will there be anyone to help me with my timeshare?

 


 

Q: What is a timeshare?

A:  

A Timeshare is an arrangement in which parties share the ownership of or the right to use property, normally a resort, condominium, or vacation home. Also called “Vacation Ownership” and “Fractionals,” a Timeshare provides for occupation by each party for a period of time each year. This feature of Timesharing makes it possible to own one or more vacation homes because the maintenance costs are split among multiple owners. Additionally, someone who buys a timeshare can buy as much time as they want at one or several different resorts.

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Q: Why buy a timeshare?

A:  

Although there are many different reasons people will buy a timeshare these are several of the most popular answers we’ve heard from timeshare buyers. Timeshares are designed to provide stress-free, hassle-free, yet affordable vacations for any size family. Most timeshares offer the timeshare buyers fully-furnished kitchens, spacious living areas, TV’s, VCR/DVDs, and accommodations for numerous family members and friends. There are many benefits when you buy timeshare. Many resorts have restaurants on-site, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses and planned activities for all ages. Additionally, you will often find Timeshares in the most desirable locations. Whether you prefer slope side, ocean front or on the golf course, if you buy a timeshare you will find yourself enjoying your vacation more and dealing with hassles less. Buying a Timeshare makes financial sense. Aside from a nominal maintenance fee, your vacation property can be used each year without paying extra costs. Most timeshare buyers find that after just 8-10 vacations their timeshare has paid for itself. Now the cost of vacationing is “fixed” for years to come. Those who lead busy lives buy a Timeshare to force themselves to take vacations and spend time with loved ones. If the guesswork is taken out of planning a vacation, “work-a-holics” are more likely to take the family and just go. Otherwise, many find themselves procrastinating, which normally results in not going anywhere. Buying a timeshare puts a variety of vacations at your feet. Timeshare owners have the ability to “trade” or “exchange” their timeshare for another at nearly 5,000 resorts in over 80 countries. Now, vacations that used to be a “dream” are a simply a trade away and become a reality.

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Q: What are maintenance fees?

A:  

Sometimes called Maintenance Dues or Condo Association Fees, these fees formulate the total cost to operate the resort. This cost is divided amongst all owners per share of timeshare ownership. This includes the upkeep of each unit, common grounds of the resort property, property maintenance, beautification, capital improvements and insurance. A portion of the maintenance fee also goes to a reserve fund that is used for major improvements when needed. Maintenance dues are also used to compensate the hospitality staff, ensuring that owners enjoy the highest level of luxury and service each time they vacation.

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Q: How much are maintenance fees?

A: Maintenance fees range from as little as $200 to over $1000 annually. They can vary based on a number of things including resort location, size of unit, and amenities provided.
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Q: Are there any differences between buying a timeshare resale and buying a new timeshare?

A: The biggest difference between buying a pre-owned timeshare on the resale market and buying a new timeshare is the price. You can save thousands of dollars by purchasing a timeshare resale. Other than savings there is little or no difference between buying a new timeshare and a resale. Occasionally, some programs may have minor restrictions. Inquire with one of our licensed Real Estate agents regarding any restrictions related to your choice resort.
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Q: Why are timeshare prices so low on the resale market?

A:

During timeshare presentations salespeople sometimes tell buyers that timeshares appreciate in value. Although many are deeded, unfortunately, they are not like houses and very rarely increase in value. Sadly, it is more likely to lose 40% to 80% of its value the moment one walks out the door. In some cases it is not even sellable. It is common that nearly half the cost of buying a timeshare from the resort directly goes toward marketing incentives and sales commissions.

 
As with any product, the value of a timeshare resale is going to be based on supply and demand. When you have large resorts with several thousand owners there will generally be a fair amount of supply on the resale market at any given time. When you buy a timeshare on the resale market you pay fair market value which is usually thousands of dollars less than retail value. One of the many benefits of buying a timeshare resale versus a new timeshare is the risk elimination. You don’t have to worry about losing thousands if you decide to sell it later down the road.



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Q: What is a “home resort”?

A:

Your home resort is the resort where your timeshare is deeded. Normally this is the resort where you can reserve your week before submitting it for an exchange to another resort property.

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Q: How do I exchange my week?

A:

There are several timeshare exchange companies. Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II) are the two largest and most popular. All you need to do is reserve your week at your home resort and submit a request for an exchange to your desired resort. Your exchange may be confirmed immediately or it may take time. The exchange company does not have to find someone to use your week before they will give you an exchange. It is very important to put your request in and deposit your week as soon as possible. This has two advantages, the sooner you deposit the more time you have to get your week confirmed, but additionally, the longer your week is deposited the more trade power or value it has. So, if you know you aren’t going to your home resort but aren’t sure where you do want to go, it’s best to deposit your week, make a few requests and just let it gain power until you decide for certain. The rules are a little different from one exchange company to the next but the basic function is the same. Each trading company also has a fee for exchanging your week. These fees vary depending on where you are going and with which company you are a member.

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Q: What is banking a week?

A:

Banking means to "deposit" your timeshare week with an exchange company to be saved for use at a later time. You may bank a week for later use at your home resort or any other resort affiliated with the exchange company.

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Q: What is the difference between deeded and leased timeshares?

A:

Deeded Timeshare - Like any other real estate purchase in that after you buy timeshare, you own it outright forever. It may be sold, rented or even willed to your heirs. It is yours to use indefinitely.

 

Leased Timeshare - Gives you the right to use a specific week or weeks at the property for a set number of years (usually 20-99). The right to use the property normally returns to the selling resort at the end of the lease period.

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Q: What is the difference between a fixed week and a floating week?

A: Fixed Week - Buying a fixed week timeshare allows you the use of the unit for that specific week each year for as long as you own the property. The advantage of a fixed week is that you know when you're going each year. If you choose to go a different time of year, you may make your week “floating” by exchanging it for another week or for a different resort.

 

Float Week - Buying a floating week timeshare allows you to use the unit anytime during the year based upon a resort's availability. Some timeshares sell their ownerships by season. For example, you may have an option of purchasing a Winter Season floating week or Summer Season floating week. In this case, the resort guarantees you a week in the season which you purchase. The week you use depends on when you book it. The advantage of a floating week is that you have the flexibility of booking different weeks each year.
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Q: What is a points program?

A:

Points program rules vary per company. Generally, when you own a timeshare with a points program, you purchase a specific amount of points. You may then trade your points for nights at different resorts. The advantage of owning a points program is the flexibility of taking 3 or 4 day trips.

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Q: What is the difference between red, white, yellow, blue and green time?

A: Each color reflects the overall desirability of a particular week at a timeshare resort from red (peak season), white & yellow (mid season) to blue & green (slow-season).
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Q: What is a lock-out unit?

A:

Also called a lock-off feature. Some units, typically 2 or more bedroom units have a door in between that can be locked on both sides that separate the unit into two halves. The timeshare owner is given the option of using the entire unit for one week or using the lock-off feature to split the unit in half and use it for two weeks. Normally, there is a small fee to “lock-out” your unit but the advantage is double the vacation time. Additionally, at many resorts it is possible to exchange your lock-out halves for a week elsewhere.

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Q: Where should I buy a timeshare resale?

A:

Your best option for buying a timeshare resale is through a Real Estate Brokerage. There are other options like buying from a non-licensed company who works with for sale by owners or dealing with for sale by owners directly. However, with the latter options, you have no recourse should a problem arise. Working with a licensed broker, you have someone who will handle negotiation, communication with the seller, all written agreements, right of first refusal waiver requests, communication with the title company and county to record the new deed, and finally someone to make sure the resort transfers ownership to you. The process is very involved and often problems arise even if you are not working with someone well versed in the paperwork and process. It is immensely helpful to have someone on your side with expereience and expertise who can handle the situations as they come up. A licensed brokerage who specializes in timeshare resales can ensure a smooth, easy transaction with no hassle for you. Most importantly, buyer beware of scammers on the internet. To prevent losing your money, when you work with a licensed broker all monies are held in third party escrow or trust accounts until closing. You should also check with the state your company is in to see if they are active and in good standing. Check on our broker and agents.

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Q: What is an upfront fee?

A:

Upfront fees are typically advertising fees that are paid when listing your timeshare for sale. They are charged by some advertising services to allow you to advertise your timeshare for sale with them. The problem with upfront fees is that someone is taking your money for providing an advertising service and there is no guarantee that your timeshare will be sold at all or at the price you are asking. It is best not to pay large upfront fees or any if you can avoid it. Most times it is just more money out of your pocket. It is not necessary to pay an upfront fee to get your timeshare sold. It is common that these Timeshare Resale advertising companies recommend an inflated price for your timeshare just to get your business. The timeshare either never sells or if you’re lucky, you end up selling it for a much lower price than promised. Do your research and be very cautious of anyone who asks you for an upfront fee.

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Q: Do I have to attend the closing in person?

A:

No, you do not have to travel to the resort city or county for closings. Transactions can be done via E-mail, FAX, or expedited mail.

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Q: Will there be anyone to help me with my timeshare?

A:

Yes. Our slogan, “Our promise is to devote our knowledge, energy and experience into meeting each clients' specific needs, before, during and after the sale” says it all. It is common knowledge today that customer service is what separates the successful companies from the unsuccessful ones. Happy clients equal happy referrals. Our timeshare resale agents have extensive timeshare experience in the U.S. and internationally. We are happy to pass along to you the tricks we learned in our years of experience in the industry. We’ll spend as much time with you as you personally need to make sure you are an educated consumer. Additionally, all resorts have either owner service, customer service or reservation agents to assist you in using your timeshare.

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