I get asked quite frequently about the different timeshare models that you can choose from, so here I will explain the timeshare options as simply as possible.
Right to use Timeshare
The most common timeshare model on the market is the right to use timeshare, which means that your purchase of a timeshare gives you the right to use that vacation product rather than own a percentage of a particular piece of property. The time frame for how long you will have the right to use the timeshare will depend on your membership, but can be anywhere between 25 and 30 years. Depending on your contract, you will be able to use your timeshare property during specified times, and when the end of your agreement comes, ownership of the actual property will return to the original owner.
However, even though your right to use timeshare does not give you deeded ownership of the property, you can still sell your membership or rent out your time
Deeded Ownership Timeshares
In general, deeded ownership timeshare take the name fractional ownership, which can be confusing because right to use timeshares are also fractional in nature. The difference between timeshare and deeded fractional ownership is that you buy a fraction of the deeds to your property, just like any real estate investment. It is yours for life and can be left in a will, rented, sold as you like.
Sometimes a deeded fractional timeshare will include the land, but most are located on resorts and condominium complexes, whereby you own the deeds to the unit only. Usually deed ownership timeshares give you access to your property for longer periods of time such as one month, two months or a season. It is rare to find a deeded ownership timeshare for one week intervals, unless it is for the weeks of Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Points and Vacation Club Membership
Another model for timeshare, and by far the most popular are timeshares that work on a points system. In this case, you buy the equivalent points for a particular unit rather than purchase a specific property (as is the case of fractional ownership). You can then use these points flexibly to choose accommodations and resorts offered by the timeshare resort chain or residence club, reserving your time according to your points balance. Not only can you vary the kinds of accommodations you stay in, but you can also stay for shorter or longer periods of time than one week, so long as you have enough points to cover your stay.
Points can often be used to cover the cost of meal plans and resort services and many vacation clubs will allow you to bank and borrow points depending on your preferences.
It is important to remember that all variations of timeshare will require that you pay annual fees and/or maintenance. For deeded ownership, you will also be responsible for any taxes related to property ownership in the country of purchase.