What is a timeshare?

Oceanfront villas for rent: save money with timeshare

Let’s start out with the basics: what is a timeshare? Also called “vacation ownership,” a timeshare is a resort or vacation property that is split into shared ownership, or fractional ownership, usually in increments by week. Most timeshares today are with large corporations like Wyndham and Marriott who have created a travel club style of membership for their owners, offering more flexibility and customization than ever before! The actual definition of a timeshare according to the dictionary is an arrangement whereby several joint owners have the right to use a property as a vacation home under a time-sharing agreement. Basically, you are sharing a unit with others, but “own” different weeks (we will get into more about this later in the article). It may sound really simple, but if you don’t understand the basics of how timeshares work, the whole process can be pretty confusing. Now, you are probably wondering how to get a timeshare. So without further ado, let’s start from the beginning.

How Does a Timeshare Work?

Timeshares offer so much more than just a typical hotel stay. Just the difference in space is incomparable. Typically, a hotel room is simply a bed or two, a tiny common area, and a small bathroom. A timeshare is basically like a home away from home. When you buy a timeshare, you are getting private bedrooms, large common areas, a kitchen, and often a balcony that offers a scenic view. By renting or owning a timeshare, you can have access to all the amenities at that resort. You can take advantage of the private beach access, private pools, health clubs, and all kinds of sport areas, picnic and grilling areas, kids’ activities, and so much more! Not to mention, there are plenty of resorts that offer all inclusive vacations. The best part is that timeshare resales give you all of the luxury and comfort you desire when vacationing, but for the same or less cost than a hotel stay!

Enjoy space, privacy and added amenities with timeshare

Another great part of timeshares, is that they are usually located in the most popular vacation destinations in the world, which include the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) and the Marriott Vacation Club, located in Florida, Hawaii, New York, and Nevada, just to name a few! A timeshare offers you the option of where you actually want to vacation. Having the option to stay at the same resort each vacation is appealing to some people. It allows them to make the timeshare their home away from home. Timeshares allow you to explore new places year after year and let you revisit your favorites time and time again. However, if you want to explore new locations on each vacation, you definitely have a lot of options available. A lot of the resorts are affiliated with an exchange company such as Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II). These allow you to trade your week for another resort for a small fee. 

Swim up to a beachfront timeshare villa

When you make the decision to be part of the timeshare community, you will probably attend a timeshare presentation or two. These presentations often have the stereotype of being stressful and making you feel pressured. You should never feel that way when you are the one they are trying to accommodate. If you do find yourself attending based on a fantastic prize such as free tickets to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios, check out our blog post on how to survive a timeshare presentation. Following those basic tips can be pretty helpful. However, the whole presentation process can be avoided if you went with a timeshare resale.  Not only will you save thousands of dollars, but you will also receive all the benefits included in a vacation package. Timeshare resales are what makes a dream vacation truly affordable. 

How to exchange your timeshare

Third party exchange companies like RCI or Interval International offer timeshare owners the ability to exchange with a massive network of other timeshare owners! First, you have to check with your resort to see who they are affiliated with. Next, sign up for a membership and “deposit” your timeshare week or points into your account. This is where your ownership will be converted into a new points system with its own seasons and demand. Once you are all set up, you can now use those points to book at thousands of hotels and timeshare resorts all over the world! These exchange programs also let you redeem your points on cruises, excursions, high-adventure trips, airfare, car rentals, event tickets, passes to popular attractions and so much more. Some people go as far as to buy their timeshare based on who they exchange with! The options are limitless and depending on your property’s popularity on these networks, you can really add value to your vacation ownership!

How To Sell A Timeshare

Because timeshares are an investment into your future well-being and not a financial investment, many owners are surprised to learn that timeshares are not typically sold like traditional real estate. The best way to sell your timeshare is to advertise. Make sure to look for an advertising option that best fits your budget and gives you the most exposure to advertise timeshares for sale. When trying to find out which advertising option is best for you, you should also do some research on different timeshare companies. You want the most bang for your buck, so look for companies that advertise on various platforms such as social media, billboards, commercials, and even printed materials, such as Timeshares Only, located in Orlando, Florida. We specialize in time share resales and fully understand that the more exposure your timeshare gets, the more likely you are to sell or rent your timeshare. They connect people all over the globe to both buy and sell timeshares in the most effective way possible. We even refer to the experts at Fidelity Real Estate for timeshare closing services.

Timeshare Definitions, Terms And Glossary

Here are some helpful timeshare definitions that might help translate the timeshare industry language:

  1. What is a timeshare week? A timeshare is a different kind of real-estate purchase.  Basically, since you own part of the property, you only pay for part of the property. When you buy or rent a timeshare, you purchase a certain amount of time at a given resort.  Usually, that amount of time is one week. Resorts will create their own individual schedules or calendars of weeks. Usually weeks are given a number starting with the first week in January, continuing through the last week of December. These weeks will generally begin with a check-in date on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and varies by resort.
  2. What is a timeshare floating week? A floating week allows you as the owner to reserve any week throughout the year on a first-come first-served basis. Some floating weeks are restricted by season and can only be used during a certain span of time or season during the year. For example, a summer floating week could be used during any week that falls within the defined summer dates.
  3. What is a timeshare lockout? A lockout (or a timeshare lock-off) is a timeshare unit (like a condo or adjoined hotel room) that can be divided into two separate sections. The owner of these units then has the option of renting them out separately or together. Basically, it means that you could “lock the door” in between the units. It is nice for privacy reasons if you are traveling with other guests.
  4. What are timeshare points and how do they work?  Owners of most timeshares these days have this type of timeshare system automatically, where the week of ownership converts into points to use as currency on all kinds of vacations. Each year, the allotted amount of points is “deposited” into your account and gives you flexibility and control of when and where you book, with access to hotels and resorts of all sizes, during different seasons, and for varying lengths of time. Disney Vacation Club is known for using the point system even for Disney Cruises! If you want to invest in a Disney Timeshare, you will definitely be using the Disney points system. Read more about the DVC point system before you buy a Disney Vacation Club package. 
  5. What are flex plans?  Under a flex plan, the buyer buys a share in just a particular season at the resort. It is a season that is one or more months during when the owner can schedule their vacation each year.  They are assigned “weeks” on a first come, first serve basis. However, keep in mind that since these are first come, first serve, you have to book your week really far ahead of when you want to actually take your vacation. If this time is during peak season, you may need to book even up to two years in advance!
  6. What does timeshare membership mean? Rather than purchasing a specific resort in a specific unit size, vacation club members purchase the opportunity to use a variety of timeshare accommodations at numerous resort locations. The owner would have the use of all accommodations that are affiliated with the specific vacation club.
  7. What does maintenance fee mean? Should you invest in a timeshare, you will be dealing with monthly fees referred to as timeshare maintenance fees. These fees are established and collected by the Homeowners Association or Resort Management Company at each resort. These fees are for maintaining the property and paying for insurance, utilities, and any refurbishments that may be needed. Of course maintenance fees will vary depending on the size and type of the timeshare unit.
  8. What is a timeshare swap?  A timeshare swap is a pretty simple concept.  You have your week reserved at the resort in one place, but you’d like to take your vacation somewhere else this year. So all you have to do is find someone with a timeshare in the place that you want, and ask if they are willing to trade locations. That’s the hard part though. Not everyone wants to take a vacation at the same time you do. If you can’t find anyone to trade, your next option would be a timeshare exchange company, like the ones mentioned earlier.
  9. What does annual or biennial mean? Some timeshare usage is every year (annual), while some is every-other year (biennial).
  10. What does odd year or even year mean? Odd and even year timeshare usage is for biennial owners. Weeks with odd year usage can be used during years that end in odd numbers, while weeks with even year usage can be used during years that end in even numbers.
  11. What does the right to use or deeded mean? A right to use or leased property grants the purchaser the right to use the timeshare for a specific period of time that is allotted in the contract.  The usual amount of time a lease lasts for is 30 to 99 years.  The resort management holds the actual ownership of the resort property. When the lease is up, the right to use will generally terminate and return to the resort. A deeded property has the same rights of ownership accorded to it as any deeded real estate would. The owner owns it in perpetuity, and may sell, rent, bequeath, or even give the property away. For more information on this topic, check out our helpful and informative blog article on How to Pass on Your Timeshare

Buy, Sell or Rent Out Your Timeshare

Affordable family vacations are possible with timeshare ownership

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you either own a timeshare or know of someone who does. Timeshares and vacation plans go hand in hand. Thousands of people buy timeshares and timeshare resales every day, and today, there are more than 4.7 million vacation owners! Timeshares are definitely here to stay. With 85% of timeshare owners that are satisfied with their timeshare, you can clearly see this is a product worth investing in. Now that you have all the information you need, take a look at the Timeshares Only inventory and rent or buy a timeshare today!


Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, Lisa is no stranger to the ins and outs of timeshare! From the exciting vacation opportunities of timeshare ownership to help with alleviating the expenses that they carry, she shares her expertise as a featured writer on the Timeshares Only blog. Lisa lives in Orlando with her husband and young daughter. Her favorite staycation/weekend getaway spots are St. Augustine (for the lighthouse) Savannah, Georgia (for the southern beauty) and Jekyll Island, Georgia (for the historic charm). Having been blessed with the ability to travel internationally, Lisa enjoys Northern Europe more than any other international destination. Mostly untouched by the first and second World Wars, the cobblestone streets of Tallinn, Estonia date back to the 1400's! Leading to a beautifully ornamental water fountain at the city center, it's no wonder it is her favorite.

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