The world of timeshare can be confusing especially when the words “deeded ownership” and “right-to-use” start flying around and all you can think of is how did timeshare get so complicated? There are key differences between right to use and deeded timeshares and it is good to know the legalities of both before signing your timeshare contract.
As the name indicates, when you purchase right-to-use timeshare products, whether that be hotel rooms, condos, yachts or private jets, you are entering into a temporary usage contract of a property, albeit for a significant number of years such as 25 or 30 years. The buyer of a right to use timeshare can use the property at regular intervals agreed by both parties for a specified period of time. After the contractual agreement ends, ownership of the timeshare returns to the original owner. You do not receive a title deed, your contract gives you legal rights to use a resort or a certain unit. You do not own a specific property.
In the case of timeshare resorts, it is easier to envisage that you buy membership to a vacation club or resort club and therefore own the right to stay in that resort for intervals each year for a set amount of time. Although right-to-use ownership does not give you a deed to a property, you can still sell your membership or right of usage as well as leave it to beneficiaries in a will. In all cases your rights of usage will cease at the end of the term specified in your timeshare contract.
Deeded timeshares are often distinguished by the term fractional ownership, although this can be misleading as right-to-use timeshare contracts are also fractional in nature. However, deeded fractional ownership entitles you to the deeds of your property which may include the real estate unit on its own or include the land. The most common case in resort or condominium deeded timeshare purchases is that you will not own the land. Like timeshare, you will own a specified time when your unit is free for you to use each year, but unlike right-to-use timeshare your contract never ends and you can sell and pass on your timeshare fraction as you like, just like traditional real estate.
When you enjoy deeded ownership of a fractional property you will be able to vote for issues that may affect you and your property just as you would expect in a homeowners association for a condominium. The other advantage of deeded fractional ownership is that your property may appreciate and you benefit from any rises in the market value.
Points and Vacation Club Membership
The newest addition to the timeshare market is the points program. In this case, rather than buying a share in a specific property, you buy the equivalent points. These points then apply to certain types of units and time periods. For example you may buy the equivalent points for a three bedroom suite for one week and use them to stay in a one bedroom suite for three weeks. Points become as flexible as you vacation plans. The points are also calculated to reflect the kind of resort where you will be staying.
The advantage of points plans and vacation clubs is that your points facilitate exchanges and mean that you can travel all over the world using your points to stay in high quality resorts. You will be able to judge the kind of resort you are staying at by the points you need for you accommodations. It also means that you can use your points to stay in cheaper locations more frequently if you so wish.
What all kinds of timeshare ownership have in common is that you will be responsible for annual fees and taxes related to property ownership in the country of purchase. Maintenance fees are the most obvious necessary investment to secure both your enjoyment as well as investment.
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