Unraveling the Mystery of Timeshares: What Is A Timeshare and How Does It Work

Almost every time I’ve been to a resort somewhere in the world there is always a booth trying to offer me something in regards to attending a timeshare presentation. Before Auto Spam block was a thing I use to receive phone calls offering me free hotel stays and food vouchers to listen to a presentation. I was always curious about timeshares and started looking into.


The concept of a vacation home sounds divine, doesn’t it? Imagine having a luxurious space waiting for you in your favorite holiday destination. However, the financial reality of owning a vacation home outright can be out of reach for many. This is where the concept of timeshares steps in. But what exactly is a timeshare and how does it work? Let’s dive into this interesting form of property ownership.


What is a Timeshare?

A timeshare is a unique form of property ownership that allows multiple individuals to share the use and costs of a vacation home. This type of arrangement has become increasingly popular among vacationers who enjoy returning to the same destination year after year. The idea behind a timeshare is simple: instead of one person paying the full price for a vacation property, the cost is divided among several owners. Each owner then gets an allotted period, usually a week or two each year, to use the property.


The purpose of a timeshare is to offer people the luxury and convenience of a vacation home without the financial burden and responsibility of sole ownership. It’s a way for vacationers to secure a spot in their favorite holiday destination annually, without worrying about booking accommodations or fluctuating hotel prices. Timeshares provide a sense of continuity and familiarity, as owners can return to the same property each year, often forming a community with other timeshare owners.


Timeshares typically come with a range of amenities designed to enhance your vacation experience. These properties are often part of larger resorts or hotel chains, offering facilities like swimming pools, fitness centers, restaurants, and spas. Timeshare units themselves are usually well-appointed, featuring multiple bedrooms, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen, and sometimes even a private balcony or patio. These amenities provide a home-like environment that many travelers find more comfortable and convenient than traditional hotel rooms.


The timeframe for using a timeshare depends on the specific agreement. In a fixed-week timeshare, you have access to the property during the same week every year. In a floating timeshare, you can choose your week within certain limits, often within a particular season. There is also a points-based system where you accumulate points to use during any period of the year at any property within the timeshare network. This offers more flexibility but may require advance planning due to availability issues.


In essence, a timeshare is a commitment to vacation. It serves the purpose of guaranteeing a vacation home in your favorite destination, complete with all the amenities to make your stay enjoyable. However, potential buyers should carefully consider the ongoing costs, such as maintenance fees, and their vacation habits before investing in a timeshare. It’s an ideal option for those who love returning to the same place every year and appreciate the comfort and convenience of a home-like setting while on vacation.


Types of Timeshares

There are primarily two types of timeshare models: deeded and non-deeded.


Deeded Timeshares

In a deeded timeshare, you own a portion of the property. This means you have the right to sell, rent, or even bequeath your timeshare to someone else. Within deeded timeshares, there are further subdivisions:


  • Fixed Week: You own the rights to a specific week each year.
  • Floating Week: You can choose your week within certain limits, often within a particular season.
  • Rotating Week: Your vacation week rotates throughout the calendar to ensure fair access to desirable seasons.


Non-Deeded Timeshares

Non-deeded timeshares, also known as right-to-use, involve leasing the property for a specific number of years. You don’t own any real estate; instead, you have a contract granting you the rights to use the property.


How Does a Timeshare Work?

When you buy a timeshare, you’re purchasing the right to use a vacation property for a specific period each year. This period is typically a week or two, and it’s scheduled at a predetermined time. The concept of timeshares is based on the idea of multiple people sharing the costs and usage of a vacation home, rather than one person bearing all the expenses and responsibilities.


The first financial commitment when buying a timeshare is the initial purchase price. This cost can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the location and quality of the property, the season in which your timeshare week falls, and whether the timeshare is deeded (meaning you own a piece of the property) or non-deeded (meaning you have the right to use the property, but don’t actually own any part of it).


On top of the purchase price, timeshare owners are also responsible for annual maintenance fees. These fees cover the cost of property upkeep, including property taxes, utilities, and general maintenance. It’s important to note that these fees tend to increase over time due to inflation and rising property management costs.


The designated time during which you can use your timeshare is usually outlined in your contract. Some timeshares operate on a fixed-week basis, meaning you have access to the property during the same week each year. Others operate on a floating-week basis, where you can choose your week within a certain season. There are also points-based timeshares, where you accumulate points that can be used to reserve time at any property within the timeshare network.


Some owners may choose to rent out their timeshare during their designated week. In this case, the timeshare company may charge an additional fee. This fee often covers the administrative costs associated with the rental process, such as listing the availability, managing the booking, and cleaning and preparing the unit for the renters. While this can add an extra cost to your timeshare ownership, renting out your week can help offset some of the purchase price and maintenance fees if you’re unable to use the property yourself.


Pros And Cons Of Buying A Timeshare




  1. Guaranteed Vacation Spot: Owning a timeshare ensures you always have a vacation spot during your designated timeshare week(s).
  2. Luxury Accommodation: Timeshares are often located in prime vacation spots with high-quality facilities, including spas, pools, and fitness centers.
  3. Potential for Exchange: Many timeshare companies are part of exchange networks, allowing you to swap your week(s) with other locations around the world.
  4. Spacious Living Conditions: Timeshares often offer larger living spaces compared to standard hotel rooms, ideal for families or larger groups.
  5. Cost Savings Over Time: If you vacation regularly, a timeshare can be more cost-effective over time compared to paying for hotel rooms.



  1. Ongoing Maintenance Fees: Timeshare owners are often required to pay annual maintenance fees, which can increase over time.
  2. Limited Flexibility: Your vacation time is set, which can limit when you can take your vacation each year.
  3. Difficulty Reselling: The resale market for timeshares can be saturated, making it difficult to sell your timeshare if you no longer want or can afford it.
  4. Depreciation: Unlike real estate property, timeshares rarely appreciate in value.
  5. Travel Costs: You still need to consider the cost of traveling to your timeshare location, which can add up, especially if it’s in a distant location.


How to Buy A Timeshare

Buying a timeshare can be an excellent way to secure a vacation spot with the comforts of home, especially if you frequently visit the same location. However, it’s a process that requires careful consideration and research.


Firstly, you need to decide where you want your timeshare to be located. This decision should be based on a place you enjoy and plan to visit regularly. Once you’ve chosen a location, research the different resorts in that area that offer timeshares. Consider factors such as the amenities offered, proximity to attractions, and reviews from other timeshare owners.


Next, you’ll need to decide what type of timeshare ownership is best for you. There are deeded timeshares, where you own a portion of the property, and non-deeded timeshares, where you have the right to use the property for a specific period each year but don’t own any part of it. You also need to consider whether a fixed-week, floating-week, or points-based timeshare best suits your needs.


Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to look at the financial aspects. The purchase price of a timeshare can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and quality of the property, as well as the time of year your designated week falls. In addition to the purchase price, you’ll also need to factor in annual maintenance fees, which cover the costs of property upkeep and can increase over time.


Lastly, before finalizing the purchase, it’s crucial to read the contract carefully. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions, including your rights and responsibilities as a timeshare owner. If you plan on renting out your timeshare during your designated week, check if there are any additional fees involved. It’s often advisable to seek legal advice before signing a timeshare contract to ensure you fully comprehend the commitment you’re making.


How To Get Out Of A Timeshare Exit

Exiting a timeshare agreement can be a complex and challenging process, largely due to the binding nature of these contracts. However, there are several strategies you can employ to navigate this process.


Firstly, review your contract thoroughly. Some timeshare agreements include a ‘cooling-off’ period during which you can cancel the contract without penalty. If you’re within this time frame, you’ll be able to rescind your agreement relatively easily. Even if you’re past this period, understanding your contract’s terms and conditions will be beneficial as you consider other options.


If the cooling-off period has passed, another potential route is selling your timeshare. There are various online platforms where you can list your timeshare for sale. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the resale market for timeshares is often saturated, and you may not recoup the full amount you initially paid. A fair and realistic price will make your listing more attractive to potential buyers.


Renting out your timeshare is another option. By doing so, you can recover some of the costs associated with the timeshare. However, you need to ensure that your contract allows this, and be aware that some timeshare companies may charge additional fees for this service.


Another avenue to explore is transferring your timeshare to someone else, a process known as ‘gifting.’ This could be a friend or family member who is willing to take on the responsibilities of the timeshare. Be sure to fully disclose the ongoing maintenance fees and other obligations associated with the timeshare.


Finally, if none of these options are viable, you might consider hiring a lawyer to negotiate an exit strategy with the timeshare company. This can be expensive, but in some cases, it may be the best way to free yourself from an unwanted timeshare. Always research any timeshare exit company thoroughly before engaging their services to avoid falling victim to scams.


You Need A Timeshare Lawyer

A timeshare lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in the laws and regulations governing timeshare agreements. These attorneys can assist individuals in understanding their contracts, exploring exit strategies, and negotiating with timeshare companies. They have extensive knowledge about the intricacies involved in these agreements and can provide guidance tailored to each client’s unique situation.


One of the key roles of a timeshare lawyer is to review your contract. Timeshare agreements can be complex and filled with industry jargon that can be difficult for the average person to comprehend. An experienced timeshare attorney will be able to decode the language, explain the terms and conditions, and highlight any potential issues or concerns.


In addition to contract review, timeshare lawyers can also advise on the best course of action for exiting a timeshare agreement. This could involve selling the timeshare, renting it out, transferring it to someone else, or even pursuing legal action against the timeshare company. They can help evaluate the pros and cons of each option based on your specific circumstances.


Timeshare lawyers also play an essential role in negotiations with timeshare companies. If you’re seeking to cancel your timeshare after the rescission period, a skilled attorney can negotiate on your behalf, potentially saving you time and stress. They can also represent you if the case escalates to litigation, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the process.


Finally, hiring a timeshare lawyer can provide peace of mind. Exiting a timeshare can be a daunting and stressful process. Having a knowledgeable professional by your side can make the process more manageable and increase your chances of a successful outcome. However, it’s crucial to research any prospective lawyer thoroughly to ensure they have the experience and skills necessary to handle your case effectively.


How to Sell A Timeshare

Selling a timeshare can be a daunting task due to the abundance of resales in the market, but with the right approach and preparation, it’s definitely achievable.


Firstly, it’s important to set a realistic price. The resale market for timeshares is typically buyer-friendly, meaning you may not recoup your original purchase price. Research other similar listings to gauge an appropriate asking price. A competitive price will attract more potential buyers.


Secondly, prepare all necessary documents and information. This includes your original contract, details about the property and resort, the specific week or points you own, and the current status of your maintenance fees. Potential buyers will want this information, and having it ready will make the process smoother.


Next, decide where to list your timeshare for sale. There are various online platforms dedicated to timeshare resales. Additionally, you can use general online marketplaces, or even social media. The more visibility your listing has, the higher the chances of finding a buyer.


Fourthly, create a compelling listing. Include clear, high-quality photos of the property, and highlight its key features and amenities. Be honest and detailed in your description, including the annual maintenance fees and any other ongoing costs. Transparency will build trust with potential buyers.


Finally, once you’ve secured a buyer, ensure all legal aspects of the transaction are handled correctly. This might include transferring the deed or membership, notifying the resort of the change in ownership, and ensuring all fees are paid up to date. Depending on the complexity of the process, you may want to hire a lawyer or a title transfer company to assist. Remember, until the transfer is fully completed, you are still legally responsible for the timeshare and its associated costs.


Where To Buy And Sell A Timeshare

When considering buying or selling a timeshare, there are several platforms that cater to these specific transactions. One such platform is BuyAndSellTimeshares.com, which is owned and operated by Timeshare Specialists, Inc. This site provides a marketplace where individuals can seek answers to their timeshare questions and engage in transactions.


Another popular option for both buyers and sellers is RedWeek.com. This site offers timeshare resales that are typically discounted 50-90% from their original prices. It provides an online marketplace where sellers can list their timeshares and potential buyers can find significant savings.


SellMyTimeshareNow.com also offers a substantial presence in the timeshare resale market. With more than 75,000 timeshares for sale by owner, the platform claims to offer savings as much as 70% off retail prices. For those looking to buy a timeshare at a reduced cost, this could be an attractive option.


For those looking to sell their timeshares, Fidelity Real Estate provides a guide on how to sell timeshares without upfront fees. The company suggests going with a licensed real estate agent who specializes in resales, as timeshares are a unique type of real estate. This option could be viable for those seeking to avoid any upfront costs associated with selling their timeshare.


Lastly, Timeshares By Owner provides a comprehensive database to help you find the Timeshare Vacation Property of your choice. It offers options to buy, sell, or rent a timeshare, making it a versatile platform for all timeshare-related transactions.


Is a Timeshare Right for You?

Timeshares offer the allure of vacation home ownership without the full responsibilities. However, they’re not for everyone. They can be a good choice if you consistently vacation in the same place and enjoy the community aspect of a timeshare resort. On the flip side, the ongoing maintenance fees and lack of flexibility can be downsides for some people. 


Conclusion: What Is A TImeshare And How Does It Work

In conclusion, a timeshare is a unique form of property ownership that offers shared costs and usage for vacation properties. While they do have their benefits, it’s important to fully understand what owning a timeshare entails before diving in. Like any major purchase, due diligence and careful consideration are key. Read More about Traveling and Resorts on this Travel Blog