Understanding Your Ownership

Glossary of Terms

Every product has a language of its own, including timeshare. These are some of the basic terms worth reviewing, especially if you are a newer owner.

The extra features that enhance the experience and increase the value of a timeshare stay. Resort amenities often include swimming pools, tennis courts, Jacuzzi, spa or fitness facilities, golf, boating, skiing, water sports, amusement park discounts and various planned children’s activities. Many amenities are standard features included with a stay and others carry an additional cost (such as golf, spa services, watersports equipment, etc.), depending on the resort.

Biennial Ownership:
Provides a week’s worth of accommodations every other year. These owners are often referred to as either “odd” or “even” year owners.

Bonus Weeks:
In an effort to increase travel to certain destinations, some timeshare resort and exchange companies offer bonus weeks to their members for a modest rental fee without requiring the members to trade-in a week in return. Developers may also offer unreserved weeks to their owners in a similar fashion.

Closing Costs or Fees:
Expenses paid by the buyer and/or seller at the time of closing. As with any real estate transaction, these typically apply to deeded purchases.

Condo Hotel:
Condo hotels offer a portion of their hotel rooms for sale to the public. The owner may use it for vacation or corporate housing needs, or place it in a rental program typically managed by the hotel.

The document used to convey an interest (ownership) in real property that transfers from one party to another upon the property sale.

The party or company owning the property, unit/weeks or club memberships. The developer is responsible for building the resort’s accommodations and amenities, selling the product and in many cases, providing day-to-day management services for the property.

An exchange company allows owners to trade their timeshares for comparable accommodations and travel-related services. Most resorts are affiliated with an exchange company such as RCI or Interval International. Many resort companies also offer a way for owners to exchange to resorts within their own resort groups. If an internal resort exchange comes with a purchase, is long-term or mandatory, it is usually considered to be a vacation club.

Fixed Ownership:
Allows owners access to specific week(s) and accommodations within a given timeframe, for instance, yearly or biennially.

Floating Ownership:
A timeshare arrangement in which owners reserve each year’s vacation time on a first-come, first-served basis. At most resorts with a floating program, unit allocation also floats, assuring owners receive comparable accommodations (but not necessarily the same unit) each year. Access may float within a particular, purchased season or year-round.

Fractional/Private Residence Club:
Resort accommodations with related use rights in increments of more than two weeks and as long as three months (quarter share). This type of ownership is almost always deeded and is a more affordable alternative to a second home. This product segment enjoys a high level of service and is generally considered the luxury tier of shared ownership.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations:
A timeshare brand formed in 2008 from an alliance between IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) and Orange Lake Resorts.

Holiday Inn Club:
The vacation club membership product of Holiday Inn Club Vacations. Also see “Vacation Club” below.

Homeowners’ Association (HOA):
Timeshare Homeowners Associations (HOAs) operate like any community or condominium HOA operates. You and your fellow members elect officers who oversee expenses, upkeep and the selection of a manager or management company. All owners of a property are responsible for operating, managing and administering the project, and may also own the common areas and elements jointly. Membership in a resort’s owners association generally is mandatory. In most deeded resorts, the HOA will ultimately be responsible for managing the resort and usually hires a management company (including the developer) to operate the resort day-to-day.

Home Resort:
The resort location where a new purchaser owns or has a designated week in a club- or points-based program. Ownership is usually tied to this home resort and generally involves priority reservation rights in that location.

Interval or Weekly Interval:
The set number of days and nights of annual use, usually one week, by which vacation ownership is measured.

Some units are designed to operate as two separate units, or “locked-off,” for occupancy and exchange purposes. They can also be combined to operate as one larger unit. For instance, adjoining one- and two-bedroom villas are frequently offered as a three-bedroom unit. This provides the owner the flexibility to split the vacation/unit into separate units or multiple stays, or bank all or a portion for exchange purposes.

Plan Year:
The 365-day period within which an annual allotment of timeshare points must be used. This period may or may not coincide with a calendar year, depending on the product.

A “currency” that provides highly flexible scheduling. Purchasers buy points based upon their estimated vacation needs, then use those points as they desire in any given year to reserve different combinations of accommodation sizes, locations and seasons. Owners may also use their points for a variety of travel-related services, depending on the rules of the resort company. Resort accommodations are assigned a point “value” based upon unit size, length of stay, locations and seasonality. Points are used by some resort companies for both internal and external exchanges, as well as within their own vacation clubs.

Points Conversion Program:
Enables owners of a timeshare to pay a fee(s) to convert an interval for its equivalent in points.

Private Residence Club:
See Fractional/Private Residence Club

The period of time granted under state law during which a purchaser can cancel the purchase contract without penalty and receive a complete and full refund of all monies paid to the seller. Dictated by state statute and company policy, timeshare rescission periods vary from state to state, but range from three to 10 days. The most common rescission period is five days.

Resort Company:
The company owning the resort, usually responsible for building and selling the accommodations and amenities. Also see “Developer.”

A timeshare owner’s right to occupy a unit at a resort for a specified number of years and where no real estate interest is conveyed. Right-to-use owners do not receive a deed.

Traditional timeshares, regardless of whether they are backed by a deed or not, allow buyers to purchase an increment of time. This is typically for one week, in a condominium, villa or apartment type of furnished vacation accommodation. Timeshare owners receive either a fixed week or a floating time reservation arrangement that may vary by unit type and season. More than two-thirds of timeshare interests today are deeded.

Timeshare Documents:
Called by various names under state law (including project instruments). Depending on the project’s structure, these are the legal documents which establish and structure the vacation ownership resort or club. These documents may include a declaration, owners’ association articles and bylaws, as well as rules and regulations.

Trial Membership:
An opportunity to experience the developer‘s primary vacation ownership product and services within a defined period of time after the initial sales tour.

Unit or Villa:
The accommodations within a timeshare condominium, fractional or club membership that is for an owner’s use.

Unit Week:
The basic form of vacation ownership accommodations. It includes the use of a dwelling unit for a seven-day period, from check-in to checkout. Check-in day for a unit week can vary, but most commonly occur on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.

Vacation Club:
A marketing term often used to describe various types of timesharing that usually involves the use or access to more than one resort location. Real estate ownership or points are included in this type of timeshare vacation club to provide owner vacation flexibility. However, the term may also be used to describe travel clubs that offer discounts on hotels and other travel-related services.

Vacation Ownership:
An alternative term for “timesharing” and other forms of shared ownership of leisure real estate, such as a fractionals and private residence clubs.