A Guide to the Different Types of Timeshare

If you’re thinking of taking a trip in 2023, you’re not alone; 60% of Americans plan to do the same in the first half of next year. One in four of them even have plans of vacationing overseas.

If you also plan to go big with your future travels, you might want to get a timeshare. Timeshares, after all, are becoming more popular; 9.9 million U.S. households already own some form of it. To top it off, they’re available in both U.S. and international vacation properties.

However, it’s vital to note that several types of timeshare contracts exist. You must understand them all, as they dictate when you can go on your much-needed vacation.

To that end, we created this guide on today’s most common timeshare types. Read on to discover what they are so you can find the most suitable one for you and your family.

Deeded Timeshare

When you buy a deeded timeshare, you become a part-owner of that vacation property. The number of part-owners, in turn, can be up to 52. It’s often 52 since each timeshare provides an owner with a week of fractional ownership.

However, you can own more than one timeshare. For example, you can get two timeshares if you usually spend two weeks on holiday.

Because it comes with a deed, a deeded timeshare’s ownership is “perpetual.” This means you own the share for as long as you live, so you can do whatever you wish, whether resell or rent it out.

You can also give your deeded timeshare away to a loved one by transferring it to their name. A good example is if you wish to pass it down as an inheritance. Here’s a page with a detailed guide on timeshare transfers; check it out to learn more about the process.

Right-to-Use (RTU) Timeshare

A Right-to-Use (RTU) timeshare gives the timeshare owner the right to use the property for a week every year. Unlike deeded timeshares, though, RTU timeshares often don’t come with deeds. Instead, they’re more like leased vacation properties; the resort remains the sole owner.

So with an RTU timeshare, what you “own” is the right to use the property, not the property itself.

Most RTU timeshare options also come with end dates, typically ranging from 20 to 30 years. So unlike their deeded counterparts, they aren’t viable inheritances.

Still, most RTU timeshares let owners have guests use their timeshare travel week. In this case, you may only have to call the resort and inform them someone else is using your share.

What RTU timeshares are often more restrictive of is rental and resale. It’s still possible to sell one, but it may be harder to find buyers since these timeshares don’t have deeds. As for renting them out, you must usually go through the resort’s management team first.

Fixed-Week Timeshare

When buying a timeshare, be it a deeded or an RTU one, one of your options is a fixed-week timeshare. This type of timeshare grants exclusive rights to the property for a specific week.

Your contract determines when exactly those seven days are. For instance, it can be the last week of December, the first week of January, or the third week of June. These examples, by the way, are often the most expensive, as they’re holiday weeks.

Regardless of your chosen week, you can only use the property during that period. Therefore, this type of timeshare may make the most sense if you’re okay with going on a trip the same week every year.

Floating Week Timeshare

A floating week timeshare allows owners to choose which week of the year they’d like to use a property. You can get this whether you purchase a deeded or an RTU timeshare.

This type of timeshare comes in two types: fixed rotation and ownership rotation.

A floating week based on fixed rotation is when week usage rotates among owners on a set schedule. With this, the seven days you can use the vacation property change yearly. Still, the resort is usually the party responsible for making the modifications.

A floating week based on ownership rotation is when usage depends on the owners. With this, you must work out your schedule for the year with the other timeshare owners.

The first “dibs” for a floating week often go to the timeshare owner who made the earliest payment. For example, suppose that of the 52 timeshare owners, you’re the first to pay all your maintenance fees. In this case, the resort may prioritize your request for when to use the property.

A floating week timeshare may be a good option if you want maximum flexibility. However, you should also prepare to pay more for this type of timeshare compared to a fixed-week one.

Points-Based Timeshare

A points-based timeshare is more of a membership rather than ownership. With this, you buy points, which you can use to book different holiday accommodations. Therefore, it doesn’t limit you to a property within a resort.

Let’s use the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) as an example.

Once you become a DVC member, you receive a yearly allotment of points. You can then spend those points toward a scheduled holiday in one of its resorts. You can also use your points to get access to Disney theme parks.

The number of points you receive depends on the specific contract you buy. Likewise, the number of points you need depends on your Disney resort destination.

Also, the more properties you wish to book, the more points you must own.

Explore the Different Types of Timeshare Today

As you learned in this guide, the primary types of timeshares you can buy are the deeded and RTU timeshares. From there, you have to decide whether to get into a fixed-week or a floating-week contract. Or, you can go with a points-based timeshare, which lets you vacation in more than one resort.

Just remember that a fixed-week timeshare often costs less than its counterparts.

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