Timeshare Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

We believe timeshares are the best way to vacation. The memories with your loved ones every year on your timeshare vacation will last a lifetime. If are you unsure about any timeshare terms, please see the glossary below.

Timeshare resorts provide extra amenities beyond what you might find at a hotel. Most resort amenities include swimming pools, hot tubs, fitness centers, playgrounds, picnic areas with grills, game rooms, resort activities programs, tennis courts, sport courts and laundry rooms (if the units do not have washers/dryers). Some resorts feature water parks, lazy rivers, spas, miniature golf, golf courses, ski-in/ski-out, marinas, beaches and additional recreational activities.

The professional trade association representing the timeshare (otherwise known as vacation ownership) and resort development industries. Members range from privately held to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and consumer owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

For credits- or points-based products or programs, the date each year when owners receive their annual allotment of credits or points.

Weeks that have accumulated from the prior year and are available for use in the current year.

Use of a timeshare week every other year. Owners are often referred to as either "odd" or "even" year owners.

Some resort or exchange companies may offer extra weeks to their members for a modest rental or cleaning fee, without requiring the timeshare owner to use their points/week. Timeshare companies may also offer unreserved weeks to their owners similarly.

For deeded properties, costs associated with the closing process. These may include administrative fees, recording costs and escrow fees.

A type of timeshare ownership that includes ownership of an individual week of a condo unit within a multiple-unit building. Owners get fee title to the space as well as a percentage ownership interest in the common areas, which may or may not include the recreational facilities. Purchasing an interest in a timeshare condominium is nearly always the purchase of a deeded real estate property.

Related to timeshare products or programs offered by some timeshare companies that assign a yearly allotment of "credits" that can be used like currency for resort stays. This allows timeshare owners choice and control over when and where they vacation, how long or short they stay, and the size of the unit they stay in. In these programs, there is no deed to a physical unit.

A timeshare product that is evidenced by an actual deed to a specific property or unit. Deeds are recorded in the county in which the property is located.

The periods of time in a resort that are requested the most. These are often unique to the particular resort location and depend on things such as climate and activities

An estoppel letter is typically utilized in a transfer of real property timeshares prior to the closing transaction. It is a document sent to the lender or to the homeowners' association requesting the payoff amount of the mortgage, assessments or taxes due in order to incorporate these amounts into the settlement statement for the buyer and seller of the timeshare. All assessments and payments due must be included into the amounts due at closing and paid at the time of the closing on any timeshare resale.

The process of trading intervals, credits or points at one resort for those at another resort, or in another unit at a home resort. This can allow owners to travel and vacation at various locations. Exchanges are normally facilitated by an intermediary, which could be the timeshare company or a third party exchange company like RCI or other exchange companies.

Weeks are numbered 1-52, with week one being the first week in January. With a fixed week timeshare, an owner has access to a particular unit the same week every year.

A timeshare agreement whereby the owner has the right to occupy a particular unit type or the right to reserve a specific time of year, but they must reserve on a first-come, first-served basis within the regulations of the resort.

Usually associated with luxury timeshare ownership with expanded service and amenities. The real estate is sold in intervals greater than one week and less than full ownership.

The specific resort where an owner has a guaranteed right to make a reservation according to the terms and conditions of the resort's reservation policies.

Timeshare developments are often structured like any condominium association, with a Homeowner's Association (HOA) comprised of all owners, and a management company hired by the HOA to manage the property.

An assigned period of time in a timeshare resort. Typically, an interval consists of one or more weeks assigned within an interval calendar, which is the 52 weeks of the year numbered sequentially. An interval week is a seven-day period.

An alternative to deeded property. A lease ownership, which is a form of Right-To-Use ownership, grants the leasor the right to use the property for a specified period of time, usually from 20 to 99 years. The resort developer or management company holds the ownership of the physical property.

A timeshare unit that consists of multiple living and sleeping areas designed to function as two or more discrete units for occupancy purposes or for exchange. The unit can be opened to form one large unit when the owner needs the space for a large group, or it can be "locked-off" into two or more separate units, allowing the owner to split the vacation into multiple stays or bank all or a portion for exchange purposes.

The Homeowners Association or Resort Management Company establishes and collects maintenance fees for timeshares. These fees cover utilities, taxes, insurance costs, and property maintenance and refurbishing. Depending upon the program or product, these fees can vary based on the intervals, credits or points purchased, the type and size of the unit, and the resort. This may also be referred to as an annual assessment.

Related to timeshare products or programs offered by some timeshare companies that assign a yearly allotment of "points" that can be used like currency for resort stays. This allows timeshare owners choice and control over when and where they vacation, how long or short they stay, and the size of the unit they stay in. Some points systems are deeded, and some are not.

The specific period of time required by state laws when a purchaser can cancel the timeshare contract without penalty and receive a refund from the timeshare company. Timeshare rescission periods vary by state, but range from three to 10 days, the most common being five days.

An alternative to a deeded timeshare, a right-to-use product is made by an owner agreement granting the owner access to the resort(s). The agreement could be perpetual or for a finite number of years. Instead of individual deeds held by owners, the legal title to the resort property may be held by the owners collectively.

The shared ownership of vacation resort property which may or may not include an interest in real estate. Consumers purchase an increment of time, typically one week, in a fully-furnished resort condominium, villa or apartment. According to ARDA, about two-thirds of timeshare interests today are interests in real property.

Companies that develop or acquire resort properties, and usually market and sell the timeshare inventory in those resorts to consumers. The timeshare company may also act as the property manager during and even after the selling of the inventory, and may also offer financing to timeshare buyers.

These are important legal documents that may include a declaration, owners' association articles and bylaws, as well as rules and regulations.

The term used for selling timeshare interests on the secondary market by an owner to a third party, usually another consumer. This also includes transferring an owner's interests, invalidating the ownership, and advertising/listing/promoting the timeshare sale.

A company that offers to advertise an owner's timeshare for sale or rent for a fee, usually paid in advance. Many states require a real estate license in order to advertise timeshares.

For an upfront fee, the company will transfer one or more timeshare interests from a current owner to another entity. These companies may also be referred to as "relief," "rescue," "postcard," or "transfer" companies.

The value assigned to intervals, credits or points for the purpose of exchanges. Supply and demand rules these exchanges. Owners with high demand weeks or resorts often have a higher trading power. Third party exchange companies classify timeshare products to ensure that owners receive a comparable stay or benefit in exchange for the particular timeshare week(s) or points they wish to trade.

A travel related product that includes a resort stay at a timeshare company's resort within a specified period of time.

Timeshares are usually described as condominium units, hotel-style units, studio units, or by the number of bedrooms. Sizes can range from studios to spacious four-bedroom units that sleep 10, to luxurious penthouse and presidential suites.

A type of timeshare product that usually includes access to more than one resort location. The term may also describe other non-timeshare products, such as discount travel clubs and other travel related services.

Describes resort timeshares and other forms of shared ownership of leisure real estate. Additional timeshare terminology may also be found at https://www.vacationbetter.org/why-timeshare/what-is-a-timeshare/