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Types of timeshares

Main types

Deeded timeshare ownership: It is legally considered real property. The purchase gives the right to use a specific unit or unit type at a specific time or season every year. Owners may rent, sell, exchange or bequeath them. Timeshare owners collectively own the resort. They must pay annual maintenance fees and taxes. A homeowners association usually oversees management of the resort.

"Right to use" vacation interval option: A developer owns the resort. Each unit or condo is divided into "intervals," either by weeks or the equivalent in points or credits. An owner purchases the right to use an interval for a specific number of years, or even forever. The interest owned is legally considered personal property. Owners still pay annual maintenance fees set by the developer.

Variations

Fixed or floating time: In a fixed-time option, the owner purchases the unit for use during a specific week of the year. In floating time, use is allowed within a certain time of the year and requires reserving the time desired in advance. Confirmation is usually provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fractional ownership: Rather than buying an annual week, a large share of vacation time is purchased, often for three to six months.

Biennial ownership: Use of the resort is allowed every other year, which lowers the initial purchase price and annual fees.

Lockoff or lockout: The unit can be divided with a door between living areas in such units with two or more bedrooms. An owner can use part of the unit and offer the remaining space for rental or exchange. Sometimes owners can use two weeks in half of the unit instead of one week using the entire unit.

Points-based vacation plans: A certain number of points or credits are purchased, which may be exchanged for the right to use an interval at one or more resorts. The number of points needed varies according to length of stay, size of the unit, location and when it will be used.