A. FIXED, FLOATING, POINTS OWNERSHIPS
Fixed Week Ownership
A fixed week ownership guarantees the owners use of that same week each year. A Fixed week ownership is good for those who can only vacation during specific seasons or specific dates each year. For example, most teachers are off during the summer season and prefer to own a fixed week during summer season. Therefore, a teacher who owns a fixed week 28 at the Sheraton Vistana Resort located in Orlando, FL will always be guaranteed the ability to use the first week in July (Week 28) at Sheraton Vistana Resort each year without the concern of availability.
Floating Week Ownership
Unlike a fixed week ownership, a floating week ownership allows the owner to choose which week they wish to travel each year based on the weeks that comprise their specific floating week ownership. For example, some floating week ownerships allow you to choose any one week per year, others only float specific weeks of the year, generally by Season. Therefore, those that enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities, a winter floating week ownership at the Christie Lodge resort located in Avon, CO consisting of floating weeks 1-14 would be a better choice than owning a fixed week 28 in Orlando, FL as described above. This winter floating week ownership would allow you to travel one week each year at the Christie Lodge resort on a reservation basis that fall between Weeks 1-14.
Similar to floating week ownerships, a points based ownership allows the owner to choose which dates they wish to travel each year based on the number of points that comprise their points based ownership. Points based ownerships generally give you more flexibility than a floating week ownership as you can use your points one day at time or weeks at a time depending on the number of points owned and type of points program. Points based ownerships are usually attached to more than one resort which gives you even more flexibility. For example, if you own 300,000 points at one of the Wyndham Vacation Resorts, not only will you have the ability to use those points at your home resort, you will also be able to make a reservation with those points at any other affiliated Wyndham Vacation Resort part of the Wyndham points program.
B. DEEDED, LEASEHOLD, RIGHT TO USE OWNERSHIP
A major difference in types of vacation ownership is that between deeded and right to use contracts. With deeded contracts the use of the resort is usually divided into week long increments and these are sold as fractional ownership and are recorded in the public records like real property. The owner may use his or her week, rent his or her week, give it away, leave it to his or her heirs or sell the week to another prospective buyer (use subject to the rules and regulations set forth in the resort documents). The Owner is also liable for his portion of real estate taxes, which usually are collected with condominium maintenance fee. While this form of ownership can offer additional security to the owner as a form of physical ownership, deeded ownership can be as complex as outright property ownership in that the structure of deeds varies according to local property laws.
Similar to deeded ownership, however Leasehold deeds offer ownership for a fixed period of time after which the ownership reverts to the developer/entity that granted the lease or its assign. Occasionally, leasehold deeds are offered in perpetuity; however many do not convey ownership of the land but merely the 'unit' of accommodation. Owners are liable for applicable fees and subject to the terms of any agreement or governing documents.
Right To Use (RTU) Ownership
With right to use, the purchaser has the right to use the property in accordance with the contract but at some point the contract ends and all rights revert to the property owner. In other words, the right to use contract grants the right to use the resort for a specific number of years. In many countries there are severe limits on foreign property ownership, so this is a common method for developing resorts in countries such as Mexico. Disney Vacation Club is also sold as a right to use. Care should be taken with this form of ownership as the right to use often takes the form of 'club membership' or right to use the reservation system. Where the reservation system is owned by a Company not in the control of the owners, the right of use may be lost with the demise of the controlling Company and sometime it can be amended by the controlling Company without “owner” input. Owners are liable for applicable fees and subject to the terms of any agreement or governing documents.
A division of the year by resorts and exchange companies into weeks based upon popularity…most popular (Red), mid-level (White for RCI or Amber for II) and off peak (Blue for RCI or Green for II) for the calculation of trading power in exchanges. Each resort has different seasons depending on the geographic location. To view the resort and season you may visit RCI and II at http://www.rci.com and http://www.intervalworld.com respectively.
D. MAINTENANCE FEES
Resort managers or associations determine costs for maintaining the resort, paying the management company and reserves for unexpected expenses. They then allocate those costs between all the owners/members and require these be paid. Maintenance fees are typically billed once a year but some are billed monthly or quarterly. Maintenance fees are primarily used to maintain the timeshare, pay insurance, pay management companies, pay utilities, refurbishing and taxes. These fees vary with each resort and often vary based upon the size and type of timeshare unit.
Taxes on most timeshares are already included in the maintenance fees. In some states, such as Florida and California, they may be billed separately.
If the owner of a timeshare unit at one of and exchange company’s member resorts is in good financial standing with their resort then the exchange company will allows the owner to deposit their timeshare week(s) with the exchange company and exchange their week(s) with comparable (same or less desirable season) inventory that the exchange company has available. Typically, an exchange company allows an owner to deposit their week(s) up to two(2) or three(3) years before making a decision on where and/or when they would like to exchange. Banking your week does not guarantee availability of a comparable week and reservations should be made far an advance for better success in obtaining a comparable week.
Exchange Companies are “affiliated exchange companies” that arrange timeshare exchanges for timeshare owners and third party renters for a fee. Popular exchange companies include Interval International (II) and Resort Condominiums International (RCI), Trading Places International (TPI). Exchange Companies charge a fee for every transaction made through them. Interval is best known for its affiliations with Marriott Vacation Club International, Four Seasons Residence Club, Starwood Vacation Club and Westgate Resorts. Interval is best known for its affiliations with Marriott Vacation Club International, Four Seasons Residence Club, Starwood Vacation Club, and Westgate Resorts.
The value of a banked week when compared to the week desired. Factors affecting the exchange value include the resort rating, the season, the week, the size of the unit, the amenities of the unit.
Right to use an owner’s fixed week, floating week, or points based ownership every year.
Right to use an owner’s fixed week, floating week, or points based ownership two (2) times per year.
Right to use an owner’s fixed week, floating week, or points based ownership every other year. There are odd and even year biennial usage. Examples of a biennial even year would be 2010, 2012, 2014, etc and vice versa for odd year usage.
Right to use an owner’s fixed week, floating week, or points based ownership every three years. Examples of a triennial even year would be 2011, 2014, 2017, etc.
G. SPECIAL ASSESMENT
An additional charge sometimes imposed upon owners in addition to maintenance fees and taxes by a management company to cover additional costs or unexpected expenses not covered under the current budget.