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Timeshares 101

Timeshare Glossary

Click on a Term to view the definition for that term.



Used primarily in auctions indicating the minimum amount necessary to purchase a property. For example: If the absolute price shown on an auction property is $1,000 any bid of $1,000.00 or more buys the property. See also "Reserve".



Features that add to the value of the property such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, boating, full kitchens, laundry facilities, etc. The more amenities a resort offers, the greater the increase in value and desirability of the property.


Check-In Date:

The assigned date and day of week the interval week begins; usually Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The check-in day begins the seven-day interval week. [Example: If the interval week begins on Friday, the week ends on the following Friday]. The interval owner (or renter) need not check in on the specific check-in day; however, late check-in does not extend the interval week beyond the scheduled check-out day.


Check-In Time:

The assigned hour an interval week begins; usually 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, or occasionally 5:00 PM prevailing time. The interval owner need not check in at the precise time; however, late check in does not extend the interval week beyond the assigned check out time. Check-out time is normally 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM prevailing time on the seventh day following check-in. [Example: check-in on Saturday at 4:00 PM and check-out on the following Saturday at 10:00 AM].


Closing Costs:

Those costs associated with the closing process; usually including: deed preparation or transfer of equity for right-to-use properties, recording costs, escrow fee, and administrative fees.


Deeded Property:

True property ownership with deed recorded in the county where the property exists. This type of property has the same rights of ownership accorded to it as other deeded real estate. The owner may sell, rent, bequeath, or giveaway the property.



A special secured account used to hold funds from the buyer and the seller related to closing of purchase and/or sale of a property.



The process of trading an interval week at one resort for an interval week at another resort or trading a specific week at the home resort for another week at the same resort. The exchange system allows an interval owner to trade their week with other interval owners thereby allowing each owner to travel and vacation throughout the world.


Exchange Company:

A company or organization that accepts interval weeks on deposit from it's interval members to establish a pool of weeks from which other members may select the resort and vacation times of their choice. When a member deposits their week with an exchange company, the company compares the week the depositor is asking for with weeks deposited by other members and provides a suitable match based on availability and value. Factors affecting the "trading value" are: the resorts' rating, the time division; i.e., prime time versus low time, the size of the unit desired, etc.


Fee Simple:

The preferred type of real estate ownership. This type of interval ownership is the opposite of Right-to-Use or lease ownership and continues forever. The owner holds a deed in his/her name and the ownership of the property can be bequeathed to heirs.


Fixed Unit:

Unlike a floating unit, a interval owner who owns a fixed unit at a resort will always vacation in the same physical unit each year he/she vacations at that resort. This type of ownership is particularly important if you have purchased, for example, an ocean-front property with the ocean at your door step and are not willing to vacation in an ocean-view unit. A fixed unit property assures the owner that he/she will always have the exact location and the exact unit they have purchased.


Fixed Week:

Referring to the interval calendar, the purchase of a fixed week property assures the owners that they will always have the same week each year; i.e., week 26. Alternatively, an owner of a floating week may choose another week within their time division or may elect to upgrade or downgrade to another time division to meet their annual vacation schedule. Upgrading to a higher time division usually incurs an additional cost.


Floating Unit:

Unlike a fixed unit, interval owners of a floating unit at a resort may not vacation in the same physical unit each year they vacation at their home resort. Interval owners may request a specific unit and, if available for that particular week, the resort normally will honor the request.


Floating Week:

The purchaser of a floating week has the flexibility of scheduling their vacation interval with yearly variations in accordance with the resort's guidelines. Typically, resorts will accept requests for specific weeks by the interval owner as soon as the annual maintenance fees are paid. Therefore, the earlier the maintenance fees are paid, the better the chance that the owner can pick a specific interval week.



An assigned period of time. Based on the interval calendar wherein the fifty-two weeks of the year are numbered sequentially: Week 01 through Week 52 or Week 53. A specific interval week is a seven day period encompassing one of those fifty-two weeks.


Interval Calendar:

An annual calendar depicting the fifty-two or fifty-three weeks of each calendar year showing starting days of Friday to Friday, Saturday to Saturday, and Sunday to Sunday, check in dates. CENTURY 21 TRI-Timeshare has furnished an interval calendar within this website which can be printed from your browser. Click here to access: Interval Calendar.


Lease (aka Leasehold):

Some states and some foreign countries do not allow deeded ownership of timeshares. Alternatively, a lease ownership or 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. Ownership of the physical property is held by the resort developer or management company.


Lockout Unit:

Typically, a unit which has the capability of being divided to create two separate but complete sections. If an owner buys a lockout unit, he can divide the unit and either stay in one half of the unit and rent the other half or rent both halves to different parties.


Maintenance Fee:

A fee paid annually to cover the costs of maintaining the grounds, units, and facilities of the resort and the management thereof. These fees vary from resort to resort and with the type and size of the unit purchased.


Maximum Occupancy:

The maximum number of persons an interval unit will accommodate; usually from 2 to 10 persons. Maximum occupancy is typically expressed in conjunction with "private occupancy" referring to the number of persons the unit will sleep privately and the number of bedrooms within the unit. For example: a 2 bedroom unit with a sleeping capacity of 4 persons and a maximum occupancy of 6 persons would typically have a double bed in each of the two bedrooms and a pull-out sofa in the living area; thereby allowing four persons private sleeping arrangements and two persons less than private sleeping arrangements. Configurations of units vary from resort to resort.



Owner will have use until the expiration of membership, if there is an expiration. Some memberships run for the lifetime of the owner or their heirs.



Owner has access to several resorts (2 or more) and may reserve a week at any of the resorts free of charge or pay a nominal exchange fee to the management company to go from their resort to a sister resort.


Odd or Even Year Usage:

Use of the property is restricted to either odd years (2001) or even years (2002). Obviously, the ownership of this type of interval is valued at one-half the value of a full ownership property since the use is restricted to one-half of the annual usage.


Ownership in perpetuity:

This "fee simple" ownership like your home, sometimes turns into fee simple absolute. You own it till you die or sell it [or until a majority of the owners vote to terminate ownership and either sell the land the building sits on (because the buildings are getting old and expensive to maintain) and divide the funds according to the interest owned by each owner or to re-develop the land to continue with ownership at the owners expense.]



Points are a symbolic unit of measure having no intrinsic value separate and apart from interval ownership.


Points-Based Programs:

Many multi resort ownership programs run with a points system. This allows the owner flexibility in how long they vacation, in what size unit they use each trip and where they go each trip. When points are implemented the owner would own a certain amount of points and get that same amount deposited into their acct each year. So every year they have that amount of points to spend on vacation accommodations. Point values are assigned to each size unit for a particular season & size of accommodation & resort location.

The Primary Points-Based Programs Currently available in timeshare are;

     ▪ Club Sunterra   Hilton Grand Vacation Club   Disney Vacation Club   BlueGreen Resorts   Fairfield Fairshare Plus
     ▪ Sunterra Pacific   Marriott Vacation Club   Worldmark Trendwest   Club Intrawest   RCI’s Points Network


Private Occupancy:

See "Maximum Occupancy".


Resort Ratings:

A system of comparison of resort quality, amenities, and location. The three foremost rating systems are Resort Condiminiums International (RCI), Interval International (II) and Timeshare Users Group (TUG). RCI and II rate their affiliated resorts based upon a predetermined criteria of exacting standards of quality and services provided by the resort as well as the availability of amenities at or near the resort. RCI uses the Gold Crown designation for their highest quality resorts and Resorts of International Distinction for second-level resorts. II designates their top resorts as 5-Star resorts.


Transfer Fee:

A fee required by some resorts to transfer the ownership from the sellers’ name into the buyers’ name.


Reserve Price:

Used primarily in auctions indicating the asking price requested by the seller. In the event the highest bid received does not meet or exceed the reserve price, the offer is conveyed to the seller for acceptance, decline, or negotiation.


Right To Use (RTU):

Some states and some foreign countries do not allow deeded ownership of timeshares. Alternatively, a lease ownership or 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. Ownership of the physical property is held by the resort developer or management company. However, during the right-to-use period, the owner may rent, transfer, or bequeath the remaining years of their right-to-use property.


Special Assessment:

A fee over and above the annual maintenance fee assessed by the resort pro rata to interval owners. This fee is, when assessed, is intended to defray expenses related to major repairs and refurbishing of resort equipment, facilities, and units.


Time Division:

A system of establishing the value of an interval week typically based upon season. For example: a week 3 (Mid January) purchased at a New England beach resort would not hold the same value as a mid-summer week at the same resort due to the fact that the season in January is not conducive to vacationing on the beach. Time divisions are expressed as high time or red time meaning prime time, white time or medium time meaning medium desirability, or blue time or low time meaning the least desirable time. Some resorts such as Hawaiian resorts consider all weeks as prime time since their tropical climate permits pleasant vacations throughout the calendar year. Additionally, many resorts offer year-round activities, often referred to as four season resorts, in which the owner may participate in a variety of seasonal activities.

Other factors which affect the interval week's desirability would be holidays and special local events.


Trading Power:

The assessed value of an interval week when trading or exchanging for another week within the same resort or at a different resort. In some situations, the owner of a red week at an RCI Gold Crown resort can trade that week for two or more weeks at a resort of lessor distinction or for weeks in a lower time division. Supply and demand rules prevail in this type of exchange and the owners can greatly enhance their trading power with high demand weeks and resorts.


Unit Size:

Normally expressed as hotel unit, studio unit, efficiency unit or by number of bedrooms. Hotel units, studio units, and efficiency units typically are a single room with sleeping accommodations and perhaps a small built in kitchen and sleep from two to four persons. One, two, or three or more bedroom units are usually condominium style accommodations and feature a partial or full kitchen and other living areas.


Unit Sleeps:

See "Maximum Occupancy".


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