Timeshare Glossary

Whether you are a “seasoned” part of the timesharing community, or if you are new to the idea of timesharing, vacation timesharing has a lexicon all its own.  This glossary may be able to help you sort out some of the terms or phrases with which you may not be familiar.

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Accrued Weeks: Accumulated weeks from the previous year that are available for use in the current calendar year.

Affiliated Resort: A timeshare resort or resort developer owning multiple resorts in other locations or has contracted with other “affiliated” resorts for owners to be able to use their week(s) at those resorts. This is common practice with vacation clubs.

Amenities: Features such as swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, fully equipped kitchens, boating, laundry facilities, etc. The more amenities--the greater the increase in value and desirability of the property.

Bank or Space bank: The owner can choose to “bank” their allocated vacation time with an exchange company to use at a future date. Generally, owners have two years to use the time once it has been banked.



Biennial: The vacation time to use your timeshare is on an every other year basis.

Bonus Time: Additional use of your resort over and above your regularly allocated time on a space available basis.



Camping Membership: A membership to a resort or resort community that caters  to campers.  Some are affiliated with national organizations that provide camping locations for members in many states as well as other countries.

Check-In Date: Assigned date and day of week that the interval week begins; usually Friday, Saturday, or Sunday – such check-in day begins the seven-day interval week. For example, if the interval week begins on Friday, the week ends on the following Friday. The timeshare owner or renter does not have to check in on the specific check-in day; however, late check-in does not extend the timeshare week beyond the scheduled checkout day.

Check-In Time: The specific hour the timeshare week begins; usually 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, or occasionally 5:00 PM local time. The interval owner does not have to 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 local 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].

Close Escrow: The time at which the purchase of a property has been completed. (Includes title being transferred, verified and all funds having been disbursed.)

Closing Costs: 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.

Club Membership: Year-round usage of resort facilities with purchase, on a space available basis.



Deed: Ownership interest providing title to your property. Fee simple.

Deeded Property: True property ownership with deed recorded in the county where the property is located. 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 give away the property.

Developer: A company that owns and constructs the resort is known as the “developer.”

Developer's Price: Estimated developer's current or market price. Full retail price.



Escrow: 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

Exchange: 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 a timeshare owner to trade their week with another timeshare owner thereby allowing each owner to travel and vacation throughout the world.

Exchange Company: A company or organization that accepts timeshare weeks on deposit from it's timeshare 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.

Exchange fee: The service fee that is charged during the exchange process when using your deposited time.



Fee Simple: The preferred type of real estate ownership. This type of timeshare 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: A time period that is fixed for each calendar year either by date or by calendar week--most in numerical sequence week 1 through week 52.  With a week number, your actual start date may vary slightly from year to year. Unlike a floating unit, an 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 oceanfront 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; (e.g., week 26.)  On the other hand, 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 includes an additional cost.

Floating: Your time period is defined by a season and your week period is not fixed. You reserve your time period within the appropriate season annually. Most resorts have a High, Medium, and Low Season. Owners of a floating unit at a resort may not vacation in the same physical unit each year they vacation at their home resort. Timeshare 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 timeshare 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.

Fractional: Multiple week ownership at the same resort--2 or more weeks of timeshare ownership for use in one calendar year.




Home Owners Association: (HOA) A selected group of timeshare owners that determine and administer the rules and regulations at a resort.

Home Resort: The resort stated on your purchase agreement or deed that is provided by the company from which you purchased your timeshare.



Interval: An assigned period of time. Based on the interval calendar wherein the 52 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 52 or 53 weeks of each calendar year showing the starting days of Friday to Friday, Saturday to Saturday, and Sunday to Sunday as the check-in dates.




Kitchen Types: There are several different kitchen types found in units. Full kitchens will include at least a sink, conventional oven and a standard size refrigerator.  Mini kitchens will include the basic appliances, some of which are smaller than standard. Partial kitchens do not include all the basic appliances that are found in a full kitchen.



Lease: Some states and some foreign countries do not allow deeded ownership of timeshares. Alternatively, a lease ownership or Right-To-Use ownership grants 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 ownership of the physical property.

Lockout Unit: Usually, a unit which has the capability of being divided in order 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: Maintenance fees are established and collected by the Homeowners Association or Resort Management Company to maintain the property, pay insurance, utilities, refurbishing and taxes. 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 timeshare 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. Configurations of units vary from resort to resort.




Odd or Even Year Usage: Timeshare ownership usage every other year--some odd-numbered, some even. 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.

OPC: Off Premise Contact is one who approaches a prospect outside of the resort grounds and may offer gifts to lure individuals or couples in to attending a timeshare sales presentation.



Points: Programs offered to interval owners by resorts that allow the owners choice and control over when and where they vacation or for how long or short they stay. Points are a symbolic unit of measure having no intrinsic value separate and apart from interval ownership.

Property Taxes: These may be included with the maintenance fees charged by the resort. Property taxes are regulated by the state in which the timeshare resort is located. Some states may not require property taxes to be paid on timeshare resorts, while others do.



Quartershare: 3-month interval ownership with rotating schedule.



Rescission period: This is the period in which a person has the right to cancel the purchase of their property and will not be penalized. When a person cancels within this time period, he or she will receive a full refund of any deposits made in connection with the purchase. The time to rescind varies from state to state. This is also known as a cooling off period.

Resort Ratings: A system of comparison of resort quality, amenities, and location. The two foremost rating systems are Resort Condominiums International (RCI), Interval International (II). RCI and II rate their affiliated resorts based upon 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.

Right To Use (RTU): Occupancy rights for a specified number of years, with no ownership interest in the property. Some states and some foreign countries do not allow deeded ownership of timeshares. Alternatively, a lease ownership or Right-To-Use ownership grants 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 ownership of the physical property. However, during the right-to-use period, the owner may rent, transfer, or bequeath the remaining years of their right-to-use property.

RPMLS©: The computerized information system used for buyers, sellers, renters and cooperating brokers for the purpose of completing those types of resort property transactions worldwide.



Season: Designated season of the year denoting the period of ownership for exchange or usage value.

Special Assessment: A fee over and above the annual maintenance fee assessed by the resort pro rata to timeshare owners.  When assessed, this fee 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 that affect the interval week's desirability would be holidays and special local events.

Timeshare: An ownership to a resort property or unit that is shared by others. Each owner has their own time period (typically one week) in which they can utilize the facilities, amenities, accommodations and all attributes associated with the resort. A timeshare is also known as a “second home”.

Trading Power: The value assigned to one’s timeshare when deposited with the owner’s exchange company and is related to the exchanging the owner’s unit to use at another time or location.



Unit Size: Normally expressed as hotel unit, studio unit, and efficiency unit or by the 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, three or more bedroom units are usually condominium style accommodations and feature a partial or full kitchen and other living areas.



Vacation Clubs: A type of ownership where an owner belongs to a club that includes several timeshare locations and is usually set up as a point based program. This allows an owner to do an internal exchange within the resort system they purchased to use at another location without paying exchange fees.


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