Timeshare Defined – A Glossary of Timesharing Terms

Getting involved with timeshare can be confusing at times. This is a good reference for anyone involved in timesharing as it defines many of the common terms used to describe different aspects of time share. The glossary is alphabetical, and please let us know if there is anything you feel we have missed or would like to see defined.


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    • Accelerated Use – A program that permits someone to use their purchased time in increasingly larger increments instead of fixed weeks. For example, if your timeshare stipulates you have one week every year, an accelerated use policy would let you use two weeks every five years.
    • Accrued Weeks – Weeks unused from the previous year that have been banked for use this year.
    • Anniversary Date – In timeshare systems utilizling points, this refers to the date on which all of the points earned accumulate.
    • Appraisal – Determining the estimated worth of any given property. In timesharing this is done by comparing similar properties and their current listing prices.
    • Appreciation – Accrued value when real estate matures and becomes worth more – this rarely happens with timeshares.
    • Banking – System in which unused timeshare weeks or points can be saved for later use.
    • Biennial – When an owner’s timeshare week can be used on an every other year basis; also see “odd or even year usage”.
    • Bulk Banking or Block Banking – When large amounts of timeshare weeks are banked with an exchange company as soon as they are made available.
    • Bonus Time – Ability to use the resort for additional dates other than your allotted week; time is given on a space available basis.
    • Bonus Weeks – Often used by timeshare salesman as an incentive to buy, these are “off” weeks thrown into a package as an extra perk for ownership.
    • Closing Costs – Expenses related to the process of ending a sale including preparation of the deed, equity transfer, recording fees and escrow costs.
    • Club or Trust Membership – Members of a club have the rights to a vacation location all year long; common in the UK.
    • Constitution -Legal document detailing guidelines for how a resort is to be run.
    • Cooling-Off Period – Time period following a timeshare purchase that a buyer has to return the timeshare without penalty or incurring charges; also known as rescission.
    • Credit Pool – A way of banking points you aren’t going to use for later use.
    • Depreciation – Occurs when real estate decreases in value; vacation properties are notoriously prone to this type of negative return.
    • End-user Finance – A loan given to allow a buyer to purchase timeshare property.
    • Escrow – An account specifically for the purpose of holding funds from a timeshare buyer and a seller.
    • Estoppel Certificate – outlines a timeshare’s status with your individual resort as pertains to back taxes, maintenance fees paid to date, and any outstanding charges or special assessments that may occur
    • Exchange or Exchange Company– Company that facilitates the trading of timeshare weeks for use at other locations. There are two major exchange companies – RCI (Resort Condominiums International) and II (Interval International).
    • Fee Simple – Type of timeshare ownership that can be deeded to heirs; ownership is said to “continue forever”.
    • Fixed Unit – Timeshare owner has the same physical unit each year the timeshare is used.
    • Fixed Week – In this system, each week of the year is assigned a number and the timeshare owner uses their vacation during that same numbered week each year.
    • Float Week – There is no assigned time for this week to be used; it is dependent on the resort availability.
    • Fractional Ownership – This is defined as ownership of more than one week, but less than ownership of the entire property. Also referred to as “fractionals”, this is a rapidly growing segment of the timeshare economy.

  • Gold Crown Resort – The highest rating a resort can receive within the R.C.I. system.
  • Guest Certificate – Document provided by timeshare company that authorizes use of the unit by someone other than the owner.
  • Holiday Club or Vacation Club – Organization which offers timeshare weeks to members; not subject to the same laws as exchange companies because of “loose” organization.
  • Holiday Ownership -Just another term for timeshare or vacation ownership.
  • I.I. – Abbreviation for Interval International.
  • Instant Exchange – Trading timeshare intervals with short notice – usually between 2 and 45 days.
  • Internal Exchange – Trading week of ownership for another week or another resort location within the same company.
  • Interval – A unit of time – one week of timeshare is equal to one interval.
  • Lease – This is also referred to as a right-to-use agreement and is used in places where timeshare sales are illegal. The lease is still a binding contract and can last anywhere from 20 to 99 years.
  • Levy – In points club membership this refers to administrative fees accrued by individual members.
  • Lockout or Lock-off-Unit – A timeshare unit that can be divided into two separate properties by physical barriers.
  • Maintenance Fee – Charge paid by timeshare owners that pays for homeowners association fees including taxes, utilities, insurance and upkeep such as remodeling, replacing furniture and updating.
  • Management Company -Organization hired by homeowners association to take care of the day-to-day activities of the timeshare property.
  • Odd or Even Year Usage -Biennial timeshare ownership arrangement where owners have the rights to the property every other year during years that end in even or odd numbers depending on their deed.
  • Points – Units of measurement used by exchange companies and timeshare owners to establish value for seasons, sizes of units, and resort locations.
  • Quartershare -Three month interval timeshare ownership.
  • RCI -The largest timeshare company in the world, stands for Resort Condominiums International.
  • Red Week – Time of year during which properties are at their peak for enjoyment.
  • Resale – Timeshare property being advertised for sale after it was originally purchased from a resort developer during the initial sales at that resort.
  • Rescission – Period of time after timeshare purchase during which an owner has the right to return the timeshare with no penalty; also see “Cooling-Off Period”.
  • Right to Use or RTU – Agreement granting use of a timeshare property for a given period of time. This type of ownership can not be passed on to heirs and expires after 20 to 99 years depending on the deed.
  • Sinking Fund – Fraction of management fee kept by resorts to ensure all furnishings are in “like new” condition.
  • Space Banking – See “Banking”.
  • Special Assessment – Additional charge paid by owners to cover expenses related to major repairs and/or refurbishment.
  • Timeshare – The concept of purchasing an increment of time at a resort, condominium, apartment, or other facility, often with the option to exchange this time for time at a different location.
  • Time Division – Method of classification for interval weeks. Weeks in a given year down into three distinct categories: high demand, medium demand, and low demand.
  • Trading Power – The value assigned to a given timeshare week or points amount; this determines the quality of resort an owner can exchange into.
  • Trustees – A group with a financial interest that holds timeshare properties in trust on behalf of the owners.
  • Use Year – The 12-month period during which you may vacation using the points allocated to you by your resort.
  • Vacation Ownership – See “timeshare”.
  • Week Fifty Three – Once every 7 years there are 53 weeks in the calendar and the use of this week is allocated to the resort developers or important guests.
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  1. This is a good article. Some of the terms I'm not familiar with. This will in a way educate some timeshare owners about these terms that usually presented by timeshare developers.

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