Timesharing is an arrangement that gives you the right to use property for a limited, preplanned time. The types of property used for timeshares are houses, apartments, chalets, studios, cabins, or condominums.
There are two main types of timesharing plans: deeded and non-deeded. With the deeded timeshare, you buy an ownership interest in a piece of real estate. In the non-deeded timeshare, you buy a lease, license, or club membership that lets you use the property for a specific amount of time each year for a stated number of years. With both timeshare plans, the cost of your unit is proportionate to the season and length of time you want to buy. A winter week in a warm climate is likely worth more than a summer week.
As a practical matter, there are several factors you might consider in determining whether you will be able to use a timeshare facility regularly. Check to see if the properties have flexible use plans that you may consider. If you are evaluating a timeshare plan with units in several locations, you may also want to consider whether the club has sufficient units at the sites you prefer to give you the opportunity to use them. Also, you should look into any resale restrictions of a timeshare. You may face competition from the firm that sold you the timeshare, or from local real estate brokers who may not want to include the timeshare unit in their listings.
Before signing on the dotted line, review all the documents or have a consultation with an attorney familiar with timesharing. The contract may provide a "cooling-off" period during which you can cancel the contract and get a refund. The majority of states where timeshares are located require such a cooling-off period. If there is such a provision, you can use that time to reconsider your decision. If there is no cooling-off period, be sure you understand all aspects of the purchase and review all materials before you sign.
An attorney familiar with time share agreements can interpret your agreement for you and advise you regarding any problem that you may have. If you are feeling uncertain or uneasy about the terms of your timeshare agreement, then you should consult with a real estate attorney before signing it.