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Timeshare Glossary

A

Accelerated Use:
A right-to-use program that allows the member to accelerate usage of the time purchased. For instance: you have a 10-year right to use one week per year at a resort offering accelerated use. Instead of using one week every year, you may choose to use two weeks every year for five years or five weeks per year for two years (based on availability).
Accrued Weeks:
Timeshare weeks that you banked from the prior year which are available for use in the current calendar year.
Amber week:
See season.
Amenities:
Features that add to the value of the property such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, spas, boating, fitness room, laundry facilities, etc. Generally speaking, the more amenities a resort offers, the greater the increase in value and desirability of the property.
ARDA (The American Resort Development Association):
The main trade association in the United States for the timeshare industry. Provides lobbying and other services in support of the industry.

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B

Banking:
Depositing a week of timeshare into an exchange company's "bank." If an owner does not use a week in a particular year, they are generally allowed to bank it and use it at a later time. See also: accrued weeks and space banking.
Biennial:
Use of a fixed week every other year (EOY). Owners are referred to as odd or even year owners. See also: odd or even year usage.
Blue week:
see season.
Bonus Time:

Use of your resort in addition to your regular allocated time on a space available basis. A Developer Bonus Week (DBW) is available to members who own at participating resort. These bonus weeks are issued directly from the timeshare resort, often issued as a signing bonus upon the purchase of a timeshare interval. Sometimes owners can purchase bonus weeks from the resort as unsold developer-owned weeks.

A second type of bonus week is one issued by a timeshare exchange company. Owners of high-demand resort weeks receive them as incentives to deposit their timeshare week.

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C

Check-In Date:
The assigned date and day of week the interval week begins; usually Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. View our timeshare weeks calendar. The 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 interval owner (or renter) need not always check in on the specific check-in day; however, late check-in does not extend the interval week beyond the scheduled checkout day. ** If you plan to be late, make sure to let the resort know in advance. Some resorts have strict check-in policies and may give away your room.
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 may not need to check in at the precise time; however, if you plan to be late, make sure to let the resort know in advance. Some resorts have strict check-in policies and may give away your room. 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 of a sale process, usually including: deed preparation or transfer of equity for right-to-use properties, recording costs, escrow fee, and administrative fees.
Club/Trust Membership:
Year-round usage of resort facilities with purchase, on a space available basis. This is the most generally used system of timeshare ownership in the UK and is growing in popularity everywhere else. Owners belong to a Club; their accommodation unit (and sometimes the leisure facilities) are held by Trustees who license a Right-to-Use to owners. Sometimes club membership is backed by a deed of ownership, sometimes it is not. (The escritura system in Spain is a deeded system, but deeded timeshare ownership is not legal in the UK and some other countries.)
Constitution:
The collection of inter-related legal documents establishing the relationship between timeshare owner, developer, trustee, and management company. Effectively the rules by which the resort is run.
Cooling Off Period:
The time given to a purchaser following signing of a timeshare purchase agreement, during which they may cancel without penalty. In the UK, the cooling off period is 14 days, elsewhere in Europe it is 10 days, in Mexico it is 5 days. In the USA, the period varies from state to state, but is typically three business days. See also: rescission.

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D

Deed:
A legal document providing title to your timeshare property; gives you your ownership rights. See also: fee simple. (The escritura system in Spain is a deeded system, but deeded timeshare ownership is not legal in the UK and some other countries. See also: club/trust membership.)
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 give away the property.
Developer's Price:
The developer's current or market price for a timeshare interval. This is a full retail price, including the developer's marketing costs, etc.

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E

End-user Finance:
Provision of a loan to enable an owner to purchase a timeshare. Some finance agreements are personal loans (without security) while others are loans secured by the timeshare week or, occasionally, by a mortgage on the principle residence.
EOY (Every Other Year)
Biennial use of a timeshare interval.
Escritura:
The Spanish term for the deeding and registering of a Deed of Title.
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. Learn about RedWeek's recommended timeshare resale escrow service, and a unique timeshare rental escrow.
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 an interval owner to trade their week with other interval owners thereby allowing each owner to travel and vacation throughout the world. Some resorts have internal exchanges with other resorts which are usually owned by the same company. Read more about timeshare exchange.
Exchange Company:
A company or organization that accepts timeshare weeks on deposit from its interval owners/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 exchange value are: the resort's rating, the time division; i.e. prime season versus low season, the size of the unit desired, etc. Read more about timeshare exchange.

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F

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 timeshare 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 weeks; most in numerical sequence 1-52. With a week number, your actual start date may vary slightly from year to year. Unlike a floating unit, a timeshare 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 timeshare 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 52 or week 35, etc. Alternatively, an owner of a floating week may choose another week within their season allocation. A floating week owner may also elect to upgrade or downgrade to another season allocation to meet their annual vacation schedule. Upgrading to a higher time division usually incurs 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 might not vacation in the same physical unit each year. Interval owners may request a specific unit and, if available for that particular week, the resort normally will honor the request.

  • Floating week based on fixed rotation - a type of timeshare ownership in which specific weeks rotate among owners from year to year on a fixed schedule. Common with fractional ownership interests/private residence clubs.
  • Floating week based on ownership rotation - a type of ownership in which the owner purchases week(s) and works out the appropriate vacation time with the other owners on a rotating basis each year.
Floating Week/Time (also called "flex" time):
The purchaser of a floating timeshare 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.
Fly-Buy:
A mini-vacation package where the timeshare resort pays all or most of the holiday costs of a prospective purchaser in return for that prospect attending a sales presentation. See also: mini vac.
Fractional:
Timeshare ownership of two or more weeks at the same resort during a calendar year.

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G

Guest Certificate:
A certificate issued by the resort's affiliated exchange company authorizing a nominated guest to use an exchange instead of the owners.

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H

HOA/POA (Home Owners Association/Property Owners Association):
When a resort is sold out or approaching sell out, its ownership is generally turned over to an HOA or POA, consisting of the timeshare owners of the resort with an elected board to administer the rules and regulations. Sometimes a sold out resort will hire an outside management company to operate the resort, collect maintenance fees, etc.; sometimes the developer maintains management rights.
Holiday Club/Vacation Club:
A club which provides a number of weeks vacation, usually in timeshare apartments. These Clubs are generally not covered by the laws regulating the sale of timeshare.
Holiday Ownership:
Another term for Timeshare.

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I

II (Interval International):
The second largest exchange company in the world.
Interval:
An assigned period of time. Based on the timeshare weeks calendar wherein the fifty-two weeks of the year are numbered sequentially: week 1 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 timeshare weeks 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.

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L

Lease/Leasehold:
Some states and some foreign countries do not allow deeded ownership of timeshares. Alternatively, a lease ownership or right-to-use (RTU) 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. Most properties in Hawaii, for instance, are leasehold properties. The same is true in Mexico.
Levy:
In a points club, the annual charge to members to pay for administration of the club in addition to any management charge or supplementary management charge made for actual use of a week. Also a one-time charge made to owners by an Owners Club or Management Company to pay for major or unexpected costs. See also: special assessment.
Linked Agreement:
In Europe, this is a method of getting around the law banning the taking of deposits. The Timeshare Purchase Agreement, in which no deposit is shown, is linked with another (which might be a holiday voucher [aka: a "cert"] or some other holiday scheme) which is, in reality, the deposit. The two agreements appear to be separate, but in reality they are linked.
Lockout/Lock-off Unit:

Some timeshare condominium units are referred to as "lock-offs." A lock-off, sometimes called a lockout, is a unit that can be divided into two separate sections. The owner of a lock-off has several options when it comes to renting out the unit. He or she can choose to rent the entire unit to one party, stay in one half of the unit and rent out the other half, or rent out both halves to different parties.

You need to be aware that, though the full unit may have a full kitchen and laundry facilities, the lock-off portion will likely look more like a hotel room - with one room, a bathroom, and possibly a small kitchenette. Before renting, make sure to ask whether you are getting a lock-off, and confirm the unit size and amenities in writing (an escrow agreement is the most secure way to do this).

Read more about Lockout/Lock-off Units »

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M

Maintenance Fee:
Maintenance fees are established and collected by the Home Owners Association or Resort Management Company to maintain the timeshare resort property, pay insurance, utilities, refurbishing, and taxes. These fees vary from resort to resort and with the type and size of the unit purchased. The cost of resort operation is spread among owners. This fee must also build up reserves to pay for non-recurring costs like furniture, appliances, etc. that need periodic replacement, and other capital costs as normal physical deterioration occurs. Note: During the active sales period, maintenance fees may be temporarily subsidized by the developer as a marketing tool. When the HOA takes over, fees may rise to unsubsidized levels.
Management Company:
The company contracted, usually by the Owners Club/HOA, to carry out all the day-to-day management of the resort. This is very often owned or controlled by the developer. See also: HOA/POA.
Management Fees:
The fees, usually paid annually, by each timeshare owner or points club member to cover the costs of running the resort on a day-to-day basis.
Maximum Occupancy:
The maximum number of persons an interval unit will accommodate, usually two to ten people. Maximum occupancy is typically expressed in conjunction with "private occupancy" referring to the number of people the unit will sleep privately and the number of bedrooms within the unit. Configurations of units vary from resort to resort.
Mini Vac:
A mini-vacation package where the resort pays all or most of the holiday costs of a prospective purchaser in return for that prospect attending a sales presentation. See also fly-buy.

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O

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.
OTE (Organisation for Timeshare in Europe):
The European equivalent of ARDA, but more consumer oriented.
Owner Referrals:
Resorts that are in active sales often have special vacation promos that they offer through their current owners. The owners are encouraged to submit referrals and will receive various incentives from the resort for their leads.

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P

Points:
Programs offered to timeshare owners by resorts which 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.
Points Clubs:
A timeshare system where owners hold points which entitle them to use a period (varying from a few days to a few weeks) every year from a choice of resorts. Sometimes points are backed by an actual deed, sometimes they are not.
Property Bonds:
A system similar to points clubs for owning shares or bonds in a company owning properties.

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Q

Quartershare:
Three-month timeshare ownership with a rotating schedule.

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R

RCI (Resort Condominiums International):
The largest exchange company in the world, owned by Cendant Corp.
Red week:
Refers to the prime season to visit a particular resort. RedWeek.com allows members to post red weeks as well as weeks that fall in other seasons.
Resale:
Refers to a timeshare interval that an owner, resort, or agent is selling after being originally sold during the initial sales at that resort.
Rescission:
A period of time granted by company policy and state statutes during which a person has the right to cancel a purchase contract for a timeshare without incurring a penalty. The person also receives a complete and full refund of his deposit. Rescission periods vary from state to state. See also: 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.

RedWeek.com's resort ratings are based on a 5-star scale, calculated as an average of ratings given by our members. This rating is not a reflection of the extent of amenities at a resort, but rather user experience.

Right to Use (RTU):
A lease, or right to use ownership grants the lessor 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.

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S

Season:
Exchange company division of the weeks in a year into popular (Red), shoulder (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 may have different seasons depending on location, etc.
Sinking Fund:
A portion of the Management Fee specifically dedicated to ensuring that the main structure, furniture and fittings of accommodation units (and sometimes leisure facilities) are kept in an as new condition for the full period of ownership.
Space banking:
Depositing a week of owned timeshare with an exchange company, also referred to as banking.
Special Assessment:
A fee, over and above the annual maintenance fee, assessed by the resort pro rata to interval owners. This fee, when assessed, is intended to defray expenses related to major repairs and refurbishing of resort equipment, facilities, and units.

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T

Timeshare:
A right, shared with others, to occupy a unit of accommodation for a period of time (usually a week) on a regular basis for a number of years. Sometimes referred to as Vacation Ownership, Holiday Ownership, Multi Ownership or Group Ownership. Timesharing can be in a single building, an apartment block, or a boat.
TATOC (common usage):
The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees.
Time Division:
A system of establishing the value of a timeshare 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, in locations such as Hawaii, 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 are holidays and special local events.
Trading Power:
The assessed value of a timeshare week when trading or exchanging for another week within the same, or 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 timeshare owners can greatly enhance their trading power by purchasing high demand weeks and resorts. Read more about trading power and exchange.
Trustees:
A bank, trust company, or a group of individuals who hold timeshare accommodation (and sometimes leisure facilities) in trust on behalf of the owners and grant owners a right to-use through a license (Ownership Certificate). Trustees provide security for owners in the event that a developer fails financially. Some trustees may have added responsibilities such as ensuring the continuity of the Owners Club.

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U

Unit Size:
Normally expressed as hotel unit, studio unit, and efficiency unit or by number of bedrooms. Hotel units, studio units, and efficiency units typically consist of a single room with sleeping accommodations and a small built-in kitchen, sleeping two to four people. One, two, three, or more bedroom units are usually condominium-style accommodations and feature a partial or full kitchen and other living areas. Read more about the differences between hotel rooms and timeshare condos.

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V

Vacation Ownership:
Another term for timeshare.

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W

Week 53:
Almost all calendars contain only 52 weeks of use in a year - but roughly every seven years there is an extra week, week 53 which is generally reserved for the use of the developer/founder member.
Week Number:
See definition for interval calendar or view a check-in date calendar by week number.
White week:
See season.

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Glossary used, in part, with permission from The Timeshare Beat.

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