A luxury house highlights the six key differences between timeshares and fractional ownership.

The 6 key differences between Timeshares and Fractional Ownership

if you’re evaluating either of these options when looking to spend quality vacation time with your loved ones, the following comparison of timeshares versus fractional ownership may assist in your decision:

1. Equity

A timeshare gives the buyer the right to use the property for a designated length of time, usually, one or two weeks per year.  The buyer has no equity. There are multiple buyers and each has the same right of usage. However, the title remains with the developer.

Fractional ownership is a method of property purchase involving fewer buyers than a timeshare, typically 6-12. Each owner holds an equal part of the title.

The purchasers have an equity stake in an asset without having to pay for the entire property, maintenance expenses, and taxes.

2. Number of Owners

Most timeshares involve between 26-52 owners per unit:  the main consequence of having so many owners is short and/or infrequent owner stays. Most timeshare owners visit their property only once a year, often for only one week. This means there is little “pride of ownership”, and this lack of connection translates into a lack of care and apathy. Higher traffic also means more wear and tear.

Most fractionals involve 2-12 owners per unit, meaning owners visit the property more frequently and stay longer. Larger ownership shares and more time spent at the property give fractional owners a greater stake in how the property looks and feels, and in how it appreciates over time. Fractional owners care about their property and their investment, and it shows how the property is maintained and operated.

3. Reservations

The primary benefit of timeshare ownership is just right to use a vacation home for the same week or two every year without being required to make reservations each year.

Fractional ownership is usually available for 5 weeks or more per year and week selections are made each year in some sort of priority reservation protocol.

4. Higher quality and cost

Fractionals involve larger apartments or homes, more amenities, and better finishes. Fractional buyers pay more to purchase and expect to pay more in maintenance and management fees. Higher quality construction and finishes, coupled with more resources for maintenance and management, and fewer users, tend to keep the property looking good and operating smoothly.

Timeshare properties often degrade over time, causing them to become less desirable for original purchasers and lose most or all resale value. This degradation results from lower initial quality, inadequate maintenance and management, and higher user traffic.

5. Owner control

Fractional associations operate much like homeowners associations and retain ultimate authority and control over their property. Day-to-day operational responsibility is delegated to a manager or management company, but owners retain the right to replace management if it is not performing.

Timeshares are permanently controlled by a developer or hotel operator, and timeshare buyers are viewed more as repeat hotel guests than as property owners. This arrangement provides little incentive for the operator to maintain high standards after the last timeshare interest is sold.

6. Exit Strategy and Investment Value

Neither Timeshares nor Fractionals have an exit strategy leaving the buyer to find avenues to sell their share in a property or development.

Fractional ownership is a better investment than a timeshare and is more willing to finance a purchase with fractional ownership because the buyer owns partial equity in a valuable asset. As the value of the property appreciates, the value of the purchaser’s equity also appreciates.

Timeshare ownership only entitles the buyer to occupy for a week or two per year. No benefit is realized from a change in the value of the actual property. The property title is 100% owned by the principal owner.

Very few timeshares increase in value.

Is Fractional Ownership Better Than Timeshare?

Fractional ownership is considered to be a better investment than timeshares. That said, fractional buyers need to assess the details of the arrangement before buying. Questions to consider before buying are:

  • How many owners per unit will there be?
  • What is the quality of the construction and furnishings?
  • Is there a realistic budget that will provide money to operate the property as well as to replace the furnishings and equipment regularly?
  • To what extent can owners exercise control over the property and the management?

Want to talk to an expert? Contact Karla Jones at Lifestyle Asset Group

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