On the surface, second or vacation home co-ownership seems similar to a time share arrangement. In many ways it is. However there are some key general differences. Second, or vacation, home co-ownership tends to be smaller in scale and is organized and managed by the co-owners. Time shares are typically the opposite as they are large scale enterprises that are organized and managed by people other than the owners. Time share ownership comes in the form of fixed (specific week), floating (choose from blocks of time), and rotating (different week each year) time periods. Deeded and right to use ownership methods also exist. While there are many very legitimate time share companies in existence, the time share industry is a magnet for shady developers who sell barely legal or even illegal real estate contracts.
Some common concerns related to time shares include:
- Marketability - If I need to sell my time share is there an active market for them? Will the management company assist me in sale or am I on my own?
- Value - How much will I save or earn as a result of owning the time share? How does this compare to renting?
- Flexibility - Can I exchange my space/time for a different one? What are the limitations?
- Control - Who determines the management fees? Can I rent my unit?