What are Timeshare Condos?

Eric Tallberg

Want to own beachfront property in Maui, a cabin in the woods of Manitoba, or a three bedroom unit in the heart of Montevideo? These and many more options are available with ownership of a timeshare condo. Buying a timeshare condo is easy and, depending on the location, size, and amenities offered, relatively inexpensive.

A condominium building may have timeshare units.
A condominium building may have timeshare units.

Timeshare condos are just what the name implies; condominium units that are purchased for residency during contracted time periods on a yearly basis. Timeshare condos are typically in desirable locations, managed in conjunction with resorts and hotels, and are often described as timeshare resorts. Essentially, the purchase of timeshares is handled very much like a real-estate transaction, with deeded rights to a unit for a specified time period. Owners, for all intents and purposes, take out a mortgage on a unit, thereby owning the unit for a specified length of time.

A condo lease agreement.
A condo lease agreement.

Owners of timeshare condos usually pay a yearly fee that covers maintenance, taxes, mortgage costs, and insurance. These fees are prorated to include the specified period of usage, generally one or two weeks a year. Owners, if they wish, may also lease or rent their units and time slot, as well as sell the unit for whatever price they deem appropriate. Additionally, owners may “trade” usage of their particular unit and time period for a week or so at another participating timeshare location. This flexibility is obviously a major incentive for purchasing a timeshare unit.

Timeshare condos, particularly those at the beach, often have pools.
Timeshare condos, particularly those at the beach, often have pools.

Most timeshare condos consist of units in condominium complexes, and may be townhouse style or single-floor units. Units might be anything from studios to palatial multi-bedroom dwellings complete with Jacuzzis, formal dining areas, and private gyms. Most timeshare properties also consist of multiple housing units with commonly shared grounds and amenities, such as pools, private beaches, picnic areas, and hiking trails; even golf courses and cross-country ski trails.

Timeshare condos that are beach adjacent can be quite appealing for those that can afford them.
Timeshare condos that are beach adjacent can be quite appealing for those that can afford them.

A disquieting downside to owning timeshare condos is timeshare resale. Timeshare condos for sale are glutting the real estate market as owners either tire of their particular location or find mortgage payments and yearly fees to strain their budgets. Unlike the housing market, where brokers and agents ordinarily receive a commission payable when a home sale is completed, many timeshare brokers demand a hefty fee just for advertising a timeshare unit. Usually, the only guarantee offered is that continued advertising will be free – for a certain limited time – if the unit doesn’t sell. Many timeshares offered for resale linger on the market for years, until these owners simply abandon the units, or lose them for non-payment of fees.

Many ski resorts offer timeshare condos.
Many ski resorts offer timeshare condos.
Timeshare condos may be in a townhouse style.
Timeshare condos may be in a townhouse style.
Timeshare condos are often offered in waterfront vacation settings.
Timeshare condos are often offered in waterfront vacation settings.

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