What Are the Differences Between Fractionals and Timeshares?

Most people understand the concept of timeshares, even if they don’t know all the fine points. They realize that you can either jointly own a timeshare condo with many other owners or own the privilege of vacationing for a specific number of weeks in that timeshare condo. Some timeshares are deeded property ownership while other timeshares are based on the sharing of time at the vacation resort rather than the sharing of the real estate itself. Either way, the product qualifies as a timeshare, even when it is called a vacation club or vacation ownership.

What Makes a Timeshare A Timeshare?

Timeshares can be found in a range of sizes, from efficiency or studio rooms to 3 and even 4-bedroom timeshare units. Locations vary; some of them are great getaway retreats, some are urban timeshares, and others put you in the heart of a high-demand tourist destination.

Looking at Fractionals

While these qualities are all (typically) true of fractionals, as RCI explains, “The major difference between timeshare and fractional ownerships is money.” Fractionals – for good reason – cost more to purchase than do timeshares.

A fractional may be a condominium, or it may be a detached home. And the perks that come with fractionals can be amazing. Benefits like the use of a luxury car, the services of a private chef, or storage for your personal possessions between visits, may come as part of your fractional ownership.

Another important distinction of fractional properties is that they typically are built in locations that are so high-demand, only the uber-wealthy can afford to own them as sole owners. Fractionals can be found at the top ski resorts and on beachside property that is simply too valuable to be sold to a single owner.

Timeshare typically is owned in one-week intervals, although one owner may own multiple weeks. Fractionals, however, usually involve owning at least a month and can be up to 3 or 4 months of time, although not necessarily consecutive weeks or months.

RCI’s list of similarities between timeshare ownership and fractionals is not conclusive, but it does identify some of the commonalities of the two.

Timeshare and fractional can both be:

  • Bought as deeded properties.
  • Rented out to others during periods of non-use.
  • Shared among family and friends.
  • Resold at any time.
  • Willed to kin. (Or I might add, willed to anyone else to whom you would like to leave it.)

At this time, someone who is trying to sell you a multi-million dollar fractional is unlikely to refer to it as a “timeshare”, but the fact is, the concept is basically the same. Right now, it is typically difficult to find fractional ownership properties under $100,000, with many being priced into the millions. But remember that the lines between timeshares and fractionals are already blurry, and they are only likely to become more so in the future.

To learn more about timeshare ownership, timeshare resales, and fractionals contact the timeshare specialists at Sell My Timeshare NOW. And watch the Timeshare Owners Blog this week for more posts on the topic of fractionals.