Hello again and thank you for your question.
On the industry side, the leading resource is
What is Timeshare
A Little History | How it Works | Types of Timeshare Programs |
Exchange Companies | A Glossary of Timeshare Terms
Your choice in buying a timeshare week is either to buy in the primary
market from the developer, or to buy in the secondary market from a
previous buyer. Either way make sure you're buying a real estate
deed, not just some sort of vacation club membership.
It's not hard to find a developer with timeshares to sell--most people
encounter them when they're on vacation and are solicited for a
timeshare tour with the promise of cash or awards for attending. If
you want to prearrange a timeshare tour at a place you're interested
in, I'd suggest you contact Fairfield Resorts for their choices, since
they are one of the better developers.
Or you can buy at resale, generally for about 25% of the price the
first owner paid. Since you don't get a tour, etc., you're on your
own in terms of choosing what to buy, making sure you want what you
The easiest way to buy resale is simply to bid on Ebay, after
researching past sales, etc. to determine a fair price to offer.
Once you own a timeshare week, you must pay its annual maintenance
(generally $350 to $750 per year). You can simply use your week each
year (either you'll own a particular week, or you'll own a 'floating
week' that you reserve in advance).
Alternatively, there are many ways to exchange the use of your week
for the use of somebody else's week. That's done on a year-by-year
basis. So maybe you'll stay at your own week in 2005, and trade your
2006 week to go elsewhere.
The simplest way to trade use of your week for another is to pay
annual dues and exchange fees to whichever of the leading exchange
companies your week is affiliated with (some properties are
dual-affiliated), generally either
(you'll be in RCI Weeks unless your property and your particular
deeded week have enrolled in RCI Points)
I'll mention Fairfield Resorts again here, because if you buy a deeded
Fairfield week that participates in "FairShare Plus Points" (you can
buy either from Fairfield or via resale) you can exchange internally
into any other Fairfield property by applying the number of "points"
your unit is worth (there is also a fairly complicated way to exchange
your Fairfield unit into the RCI Weeks system).
If exchanging (rather than using the week that you own) is your goal,
when you're buying that deed you need to either (i) be sure that you
buy/own a desirable week, since it will draw the best trades
(desirable = in a location that is in demand, in a property that is in
demand, in a week that is in demand), or (ii) buy a deeded week that
participates in a points system, mainly either RCI Points or Fairfield
FairShare Plus Points, and simply buy a unit that qualifies for
sufficient points to get you the exchanges you want.
Other points-based systems are offered by
Monarch Grand Vacations Points
Club Intrawest Points
Want to know more before you buy? There are several internet groups
that you should join, browse through, and then post specific questions
that people will answer (for free).
The leader is Timeshare Users Group (TUG), much of it free to use or
for a small dues payment you can access the entire site
There is also a new group (I don't know why these people left TUG),
or if you're particularly interested in Fairfield, you can register
for free via Yahoo Groups to join the Yahoo Fairfield Group
Spend a few hundred hours reading through TUG, TimeshareForums and/or
Yahoo Fairfield Group and you'll be an expert!