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What is an Interval Timeshare?

By Craig G.
Updated May 16, 2024
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An interval timeshare is a piece of real estate used for vacation purposes with a specific and recurring period of usage usually measured in weeks or months. The interval which is purchased can be a specific week, like the first week of May, or the month of December. Typically, the interval repeats each year or every other year.

Some interval timeshares work on a point-based system by which owners purchase points with corresponding vacation time values. Rather than buying a particular week or month, the owner can buy points and pick any available week in a particular timeshare location. For instance, one week of vacation time may cost ten thousand points. At one dollar per point, that interval vacation would cost $10,000 US Dollars (USD). If the owner wanted to reserve two weeks, he or she would pay $20,000 USD.

Point values and dollar amounts vary based on the timeshare's geographic location and the type of unit. Units in more desirable locations, like those located in resort communities at the beach or in urban city high-rises, are priced higher than units in less desirable locations. Larger units are also likely to cost more than reserving smaller ones.

Many interval timeshare companies allow a buyer to purchase multiple units. A family could organize a reunion by reserving several units in a timeshare resort, for example, if they had enough points to do so. Additionally, timeshare companies often allow members to borrow points from future years. If an owner had only 10,000 points but needed 20,000 points to reserve two units, he or she could borrow the points from the next year. Since that owner has used all his or her points for that year and next, he or she will not be able to use the interval timeshare in the year to follow.

Other timeshare companies allow a buyer to buy into national and international clubs through which he or she can trade unit locations with other members. If the owner's timeshare unit is located in California, but he or she wants to vacation in Hawaii, he or she could trade his or her unit with an owner who has a unit in Hawaii. The owner of the Hawaii property would then be able to use the California unit during the owner's interval.

Regardless of whether the interval timeshare has a set period of time or is based on a point system, payment is made only once, at the time of initial purchase. The interval or points renew on the pre-arranged schedule. Interval timeshares are usually deeded to the new owner, and can be passed down to family members, and listed and sold through agents or on the open market.

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