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When you are shopping for timeshares on the resale market, you will likely run across the concept of fractional ownership. Most people’s first reaction is to wonder how fractional ownership is different from other types of shared ownership, including timeshares. In some ways, the two concepts are much the same. Both timeshares and fractionals involve a collective of individuals who share the ownership of a real estate asset. Yet there are distinctive differences in the two products that you will want to understand.
Fractional Ownership: Location, Location, Location
Timeshares are built in popular resort destinations, exciting cosmopolitan venues, and desirable settings for getting away from it all. Yet oftentimes in these areas, the most exclusive real estate is occupied not by timeshares, luxury hotels, or private vacation homes, but by fractional ownership properties.
Ocean side with private beach access, adjacent to the most popular ski lifts, or cliff side with sweeping dramatic views, you can find breathtaking real estate. Typically, these choice properties come with prices that will also take your breath away. This real estate, paired with soaring property taxes, is unaffordable even for many wealthy individuals, when they know they will only be using it a limited number of weeks or months each year. To maximize the benefit of property such as this, The Ritz-Carlton Club, Auberge, St. Regis Residence Club, Four Seasons Residence Club, and Hyatt Residence Club, (to name a few), build luxurious vacation resort villas, which they make available for shared ownership to a very a limited number of buyers.
Both Real Property Real Estate Interests and Vacation Ownership Points
In contrast to the many different occupants (perhaps as many as 50) who may occupy a timeshare condo during the year, fractionally owned properties may be typically shared by only a dozen or fewer owners. Each owner will hold multiple weeks of use time, usually held in blocks of several consecutive weeks.
With some fractionals, as few as four owners may share the property’s ownership. These owners may or may not also have the option to exchange their intervals of ownership for time at other fractional resorts or private residence clubs. However, many fractional ownership resorts are structured similarly to a vacation club,
with membership linked to an equity based ownership plan, providing owners with vacation club points that they use at select luxury resorts around the world.
The Ritz-Carlton Club is an example of points based fractional ownership, and offers its member/owners the opportunity to use their points to book holidays at available Ritz-Carlton Club locations, Ritz-Carlton hotels, more than 50 resorts in the Marriott Vacation Club Collection, or to plan specialty travel excursions through the Marriott Vacation Club Explorer Collection.
TLC for Owners of Fractionals
In addition to larger, more luxurious properties, and longer intervals of ownership, fractionals are renowned for their optimal levels of service, owner care, and attention to detail. Many fractional ownership properties include on-site storage for the owner’s private belongings, frequently setting these items in place at the property before the owner arrives.
As a fractional owner, you might expect, for example, to have the sports equipment and personal items you left at the property during your last visit, in your villa, ready upon your arrival. Your cleaned and freshly pressed clothing would be hanging in your closet, your skis would be waxed, your golf clubs ready, your tee times booked, and your kitchen would be stocked with your favorite foods.
Like timeshares and vacation clubs, amenities and service levels vary depending upon the property you choose and the level of ownership you select for your fractional. While some fractional ownership resorts might include the concierge service of a rental car booked for you, other properties may provide the use of a car and driver, or a personal luxury car that is ready and waiting upon your arrival.
And here’s perhaps the most important similarity you will find between fractional ownership and buying timeshare: both are available on the resale market. If you are considering fractional ownership, be sure you shop the inventory of resales available through BuyaTimeshare.com. Because even when you are buying luxury… it’s nice to get a great deal!