Timeshare Glossary:

Abstract of Title

History of title to a specific parcel of real property

Accelerated Use

A right-to-use program that allows a timeshare owner to use their purchased time sooner than originally planned. For example, under this program, instead of using one week every year for 10 years, a timeshare owner may use 2 weeks every year for 5 years or 5 weeks per year for 2 years.

Accrued Weeks

Any unused weeks from the previous year that have been “banked” and can be used this year.

Ad Valorem

A legal term meaning “according to value” that refers to the assessment of property tax.

Advance Fees

Any money paid up-front to a company. See “Up Front Fees” below.


A written statement confirmed by oath or verification to be used as evidence in court.

AIRDA (The All India Resort Developers Association)

The trade association in India for the timeshare industry


A resort where meals, drinks, accommodations, entertainment and taxes are covered in a single accommodation or resort fee.

Amber Week

See “Season” below.


Features that add to the value of a property such as swimming pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, golf courses, spas, boating, fitness or exercise room, kitchens, laundry facilities, etc.

Anniversary Date

For resorts that offer a points system, it is the annual date on which earned points accumulate or weeks are renewed.


In real estate, an estimate of the value of a piece of property, expressed as market value.


The increase in the value of an asset over time. Timeshare salespeople often discuss timeshares as appreciating in value, but in reality, timeshares usually go down in value over time.

ARDA (The American Resort Development Association)

The main trade association in the United States for the timeshare industry. Provides lobbying and other services in support of the industry. Today, ARDA is comprised of nearly one thousand small companies and large conglomerates from all over the world.

ARDA-ROC (ARDA Resort Owner’s Coalition)

A timeshare owner’s alliance sponsored by ARDA.

ARDA-ROC offers a timeshare resale resource center with links to listing brokers. See “Licensed Real Estate Brokers” below.

Assigned Week

The week selected and used each year

Attorney General

Each state has an attorney general who aims to safeguard consumers against fraud and unfair business practices. A consumer may file a complaint directly with his/her state’s Attorney General and request the complaint be investigated.

Banked Week

An unused week a timeshare owner “banks” or deposits” for later use or trade. See “Banking” below.


The option to “deposit” or “bank” (i.e., put away) unused weeks, or points, to be exchanged or used later.


A timeshare sales team’s term for a person who avoids buying by saying that they will be back.

Benefits of Ownership

Special rights that come along with ownership in a specific resort, such as discounts on services, discounts on renting by the night, the right to exchange for other weeks or other resorts, preferred check-in and checkout, etc.


Use of a fixed timeshare week every other year.

Biennial Ownership

See “Biennial” above.

Blue Week

See “Season” below.

Block Banking

Banking a large amount of timeshare weeks with an exchange company by a person or a resort

Bonus Time

Use of a resort in addition to regular allocated or fixed time. Usually available only on an open-space basis as an incentive to buyers. Sometimes owners can purchase bonus weeks from the resort as unsold developer-owned weeks.

Bonus Weeks

See “Bonus Time” above.

Bulk Banking

See “Block Banking” above.

Camping Membership

A club or membership to a resort group associated with camping. Many of the groups are affiliated with national organizations offering members camping locations in many states and other countries.

C.A.R.E. (Cooperative Association of Resort Exchangers)

A trade association established in 1985 comprised of resort developers, independent exchange companies, management companies, travel clubs and resort service companies. Members have timeshare resort inventory all over the world and provide customers with rentals by exchanging vacation inventory among themselves.


A document confirming the use of a specific week or a floating week at a resort for a specific period of time.

Check-In Date

The assigned date an interval week begins. The owner can check in any time on or after that date during the seven-day period, but late check-in does not extend the interval week beyond the scheduled check-out date. Weeks usually start on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Check-In Time

The earliest time an owner can check in to the resort on his/her check-in day.

Closing Costs

Costs and expenses associated with buying and selling a timeshare week. These may include fees for deed preparation, transfer of ownership, recording and administrative costs, and escrow fees.

Club/Trust Membership

Members of a club have the right to use a resort on a space available basis. Also called Trust Membership, Vacation Club, and Holiday Club. An owner buys into the membership and gets certain rights to use the resort or affiliated resorts. See “Vacation Club” below.

Commission Amounts

The fee charged by a reseller for selling a timeshare week, points, or membership. See “Sales Commission” below.


The constitution for the resort lays out the guidelines as to how the resort is managed and operated. It is a legal document which describes and regulates the relationships between the management company, trustee, developer, and owner.

Cooling Off Period

See “Rescission” below.

Day Use

Allows a timeshare owner to use a resort’s amenities even while not staying there.

Deed of Title

Legally‐binding document that specifies ownership, gives a legal description of property, and outlines the rights granted to the owner of the property.

Deeded Property

Regular property ownership with the deed recorded in the county where the property exists. The owner has full rights to sell, rent, bequeath, or give away the property.

Deeded Week

A week at a resort where the title is registered in the name of the owner. In other cases the week may be held in Trust or by a certificate.


Also called breach of a contract. This may include failure to pay your mortgage or maintenance fees.


The reduction or decrease in the value of an asset.


See “Banking” above.

Deposit Window

The period that owners may deposit unused vacation weeks with the resort or an exchange group. Usually 1-2 years.


The entity that develops, markets, and sells initial timeshare interests in a resort.

Developer’s Price

The current or market price a resort developer is asking for a timeshare week. It is the full retail price, including the developer’s advertising and marketing costs, etc.

Director of Sales (DOS)

A sales manager that is in charge of managing the sales process and all of the timeshare sales representatives in a sales office.


A legal term for a claim, lien, charge, or liability attached to and binding real property.

End-User Finance

When a loan is provided to enable a buyer to purchase timeshare property. Some finance agreements are personal loans (without security) while others are loans secured by the timeshare week or, occasionally, by a mortgage on the principle residence.

Every Other Year (EOY)

Biennial use of a timeshare week.


In Spanish, the registration and deeding process for a Deed of Title.


A third-party secured account used to hold and transfer funds from a buyer and seller related to closing of purchase and/or sale of a property. This may include any down payment and closing costs.

Estoppel Certificate

A certificate or letter from a resort describing the legal status of a timeshare property, including any rules or restrictions on use and any pending fees.


The process of trading a timeshare week or points at one resort for a timeshare week at another resort or another date at the same resort.

Exchange Confirmation

A document provided to both the owner and the resort stating that the exchange request has been fulfilled and accommodations have been arranged.

Exchange Company

Third-party organizations that exist to facilitate the exchange of banked timeshare weeks. They accept deposited timeshare weeks from interval owners/members to establish a pool of weeks from which other members may select a resort and vacation time of their choice, subject to an exchange value. There is usually a yearly fee to be a member of the exchange company and a fee to make the exchange. The two largest and most popular exchange companies in the world are RCI and II. See “Interval International (II)” and “Resort Condominiums International (RCI)” below.

Exchange Fee

The fee for making an exchange with an exchange company (see above).

Exchange Program

See “Exchange Company” above.

Exchange Request

An application or request by a timeshare owner to exchange his/her interval. S/he may request a different resort, destination or dates that may or may not be currently available.

Exchange Season

Exchange companies use a High, Medium, Low method to indicate demand for weeks at resorts. See “Season” below.

Exchange Values

See “Exchange Season” above.


See “Exchange” above.

Exit Program

A reduced cost package or trial program offered to potential customer who has avoided purchase.

Factoring Fee (“Factorial”)

Scottish term for a Management Company’s profit included in the Management Agreement.

Family of Resorts

A group of resorts with common ownership or a special relationship that allow for easier exchanges or shared benefits of ownership.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

A federal government agency that aims to protect consumers and promote competition by investigating and suing unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplaces.

First Day Incentive (FDI)

A gift offered to prospective buyers to entice them to attend a timeshare presentation.

Fee Simple

The owner holds a deed in his/her name and the ownership of the property can be bequeathed to heirs in perpetuity.


When a loan is provided to enable a buyer to purchase timeshare property.

Five Star Resort

Internal International’s highest designation for a resort. Five Star Resorts are usually top-of-the-line resorts.

Fixed Time

Guarantees a timeshare owner will be able to use the same week purchased every year.

Fixed Unit

The timeshare owner has rights to the same physical unit every year.

Fixed Week

A specific week during the calendar year that is usually identified by a number on a timeshare calendar.

Flex Change

See “Instant Exchange” below.

Float Week

An owned week that can be used any time during the calendar year, based on availability. Weeks are not fixed each year but owners can contact their resort and request a week of their choice, defined by season and demand. Some float weeks are only good during certain parts of the year or they might exclude certain weeks during the year.


See “Float Week” above.

Floating Unit vs Fixed Unit

See “Fixed Week” and “Float Week” above.

Floating Unit

See “Float Week” above.

Floating Week

See “Float Week” above.


A mini-vacation package where a resort offers an extremely discounted vacation as long as a potential customer agree to attend a timeshare sales presentation.


The action of taking possession of a mortgaged property when the owner fails to make mortgage payments. Timeshare foreclosures can be judicial or trustee foreclosures and some states allow for foreclosure even if mortgage payments are current if an owner defaults on maintenance fees or special assessments.

Fractional Ownership

A specific type of deeded vacation property ownership where usage and ownership are based on the division of property into shares. Usually associated with the luxury segment of vacation ownership, offering greater services and amenities.

Gold Crown Resort

Resort Condominium International’s highest rating for a resort.


The seller in a title transfer. The grantor is the person who owns the property and is in the process of granting all rights of ownership to the grantee.


The buyer in a title transfer. The grantee is the person who is receiving rights of ownership to a property from the grantor.

Green Week

See “Season” below.

Guest Certificate

A document provided by a resort or an exchange company that authorizes a guest to use a timeshare week instead of the owners.


The Mexican and Spanish name for the Tax Office.

Heat Merchant

Refers to a sales person who will say anything in order to make a sale, even if it is misleading or untrue.

Holiday Club

See “Vacation Club” below.

Holiday Ownership

Another term for Timeshare.

Home Owners Association (HOA)

Also called Property Owners Association (POA). The group of owners that administer the rules and regulations of a resort, through an elected board. Creation of an HOA is often required and regulated by state laws.

HOA Fees

Also called a maintenance or management fee. An annual or semi-annual charge by a resort for upkeep of the property and associated taxes, insurance, etc. These fees vary from resort to resort and with the type and size of the timeshare unit purchased.

Home Resort

The resort where a purchaser owns his or her interest.

In-House Reps

Also called IPC (Internal Personal Contacts). Sales staff that try to sell weeks to people staying at the resort or upgrades to current owners.

Internal Personal Contacts (IPC)

See “In-House Reps” above.

Interval International (II)

The second largest timeshare exchange company in the world.

Instant Exchange

A service that allows a timeshare owner to make an exchange on short notice. The exchange company may waive the fee or offer a week at a discount for moving their last minute inventory.

Internal Exchange

Internal Exchange refers to exchange of a week of vacation ownership within a particular resort network. See “Exchange” above.


Refers to a unit of usage time with respect to timeshare interests.

Interval Calendar

An annual calendar depicting the fifty-two or fifty-three weeks of each calendar year, showing starting days of Friday to Friday, Saturday to Saturday, and Sunday to Sunday, check in dates.

Interval Ownership

See “Timeshare” or “Vacation Ownership” below.

Joint Tenancy

A legal term for the form of ownership by two or more people purchase and share equal rights in a property. When one owner dies, his/her interest is automatically transferred to the other owner.

Kitchen Designations

The type of kitchen designated within a timeshare unit. This could range from no kitchen, partial kitchen, and full kitchen.

Land Title Office

A recording office where titles are registered.


A Lease is an arrangement that allows for property usage in localities where deeded ownership of vacation properties is not permitted by law. Ownership of the physical property is held by the resort developer or management company and timeshare purchasers are given a Right-To-Use (RTU, see below) the property for a specified period of time, usually from 20 to 99 years.

Leased Unit

A timeshare unit that is leased instead of being owned. See “Lease” above.

Leasehold Property

See “Lease” above.

Legal Description of Property

An exact description of the property filed with public records.


Administrative fees incurred by individual members of a points club. Levies can include any charges the resort management may impose for use of a particular week, or a one-time charge for major or unexpected costs. See “Special Assessment” below.

Licensed Real Estate Brokers

A licensed broker or brokerage office that can sell a timeshare week. Be sure to ask a listing broker to show you a competitive market analysis with recent comparables for your timeshare.

You can verify if a real estate broker is in fact licensed here.

Linked Agreement

Two agreements, appearing to be separate, which are actually linked. In Europe, this is often used as a method of getting around the law prohibiting the taking of deposits. The Timeshare Purchase Agreement, in which no deposit is shown, is linked with another which is the deposit.

Listing Agreement

A contract with a company to list your timeshare for sale. Consumers should only use a licensed real estate broker to list a timeshare for sale. See “Licensed Real Estate Broker” above.

Listing Price

The price that a timeshare is listed for sale.


The location of a timeshare resort.

Lock-Off Unit

A timeshare unit which has the ability to be divided to create two separate units each consisting of living and sleeping quarters or combined to form one large unit.


See “Lock-Off Unit” above.


Obtaining a higher price for a timeshare week than the developer is asking.

Maintenance Fee

An annual or semi-annual fee that timeshare owners are required to pay to cover resort upkeep costs, including daily management, utilities, taxes, insurance, furniture, etc.

Management Company

A company responsible for running the daily operations of a resort. This company is usually contracted by the Home Owners Association.

Management Fees

Fees paid by timeshare owners to cover costs of running the resort on a day-to-day basis. These fees are often, but not always, included in the Maintenance Fees.

Marketing Companies

Companies responsible for marketing and promoting timeshare sales for a resort developer.

Market Value

The value of a timeshare as determined by its current market of buyers.

Maximum Occupancy

The maximum number of persons a timeshare unit will accommodate.

Mini Vac

A mini-vacation package where a resort offers an extremely discounted vacation as long as a potential customer agree to attend a timeshare sales presentation. See “Fly-By” above.


Term used by timeshare salespeople to describe prospective buyers who attend sales presentations for the gift with no intention of making or considering a purchase.


The term for a lien on a timeshare property or on timeshare points. Sometimes this is for the value of the purchase (either in full or partial), but in some states (including Florida), the term mortgage can include maintenance fees and special assessments as well, all of which can be foreclosed either judicially or by trustee in the event of default. See “Foreclosure” above.

Nosebleed Drop

When a salesperson quickly drops the initial price to make a quick sale.

Not Qualified (NQ)

Potential purchasers who do not meet the buying qualifications outlined by a resort or developer. This could be based on age, employment status, marital status, or income.

Odd‐ or Even‐Year Usage

Timeshare ownership where the owner can use his or her property every other year. See “Biennial” above.

OPC (Off Premises Contact; Outside Public Contact)

A person who approaches potential buyers on the street and offer an incentive, such as a gift or tickets to a local attraction, to visit a timeshare sales presentation.

Organization for Timeshare in Europe (OTE)

A trade association in Europe composed of resort owners and developers.

Owner / Member

Anyone other than the Developer who has acquired a shared interest in a Resort.

Ownership and Ownership Types

Timeshares have different ownership types. The most common are:

Deeded: A purchaser receives a deed to a specific property and the timeshare is owned forever.

Right-to-Use: Ownership is for a certain time period agreed upon by the buyer and developer.

Points: An accrual program which allow an owners choice of when and where they vacation or for how long or short they stay.

Owner Referrals

When a current owner refers someone to the resort to attend a timeshare presentation and sales meeting, usually in exchange for incentives.

Project Director (PD)

The person in charge of running a timeshare resort.

Property Owners Association (POA)

See “Home Owner’s Association” above.


A currency or unit of measurement with no intrinsic value that represents timeshare ownership on a points system. Points are used to establish value for seasons, unit sizes, and resort locations. Accrual of points allows timeshare owners choice and control over when and where they vacation.

Points Based Week

See “Points” above.

Points Clubs

A membership that uses points (see above).

Points Conversion Program

Where timeshare owners pay a fee to convert their initial interval for the equivalent in points.


Incentives given to prospective purchasers to attend a timeshare sales presentation.

Primary Market

The first offering of a timeshare resort to the public.


The main party in a transaction, usually the seller.

Private Occupancy

The number of people who can sleep in a unit privately (i.e., with his/her own bed/bedroom).

Property Bonds

A similar system to points clubs for owning shares or bonds in a company owning properties.

Pubic Offering Statement (POS as differentiated from Point of Sale) / Public Report

A Public Offering Statement is a disclosure statement often required to be given to consumers to review prior to signing. This includes information about a particular resort and its developer and sometimes includes large initial Red print and mandated disclosure of the Right to Rescind the initial Contract.

Qualified Prospect

A potential purchaser who meets the buying qualifications outlined by a resort or developer, often based on income and age.


Three-month interval ownership with a rotating schedule. See “Fractional Ownership” above.

Quitclaim Deed

A Deed of Title that contains no warranties from the grantor to the grantee. The property is deeded “as is.”

Resort Condominiums International (RCI)

The largest timeshare exchange company in the world, owned by Wyndham/Cendant Corp.

Resort Development Organization (RDO)

European version of “ARDA” (see above).

Recourse Agreement

An agreement that requires a developer to pay off an outstanding loan if a timeshare purchaser defaults on a loan financed by a finance company (Canada and Europe). Most U.S. resorts and many European resorts provide their own loans for purchase.

Redemption Certificate

A travel-related premium paid to acquire the rights to goods and services at a business located in the area of the resort.

Red Week

See “Season” below.


Timeshare owners and resorts can usually rent out excess or unused weeks to third parties, however certain limitations or fees may apply.


Resorts may reclaim possession of a timeshare for failure to pay the underlying loan or maintenance fees. See “Foreclosure” above.


A timeshare ownership interest that is sold on the secondary market after it was originally purchased from the resort developer.

Resale Advertising and Marketing Companies

Companies that will list and market a timeshare for resale. Legitimate companies do not ask for upfront fees and make no guarantee that a timeshare can be sold for value.

Resale Prices

Timeshares often hold negative value, so a resale price can be as low as $ 0 or $1.


The time period given to a purchaser following signing of a timeshare purchase agreement, during which s/he may cancel the purchase for a full refund without penalty. Governed by U.S. state law or foreign government law.

Rescission Rights

See “Rescission” above.

Reserve Accounts

Accounts maintained by the HOA or POA to set aside a portion of owner maintenance and/or management fees as a reserve in case of unforeseen large expenditures.

Reserve Price

A minimum acceptable selling price set by an owner if a timeshare goes to auction. If the reserve price is not met, the owner is under no obligation to sell the timeshare.

Resort Directory

A list of resorts available for members to exchange banked weeks or points.

Resort Ratings

A system designed to rate and compare the quality of resorts by accounting for predetermined criteria such as location, amenities, etc. The primary ratings agencies are Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II) (see above).

Resort of International Distinction

See “Resort Ratings” above.

Right To Use (RTU)

A timeshare owner’s use and occupancy rights of a property for a designated period of time without an ownership or real estate interest. This is often utilized as a loophole in countries where deeded timeshares are not allowed.

Sales Commissions

Fees paid to secondary market timeshare resale companies to sell an unwanted timeshare. These can be calculated by a percentage of the final sales price or a flat fee. Consumers should be especially cautious of any fees requested up front—licensed brokers will never ask for up-front fees, they collect fees out of escrow once a deal has been completed.

Sales Inspection Visit (SIV)

Similar to a “Fly-By” or “Mini Vac” above. When prospective buyers are offered a low-cost stay at a resort on the condition they attend a sales presentation to entice them to purchase a timeshare at the given property.

Special Performance Incentive Fund (SPIFF)

An industry term for a bonus paid to a timeshare salesperson after making a sale, usually in addition to his/her general commission.


Time periods designated throughout the year in relation to value for exchanging weeks or points:

Resort Condominiums International:

Red: High Demand

White: Mid Demand

Blue: Low Demand

Interval International:

Red: High Demand

Amber: Mid Demand

Green: Low Demand

Shares in a Company

Some resorts issue shares in the company coupled with a right to use agreement (see above) rather than transferring individual unit ownership.

Sinking Fund

A portion of a resort’s maintenance and/or management fees that is allocated to ensure the major structures are kept in good or “like new” condition.

Space Banking

When a timeshare owner banks or deposits unused weeks with an exchange company in order to trade for another week. See “Banking” above.

Special Assessment

A fee in addition to regular maintenance or management fees that is assessed by a resort to cover major expenses or unexpected refurbishment; often used after a natural disaster.

Standard Exchange

A regular exchange with an exchange company.

TATOC (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees)

Headquartered in Manchester, UK.

TCPAA (Timeshare Consumer Protection Alerts and Advisories)

An organization that provides resources for timeshare owners.

Tenancy in Common

Joint ownership of property without a right of survivorship. If one owner dies, his/her share is distributed according to his/her will, rather than automatically transferring to the other owner as is the case with a Joint Tenancy (see above).

Time Division

A system of classifying the value of an interval week typically based upon season. See “Season” above.


The purchase of a right to use or recurring property interest at a resort. Also called Vacation Ownership, Holiday Ownership, Multi Ownership, Interval Ownership or Group Ownership.

Timeshare Cancellation

Cancelling a valid timeshare contract after the rescission period has passed. This requires a resort to release a timeshare owner from his/her legal obligations under the original purchase agreement.

Timeshare Divestment

A term of art for a cancelled timeshare contract, indicating that the timeshare investment has been divested. See “Timeshare Cancellation” above.

Timeshare Fraud

There is a large danger for timeshare fraud on the secondary market. See this press briefing from the FTC (see above) announcing a multinational effort of 191 actions to stop fraudulent organizations from preying on timeshare owners.

Timeshare Lease

See “Lease” above.

Timeshare Mortgage

See “Mortgage” above.

Timeshare Resale

The sale of a timeshare on the secondary market, usually by the existing owner for a lesser value than the original purchase price. (If any value even exists—check on eBay: many timeshares are NOT selling for $1).

Timeshare Sales Contract

A sales contract used to sell a timeshare.


Legal proof of ownership of a property. This must be recorded with the local government.

Title Insurance

Insurance that protects a purchaser’s ownership of a property interest.

Trading Power

The relative value of a timeshare interval week on the trade market for exchange.


The selling, donating, bequeathing, or other conveyance of property to a new owner.

Trial membership

Sometimes called a sampler program. An incentive offered to potential timeshare purchasers to experience a resort’s amenities for a short period of time.


A financial institution or group who hold timeshare properties as a security for owners in case a resort developer does not succeed financially.

Unit Size

The size of a timeshare unit. Usually identified as studio/efficiency, which is similar to standard hotel accommodations, or 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms, which are similar to condominiums or hotel suites with designated living and sleeping areas.

Up Front Fees

Up-Front fees are fees charged on the secondary timeshare market to list, advertise, sell, rent, or cancel a timeshare contract. They can be as high as thousands of dollars (to extremely questionable companies charging as high as $20,000 or $30,000 to timeshare owners trapped in $100,000-$250,000 mortgages) and do not guarantee any successful outcome. Consumers should be especially weary of any company who charges an upfront fee, as they are often unrecoverable.


Allowing a timeshare owner to trade deposited weeks or points for a more desirable season or larger unit than the value of his/her initial deposit.

Upgrade Fee

A fee paid to effect an upgrade.

Use Type

The different uses or interests a timeshare can have. See “Biennial,” “Float Week,” and “Fixed Week” above.

Value Per Guest (VPG)

A measure of how a sales team is performing. Generally, it is the dollar volume divided by the number of guests.

Vacation Club

Also called a Holiday Club or Travel Club. This may refer to a type of timeshare or a membership involving use or access to multiple resorts, along with potential discounts on cruises, restaurants, golf, attractions, etc. These clubs are generally not covered by timeshare laws.

Vacation Ownership

See “Timeshare” above.

Warranty Deed

A specific kind of deed that grants rights of ownership to a buyer but also contains additional promises or warranties.

Week Fifty-Three (Week 53)

Roughly every seven years, a year will have fifty-three weeks instead of the normal fifty-two. This extra week is generally reserved for the exclusive use of a resort developer or other important resort member.

Week Number

The specific time period of a timeshare week. Weeks are usually numbered 1-52 to coincide with the week of a given year. See “Interval Week” above.

White Week

See “Season” above.