Timeshare property transfer and conveyancing

Are you thinking about buying timeshare property? Do you already have timeshare that you now want to sell? In either scenario, it’s important to consult your timeshare property transfer and conveyancing lawyer for help with the process.

Timeshare – also known as shared holiday ownership – originated after the Second World War and has since become an international phenomenon, with Kiwis ranking high in timeshare ownership rates.

Timeshare is often marketed as a way to put holiday home ‘ownership’ within the reach of people who cannot afford to buy a second home or may not want to invest so much money in a holiday property that lies unused for most of the year.

The timeshare property model

Timeshare is a property with a particular form of ownership or use rights, where you, and many other parties, buy the right to use a holiday unit for specific period of time (typically one week or more) at a holiday resort property. A resort management company looks after the management and upkeep of the unit for you, and, because you pool those expenses with all the other timeshare owners, the annual levy you pay for this is still cheaper than trying to look after your individual unit yourself.

With some timeshares, you buy the right to use your unit at the same time each year, while others have ‘floating’ options, where you can change your booking period from year to year. Some timeshares give you the right to use the property for a specific number of years, while others give you the right to use it in perpetuity.

Owners of certain timeshares can also, through your own timeshare company, become members of timeshare exchange companies like RCI (Resorts Condominium International) or Interval International, enabling you to swap your booking, subject to availability, for one in another resort, either locally or overseas.

Timeshare is not a property investment

Probably the most important thing to remember if you’re considering buying timeshare is that it is unwise to think of timeshare as a property investment. While it’s certainly an investment in vacation time and vacation options (if you’re part of an exchange facility), it’s definitely not a property investment. So make sure you’re going into it for the right reason.

The timeshare market is pretty much always a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market, i.e. you’re not buying in the hope of making money from it further down the line. If you’re OK with that and you buy into the right resort property, then timeshare can provide you with many happy and relatively hassle-free holidays.

Sound advice when buying timeshare

Our advice when buying timeshare is to always do your research and do not allow yourself to be unduly pressured by the sophisticated and often high-pressure sales tactics used to sell timeshare – don’t ever let yourself be swayed by the ‘prizes’ on offer, such as free or heavily discounted stays at fancy resorts during the ‘sales-pitch weekend’.

Before you buy, get as much information as possible about the property and the timeshare company itself, and the financial implications of the deal. Make sure the timeshare company is a member of the New Zealand Holiday Ownership Council, which requires its members to comply with certain codes of ethics and practice. Try to find others who already own timeshare at the same resort and talk to them about the place.

Take time to think about everything before you make any decision – and never, ever sign anything before you’ve talked with your timeshare property transfer and conveyancing lawyer and got them to go over the sales contract with you.

Selling timeshare

So, you’ve bought timeshare at some or other stage, but in the interim your circumstances have changed or perhaps the timeshare holiday arrangement is simply no longer your cup of tea. What are your options? After all, you likely still have obligations to the timeshare in the form of the usual annual levy.

Again, it’s important to remember that, as mentioned above, timeshare is not a property investment, and the second-hand timeshare market is always a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market.

However, there are a number of options available to you for disposing of your timeshare, subject to the rules governing your specific timeshare property and contract conditions. It’s therefore important to discuss your particular situation with your timeshare property transfer and conveyancing lawyer.

If you go with the option to sell your timeshare, then you’ll need to enter into an Agreement for Sale and Purchase of Property in order to complete the transfer of ownership. This process is similar to the usual conveyancing process related to property in New Zealand, so you’ll need the services of your conveyancing lawyer.

For more information about the requirements to transfer timeshare property, or for any advice about buying or selling timeshare, please contact your conveyancing lawyer at your local Quay Law.