Timeshare properties are offered to consumers in two different forms: deeded and non-deeded. Deeded timeshare requires that you purchase ownership interest in a piece of residential real estate property. Nondeeded timeshare requires owners to purchase a club membership, license or lease that gives them access to a property for a specific amount of weeks each year for a predetermined number of years.
How much you pay depends on how many weeks you want to spend in your timeshare property, as well as the time of year during which you want to use it. Choose the season heaviest for tourism in any region, and you're going to pay more for the privilege of using your timeshare property. And yet, a well-managed timeshare property offers owners the flexibility of swapping weeks according to their schedules, the option of dining in their own home while on vacation (a money-saver), and a more comfortable, relaxed atmosphere for their vacations (especially if children are present).
The vast majority of timeshares in the United States are deeded. This is not the case in the rest of the world. Mexico for example has no deeded timeshares because non-Mexican citizens cannot own real estate in Mexico. In Europe, acquisition of a nondeeded timeshare has also gained a bigger popularity.
One of the greatest concerns buyers are having is "what happens if the resort goes bankrupt?" For deeded properties that would be like asking "what happens if the contractor who built your house goes bankrupt?" If the contractor goes bankrupt it would have no effect on your home ownership, it is just his business that went bankrupt. You still own your house.
Deeded timeshare developments are exactly the same as any condominium project - the builder constructs the condos, the condo owners' association runs the project and a management company hired by the association manages the day to day procedures and financial affairs such as the collection of HOA fees and payment of bills.
It is true that the association can run short of enough money to pay the bills, but that doesn't result in the individual owner losing ownership, it results in a special assessment that is shared by all owners, and the resort goes on as usual.
However in case of the nondeeded timeshare, your ownership which is really a lease, can be lost if the company running the resort affairs goes under. This has happened, although fortunately as a percentage of total non-deeded resorts, the number is pretty small.
So the decision has to be made by the purchaser, is owning a timeshare in the region of the world where you like to vacation, even though you own a nondeeded timeshare, worth the risk? The risk is pretty small and most buyers say yes, but it is good to know beforehand the realities of the situation. Some buyers prefer to buy deeded properties only in the United States, and if they wish to travel elsewhere, use the services of an exchange company.
Consumers who invest in reputable timeshare properties literally have the world at their fingertips; they enjoy the option of trading out their timeshare for other properties in every corner of the world.