In my continuing series about strata property, Strata Mondays, I answer a different question about condos, townhouses and other strata property in Victoria, Sooke, and British Columbia. Make sure you subscribe via RSS or E-mail to get each new post.
Q. What’s the difference between fractional ownership and timeshare?
A. When most people think of timeshares, they immediately conjure up images of being hauled into a room full of other unsuspecting tourists for a 90-minute hard-sell presentation in exchange for a free dinner or some other activity. Timeshares are popular in many resort destinations around the world, giving people an option to stay in a resort property for several days out of the year. With timeshare, you don’t actually own anything other than a right to occupy the property. Selling a timeshare can be difficult, and prices may not be related to the general market price of similar properties. Rules for selling timeshares are different than that of selling real estate, so engaging a real estate agent to market the timeshare may be impossible.
Fractional ownership is just that. You own a fraction of the property, independent of and along with other owners. Unlike timeshare, your name is registered on title, and you can freely sell your property just like any other piece of real estate in British Columbia. For recreational property, this makes great sense, since you’ll likely only use the property a few weeks out of the year. Why pay the big price and then have it sit empty the rest of the year?
Use of the property is governed by an agreement between the owners which specifies which owners will have use of the property for which weeks of the year. Often, there is a rotation system in place, which ensures that no single owner will have exclusive rights to the peak season weeks. There is typically a management company and staff on site to handle the upkeep and maintenance of the property on behalf of the owners. In many cases, you can rent out your property if you won’t use all of the weeks of your share.
As with any real estate purchase, it would be well worth your while to engage an experienced REALTOR® to guide you through the process, as well as having a qualified real estate lawyer go over the legal details of the fractional ownership arrangement.
I currently hold the listing for a full ownership unit at Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina – and can also arrange quarter and eighth shares, too.
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