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24 February 2022

Buying & selling timeshares: what you need to know

Interested in buying or offloading a timeshare? Here’s your guide.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

buying a timeshare

What is a timeshare?

In principle, a timeshare is a property with divided ownership. The joint owners of the property have the right to use the property as a holiday home under a time-sharing agreement.

Timeshares, because of their nature, are normally located in popular holiday destinations. The people who own timeshares each have limited access to the property, allowing each member to enjoy using the property.

Timeshares are more permanent than many other holiday destinations and offer their owners the freedom of not having to stay in a hotel or rented accommodation when they go away.

How do timeshares work?

There are several different ways in which timeshares can run. Some timeshares offer flexibility in when you can stay there, while some are more fixed. Some types of timeshares are:

  • Fixed week timeshares (where you have the same week each year)
  • Floating timeshares (where your time changes from year to year)
  • Right-to-use timeshares (these are leased rather than part-owned).


Essentially, timeshare ownership falls into deeded and leased ownership. If you buy a deeded timeshare, you will part own the property. In this case, you are also able to rent and sell your share. Owners are also responsible for paying any mortgage and maintenance fees are listed in the contract.  

With leased ownership, you do not actually own part of the property. Ownership is held by a company or individual. Like with deeded ownership, you are able to use it for a specific period of time every year. 

With deeded and leased timeshares, you usually own or lease the property for a set amount of years. It’s important to do your research before buying a timeshare to make sure it works in a way that suits you and your friends/family. 

What should you consider before you buy a timeshare?

Before you invest in a timeshare, it’s important to think about exactly what you want from one. Most timeshares don’t come with the option of having more than one place to stay, so you need to be sure the timeshare you choose is in the right place for you. 

As mentioned above, there are often maintenance fees and mortgage payments that you need to pay every year to keep using your timeshare. Not paying them will mean your access to the timeshare will be lost. These fees should be taken into account before you purchase your timeshare. 

Further, buying a timeshare or property abroad is different to buying one in the UK; there are several factors to consider. Below are some of the recommendations that the UK government makes for buying property abroad:

  • Research and follow local laws in the country your property is in
  • Check that all utilities (water, sewage, and electricity) are connected and in use
  • Talk to other owners in the area to establish if there are any issues 
  • Always get written confirmation of what has been agreed in any negotiations.


You should also be aware of additional costs that may be incurred during the process of your purchase. As is the case when buying a property in the UK, there are several costs in addition to the purchase itself. These may include:

  • Fees for a financial advisor 
  • International bank transfer fees
  • Fees for a surveyor 
  • Legal fees.

How can Woodcock Notary Public help you?

As you’ve read already, there’s a lot of administration associated with timeshares. Whether you’re buying or selling one, it’s important you get the legal side of things in order. 

Woodcock Notary Public has experience in both offering people expert advice and helping them through the process of timeshare buying and selling. Below are some of the services we offer:

  • Authenticating identities
  • Notarising documents
  • Couriering documents 
  • Representations and correspondence with timeshare company
  • Consultations to release client from timeshare obligations
  • Communications with relevant stakeholders to ensure that documents are produced and executed in the most secure way.


Our contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.

Buying and selling timeshares in Florida

Florida is one of the most popular places in the US to invest in timeshares. Many British people are attracted to the famous beaches, nearby resorts, and warm temperatures. However, though it is popular, we recommend that you familiarise yourself with the rules of timeshare buying before you invest.

As mentioned above, the nature of your timeshare investment will fall into either shared deeded ownership, or shared leased ownership. With the former, you actually own a small chunk of the property. The percentage of ownership depends on how much time you have purchased. Under leased ownership, your use of the property is leased and typically expires after a certain time. Before you come to buy your timeshare, it’s important to pick the arrangement that best suits you. It’s usually best to talk this through with a lawyer before your purchase. 

It can be quite difficult to sell a timeshare. There is often significantly more supply than there is demand. For this reason, it’s best to be sure you will use your timeshare consistently. However, if you do want to sell your timeshare, there are several ways you can do it. Some of the methods are:

  • List your timeshare on an online resale website
  • List your timeshare as a giveaway online
  • Speak to the developers you bought the timeshare from to discuss ending your use.

Cancelling your timeshare purchase

In the case of Florida, you have what’s known as a ‘right to cancel’ if you buy a timeshare and then have a change of heart. You can cancel your timeshare contract up to 10 days after your initial purchase. Once you inform the seller in writing, they must refund you the full amount of payments within 20 days. 

It is recommended that, at each stage of your transfer sale or purchase, you consult a legal professional.

READY FOR ASSISTANCE?

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email info@woodcocknotarypublic.com.

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email info@woodcocknotarypublic.com.