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A second home or condo has been called the ultimate discretionary purchase -- something that many people would like to have but no one needs. People who do own a place at the beach, the lake or in the mountains often are quick to express frustration at not being able to spend more time there. It hardly makes sense to have the expense of a mortgage, upkeep, insurance and taxes for a place you don't use more than a couple of weeks a year.

What is a Fractional Ownership?
Do you like the idea of owning a vacation condo, but don’t want the burden and cost of repairs and upkeep? Do you love the services of a luxury hotel but dislike living out of your suitcase? You’re not alone. A new breed of vacation condo ownership, called "fractional ownership," is becoming increasingly popular with busy professionals looking to maximize their family vacation time.

Owners purchase a deeded share in a condo (usually 1/4 to 1/13) that gives them a certain number of weeks per year at the property and use of all amenities. By only paying for the time you use, fractional ownership can be a much more cost-effective way to own your vacation condo.

Fractional ownership offers individuals the opportunity to buy partial ownership of a really nice place in a resort area. We're talking chalets with walk-out skiing in the Rockies, oceanfront houses or condos, or island properties in the Caribbean and Europe, often with resort-style amenities including on-site restaurants, fitness clubs, golf courses and a concierge service.


Fractional, But Not Timeshare
If it sounds a lot like a time share, that's because there are similarities. The more fractions that are sold, the more it resembles a time share. Both can be bought as deeded properties (some time shares are now sold as club memberships instead of time in a specific unit), and can be rented out, shared with family and friends, sold or left to someone in a will.

Fractionals differ greatly from the old-style timeshares. The primary differences are that fractionals offer:
. deeded property, with the same rights as any other real estate purchase
. greater chance of property appreciation
. a longer amount of time on property (from 4-13 weeks)
. a luxury level of furnishings, services and amenities

Like time shares or any kind of resort property, there are small players and big guns in the business. If you're in love with one locale and could see yourself going back to the same place over and over, a small company could be just the ticket. If you'd like more flexibility, some major corporations such as Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons, Disney and Marriott also are in the business. All of them have resorts in various parts of the country, and even in the Caribbean and Europe, with the opportunity to swap time at other destinations.

Of course, all of the above perks add up to another major difference: price. The cost of fractional property is quite a bit higher than that of a typical timeshare, though still much less expensive than whole ownership of a condo in the same location.

Exchange Weeks & Travel the World
Trading weeks is a great concept from the timeshare days that hasn’t been abandoned but instead greatly improved upon. With four or more weeks to enjoy, owners can choose to spend part of their time at a different property in another part of the country — or the world.

Most fractional properties participate in an exchange program that gives owners the ability to reserve time with other properties that have a similar level of luxury and service.

Service Sets Fractionals Apart
Personal service is an area where fractional properties clearly outshine traditional condo ownership. When it comes right down to it, for most people today time is their most valuable commodity. Who wants to waste it cleaning, unpacking, grocery shopping and mowing the lawn?

There are a couple of drawbacks to not owning the whole condo, of course. If you have a passion for interior decorating or enjoy taking unplanned, last-minute vacations, you may be unhappy with the limits of fractional ownership. However, fractional properties are one of the fastest-growing segments of the real estate industry, so there are clearly many who find the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

For More Info Regarding Fractional Ownership
Call David at 409-515-1412
or Email David@CondosofGalveston.com

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