So you've decided fractional property ownership is for you. You realize that owning a second home is not as economical or practical as you once thought because you only use it a fraction of the year. You want the best, most desirable location without having to worry about upkeep or finding renters when you are not using the property. But before you buy, you still have some burning questions.

You understand the basics of Fractional Ownership, but still want to know…

Can we lend out this vacation home the same way we would if we were the sole owners? Yes. You can use your weeks however you wish. Handing the keys over to business colleagues, friends or family to use a portion of your reserved time is acceptable. However, renting out the unit when you are not using it is usually not permitted. Most luxury fractional companies frown upon this because they feel strangers do not take care of the property as well as personal guests do. Remember, you are responsible for any damages to the property during your weeks of use.

We normally go away for one or two months a year. How difficult will it be to reserve the vacation time we desire? This amount of vacation time is expected with luxury fractional ownership. For properties with lower owner-to-property ratios, it is relatively easy to reserve the home whenever you want it. The only problem that may occur is trying to reserve the home for multiple weeks in a row, especially during prime seasonal vacation times. Always check the property reservation and usage plans to make sure that it fits your travel needs.

Will I be able to reserve the same weeks each year? Not necessarily. Holidays and other highly desired seasonal weeks are usually on a rotating schedule so all owners can have equal access to the property. Some fractional properties sell the fractions in fixed weeks, so that you always stay for the same weeks each year, but this structure is the exception rather than the rule.

We already used up our allotted weeks but want to spend extra time here. Can we do that without paying more? Yes. There will always often be a few extra weeks each year when no one is using the property. This is particularly true if you want to visit during the low season. Owners are encouraged to enjoy the home rather than leave it unoccupied. Simply call the management company for availability.

I happen to have a few days next month to get away, but they are in the middle of the week. Are we limited to checking in and out only on the weekends? Usually arrival and departure times are flexible. Do make sure to call ahead, especially to check for availability if the days you want to stay are not part of the original schedule.

I signed up for two weeks that I can no longer use. Can I exchange weeks with the other owners? Absolutely. Vacation needs change all the time and owners are quite flexible about exchanges. Call the property management company and let them take care of the details for you.

Packing the same sporting equipment in the car every time we want to get away is such a hassle. Can we safely and securely store personal items for future use? Yes. Almost all luxury fractional properties have storage facilities for your convenience.

We love this location, but what if we want to vacation somewhere else next year? If your ownership is part of a private residence club, you will have access to an exchange program with other luxury fractionals. If a change of scenery is important to you and you are not positive the location you are looking at is part of a luxury fractional exchange network, make inquires before signing any paperwork.

Our extended family will be visiting. Can we reserve more than one property at the same time to accommodate everyone? Luxury fractional homes are spacious and can accommodate larger families as it is. The answer to this can vary from location to location. It is all about availability. If your ownership is part of a private residence club, the answer is definitely yes as long as property is available at that time.

How many owners can purchase the same unit? Be sure to ask this because the ratio varies and can be anywhere from 3 to 12 owners per property. Keep this in mind: the fewer the owners, the more vacation time available to each party. Most luxury fractional companies will allow the same owner to purchase more than one share of the property. For instance if the property is sold in 1/8 shares, you could buy two shares so that you would own a ¼ share.

FINANCIAL MATTERS

Is it difficult to find financing for this type of property? No. Fractional Ownership is on the rise all around the world. Banks are aware of this and treat financing like buying a second home. Read this article on fractional mortgages for more information.

In a couple of years, if I realize I am not using the property as much as I thought I would, can I sell it? You own a piece of the real estate and can sell if you so choose, just like the ownership of any other real estate. As a courtesy, you could approach the other fractional owners first to see if they want an extra share before putting it on the market. The property management company may also have a facility in place to help you sell your fraction.

Since this is an investment, can I expect it to appreciate in value? The value of the property will be subject to the fluctuation of the real estate market. However, buying a meticulously maintained property in a covetable location is always a sound investment over the long term.

If I am buying a quarter of a property, should I expect the price tag to reflect this ratio? A savvy seller will mark up each fractional share. To be sure that you are getting the best possible deal, you will need to look at the regular sale value of a comparable property with similar amenities (golf course near property, swimming pool, etc.) and weigh it against the total cost of the fractional property you are interested in. The sum of the fractions will nearly always be more than the price for one whole ownership - this reflects supply and demand and also reflects the additional services that a luxury fractional or private residence club provides.

How much will I be paying in annual fees? What do these fees cover? Annual fees will vary from property to property as will the amenities and services. Be sure to ask what is covered and which amenities cost extra at your specific location.

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