Real estate ‘by the slice’

Frustrated sellers turn to fractional ownership for quick relief

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Can't find a buyer for your luxurious beachfront villa? Maybe you could sell it by the slice. That's an evolving strategy among homeowners in resort areas who have given up on finding a buyer in the usual way and are turning to the concept of fractional ownership. "Who wouldn't want to live in a $3 million house for four weeks a year for $300,000 -- and own it?" asks Evelyn Bernet, an agent with Wagner Realty in Sarasota, Fla., who recently began marketing a home on nearby Anna Maria Island through fractional ownership. Bernet said the owner (fellow agent and co-lister Suzanne Van Gundy) had tried to sell the fully furnished two-bedroom, three-bath home for $3.25 million for more than a year. Recently, however, they decided to go the fractional route, and are asking $169,000 for a two-week slice of the beachfront house, $299,000 for four weeks, etc. This type of arrangement isn't a timeshare. In simplest terms, timeshares sell the right to a certain amount of usag...