Timesharing, a users perspective.

Do you own a World Mark timeshare.. if so check this site:http://www.wmowners.com/

IF you own at any time share that exchanges with RCI check out this site http://www.tug2.net/

If you Own at any Fairfield/Wyndham check out this site.. http://www.wyndhamowners.org/  and on TUG2.Net site in the forums.

2-5-01 (be sure to check updates at bottom of page)
ou may have heard about timesharing before. You get a vacation offer in the mail “3 days 2 nights in Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach or Florida, all for only $49.00”  Not only do you get the 2 nights, you might get a dinner coupon worth $50.00 at a nice restaurant and in some offers additional $40.00 gas money. All for only “90 minutes” of you and the wife’s time to look at a presentation about our fine resort. Well, let me tell you, I have taken advantage several times of these great offers. Several times I have said NO, NO, NO, No, till I was blue in the face.

But I can tell you timeshare is great. In July 01 we will be going to Williamsburg Va. to visit friends and see some history. We will be staying in a 3 bedroom 1350+ sq ft luxury condo with 3 outdoor swimming pools 2 hot tubs, full kitchen, Jacuzzi, big screen tv, Washer/ Dryer and much more all for only $350.00 for the week. Yes, I said only $350.00 the entire week.

The concept is simple. You buy a “week” at one resort but you can trade it to stay at another resort in a different area or different county if you want. You pay a maintenance fee for each week you own to your original resort. Most resorts in Myrtle Beach area run from $300-500 per week. You only pay the maintenance fee once a year. There are thousands of resorts worldwide. Places like Hawaii, Mexico, Greece, Florida and my favorite Virginia Beach, VA.,  just to name a few. The trick is to (1.) Buy somewhere you like to go to every year or (2.) buy at a resort that has good trading power with low up front cost along with low maintenance fee’s. With this timeshare you can go somewhere different every year. I have owned my South African timeshare “week”  for 3 years now. The first year (’99)we went to Atlantic Beach NC. (PepperTree Resort at Atlantic Beach) Last year(“00) we did “Disney” and stayed in Lake Buena Vista at Cypress Pointe Grande Villas  located less than a mile from Disney Downtown area. This year (’01) we are going to Historic Williamsburg.  Next year we may try something in NC mountains during summer or Myrtle Beach or Aruba or Cancun. The possibilities are endless.

Simple Sounding, but somewhat hard to do. Luckily, I found a site on the net several years ago called “Timeshare Users Group”  TUG for short. Through “TUG” and the great BBS’s they have, I was able to figure out what makes for a good “cheap” resort to own at and some of the insiders tips for getting great exchanges through RCI (Resorts Condo International). RCI is the largest Resort exchange company in the world. They manage all the trades I and hundreds more request and complete from one resort to another.

One “great trader” resort I found is called Dikhololo.  Another one is called Mount Amanzi. There are more, but I was most familiar with these two. Both are  in South Africa, both are great traders with low yearly maintenance fees. There are several brokers selling weeks in South Africa some are located state side and other are in SA. Best place to find out about the different brokers on on TUG web site. Once you join the BBS you can go into the south Africa section and search on brokers.

What makes DIK or Mt A. such a great buy??  First was the price. Most weeks in a place like Hilton Head or Florida can cost $10-15,000.00+ for a prime red week. (Prime means high time, like summer in Myrtle Beach or Feb. in Colorado ski areas.) My South Africa week cost a total of $2300.00. (they can be gotten for $500-700 a week now!)  Second, the low maintenance fees. Dik and other South Africa resorts have low maintenance fees due a strong US dollar. The yearly maintenance fees run $115-$160.00. Third, this resort has great exchange power.  Exchange power is relative to your home resort. If your “home” resort is popular (ie, Hilton Head, Hawaii, Myrtle Beach) you can get better exchanges due to the fact that others exchangers want to trade into your area. South Africa is very popular with Europeans wanting to experience the game land or bushvel experience as they say in SA.  I have heard  of other SA owners getting exchanges into Hawaii, Cancun, St. Marteen and other great resort areas world wide.

You can find other low cost timeshare units in places like Florida and Mexico. You have to be careful of buying in Mexico. Why you ask? Most Mexican resorts operate on a ‘right to use” plan the runs for 15-25 years. After the time is up the unit goes back to the developer. Most resorts state side and in other area’s have the phrase “use of property is in perpetuity”. That means it yours until you sell the unit or don’t pay the maintenance fees and the unit is foreclosed on. This is real property, you can will to your kids sell it or just use the week every year having some great vacations along the way.

The concept of timesharing is a lot like computer usage in the early days. Most people or company’s could not afford to buy or did not have a need for a computer on a full time basis. So, companies would buy a “share” of the computing time. In this way its more affordable. Timeshare is very similar. You get to spend a week at a luxurious resort but not have to pay for the other 51 weeks of the year you are not there. Timesharing has come a long way in the past 10 years. You how have big name players entering the arena like DisneyEmbassy,FairfieldMarriottRamada and more are getting into timeshare all the time. The resort themselves are getting larger and more upscale. Its nice to check in and have all the service of a 5 star hotel your entire stay. One of the great features of becoming a TUG member (cost only 15.00 per year.) is a database of resorts rankings. (click here to see actual reviews.) Here can read comments from others Timeshare traders whom may have stayed at a resort you are think about trading into or maybe somewhere you would like to trade into in the future.

Another Great resource: 
I also subscribe to TimeShare Today. This 6 issue yearly magazine gives up to date info on the timeshare trends, great resort focus articles and a large classifieds ad section if you are looking to buy more weeks or your first week. I strongly recommend getting a year subscription. You can get a trail subscription for only $10.00. This will get you 3 issues, access to the online “subscribers only gateway” and lots of great info.
If you do take the trial or a full subscription please put my name as the person that referred you. (Carl Newton)
click here to subscribe. This is a secure link.

The options on both TUG and in TimeShare Today magazine are by people just like you and me. You get the good, bad and otherwise about these resorts.  Want to know the best resorts in the world? You can find out on TUG. To see a listing of the Top Ten Resorts in the world click here.  I appreciate these fine reports and make sure I submit mine when returning from my vacation.  RCI also sends me a report card of sorts to fill out. This is there way of making sure a “Gold Crown*” resort is living up to “GC” standards.

All in all, I believe timeshare is a great way to vacation at a low cost. If only once a year you get to pretend you are a millionaire and live the life of the rich and famous. I could get used to that.  The resorts are luxurious, with most having activities planned for every day making a great vacation as simple as going to a class, sitting on the beach, heading to the golf course or just doing nothing at all.. I hope you will be intrigued to find out more about this great opportunity. Visit the sites I have links to and call me is you want to talk about timesharing.  Life is short, so live it to the fullest for the least amount of money out of pocket.

Hope to see you at the beach, the golf course or ski slopes some day.

peace, Carl

2.5-01                  *Gold Crown Resorts are equivalent to 5 star hotels

(Update 7-6-01. I found a really good article on Timeshare, how it started how it works and more.  Click here to see the entire page. Be sure to close the window that pops up when you are finished reading this great article.)

(update Nov 2002) Bought a another week of South African timeshare for a total cost of $637.00 that included the week, maintenance fees and 10 yrs of RCI membership. I have already traded it for a week at Mossy Creek at Sugar Mountain in Jan 04 in a 3 bd rm. condo unit. (My SA week is only a 1 bd rm white  (off season) week). Go figure…

(updated 9-30-03) This year we stayed for a older resort on the Gulf coast at Englewood. The resort “Sea Oats Beach Club” was a great place to spend the week. We had a two bedroom unit overlooking the gulf with heated Pool and hot tub all out our rear view.  Located below Sarasota, above Naples we had a great location to do none thing all week. (I did get out to play golf once or twice) This place was older but in great shape and right on the beach. We did not have to deal with the “red tide” thing at all. All in all it was a great “no stress” week at the beach.

In Jan 04 we are heading up to Sugar Mt for a week of snow and ski at the Mossy Creek Resort near the lodge at Sugar. (see above) Its a three bedroom unit with hot tub and fireplace. Once again another great trade with a SA timeshare unit.
update 3-09 the sugar mtn trip was a good one.. the mossy creek units area actually 3,000 sf houses on pedestals. it snowed every other day.. good time..

Update 3-09
It been a while since updating this page.. We still enjoy the timeshare we own and have added another one couple years ago. It the Sands Beach Club in Myrtle Beach SC.. 2 bedroom unit on the second floor and ocean front. its a great place to go for sure. We own a week 37 which is mid sept time frame.. Unfortunately we are not able to use this as school schedules have changed for us now that one is in high school.

The south african unit are not getting the great trades like before.. RCI merged all the international exchange units to one and the trade values dimished.. we still get good trade in Orlando, Williamsburg, Branson area as they are still building and selling timeshares..

Last Sept 08 we went back to Orange Lake County Club resort in Orlando staying in the famed West Village on the Arnold Palmer designed Legends Golf Course.. We got a 3 bed room unit and had friends from Virginia Beach join us for the week. The building are 6 stories tall with 7 units per floor. Last time we stayed there was work going on a new section called River Landing.. It has 4 building like the west village surrounding a hugh water park area.. it has a long lazy river, slides, tubes etc great water fun and FREE…

Now is the time if you are look for timeshare to buy.. Go on TUG2.net and look at classified ads for sale.. make sure you know the time frame and if you can use it.. also be aware of maintenance fees cost.. see you again soon.

June 1.. this july 5th ,09 will be staying at Summer Bay resort in Kississimme area.. it a bit father down hwy 192 from I-4.. out past Orange Lake area.. its has its on lake and more of the resort faces the lake unlike Orange Lake resort very few units have a view on the lake front.. We had gotten 2 units for the week one at Wyndham Cypress Palms closer to Kississimme are for a fri to fri and the Summers Bay unit on a sunday to sunday time fream. My brother and his wife stayed with his “friend” up near Dayton fri and sat night while we had his daughter with our girls in a large one bedroom unit for the start. We moved to Summer Bay unit on sunday doing disney on monday. We are trying to get NASCAR ticket to firecracker 400 on july 4th and some free disney tickets. My brother has a friend whose a cousin to one of the drivers so they get tickets most every year for the Dayton races. it look like it going to a fun week but may be HOT as it july in florida.. UPDATE.. the tickets to Daytona fell through as did the Disney tickets.. it was hot but not all that bad, and my brothers FRIEND turned out to be Full of S@#T; we had to pay for disney tickets and no race tickets came through..

In March of 2010 we traveled to Ashland NH are for a week at Cold Springs Resort in Ashland. This is close to Plymouth College and the great ski area of Loon, Waterville Valley and Bretton Woods to name a few. The trip as a 2 day 15 hr event through NY city in parts and crossing the George Washington bridge which was different. 🙂  This was a great place to stay. the unit were older but in good shape. The resort ran a shuttle to Waterville Valley Ski area on tue and Brittenwoods on thru both days the ski area were running specials on lift tickets. that was nice indeed. While at Waterville Valley we noted a lot of race looking bibs on youngsters and see it was the Junior Winter Olympic Team in town for a meet. They are mostly from the West with most skiing since 3 or 4 yrs old. They are the future Olympians for Winter in 2016 for the most part. I rode the lift with a couple member and they all were wonderful to talk to and see on the slopes.. So there you have it my brush with greatness.  🙂

in Sept of 2010 we traveled to Ski Side Village in Tannersville PA.. This is just down the road from Camel Back Ski area for a fall trip up north. The place was nice with 3 levels and internet service wireless included in unit. We had a great time exploring the area and made the trip to Hershey PA for a tour of the chocolate factory and theme park, which was closed, along with some of the Amish county events.

Well here it is June 2010, we are heading to Massanutten for the week. Summer is in full swing and we are ready for a break. Golf is on the agenda along with swimming, hot tub and other resort activities. Timeshare has been the best way to vacation, especially the South Africa unit we own.. I got a Sand Beach Club unit a couple years ago with a maintenance fee of close to $600 for the week.. I eventually sold the unit for what i paid for it as it did not get any better trades than my SA units at half the cost.. This year the MF are $312 for one and $235 for the other one.. that less than $600 buck for two weeks.. not a bad deal at all.. If you have not check out http://tug2.net i highly recommend you do so..

So now its Nov 2014 and a lot has changed.. we gave away the Dikoholo and The Sudwala Lodge units several years ago. They were not bring in the TPU,  Trading Points Units,  as RCI calls them to justify the cost especially with the rand to dollar exchange at 7-1. Now a days it more in the 11-1 range but i still was tired of dealing with South Africa poeple who make island time seem like NY speed.

Several years ago, after looking for many years, i was able to find and buy a 3 bedroom lockout unit at Presidential Villa at Plantation Resort in Surfside Beach SC area. This unit is unique as it has the ability to be used as

1.) 3 bed/ 3 bath unit that sleeps 12

2.) locked out into a 2 bedroom/2 bath unit that sleeps 8 and have a

3.) Hotel unit as well that sleeps 4.

This is a EOY (every other year usage) even years. The maintenance fee did jump up from $615 to $700 but that is still not bad..

Why i bought this unit was the amount of TPU’s is hugh.. If I split it up into the 2bd/2bt, and the hotel unit separate and i pick a good summer week to reserve.. i can get 80+ trading points and that will get me 3-4 weeks of trades most years.. Last year i split it up and rented the 2/2 side out for $1100 for the week. With the hotel unit I  got 32 TPU’s. With this amount we went to Orlando in march and visited Universal before the new Harry Potter sections opened and then in july we took a week and went to Massunutten resort near Harrisburg VA area.

When i bought the unit the PO, Prior Owner had reserved a week in june for the whole 3/3 unit and that was included in the sale. I paid $1200 for the week and was able to rent the 3/3 unit for $800 meaning my net cost was $400.00  not a bad deal for sure..

So now we are up to date for the time being..

  • Passing the Hat


    Karen and Carl Newton


    Sarah and Will Gilfillan

    Owning and operating Chimney Keepers for 27 years has been a very rewarding experience, and we have enjoyed the relationships we have built with our customers. We are now starting a new chapter and are selling the business to one of our Technicians. Though we will miss the many relationships and friendships we have built over the years, Karen and I are looking forward to traveling full time in our Airstream as we explore the nooks and crannies of North America.

    We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Will and Sarah Gilfillan, who will be taking over Chimney Keepers as of March 30, 2020. Rest assured, Will has been well trained (by Carl!) and is very competent, with nearly four years of experience in the gas log/fireplace/ chimney service industry and over ten years as a firefighter. Sarah, the Office Manager/wife is a fast learner, and will do wonders in assisting you with scheduling appointments and answering questions. It was important to us to find a good fit for our customers, and we feel confident that you will find Will and Sarah to be knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.

    Thank you for your business over the years. It was my distinct pleasure to have been of service to you, and I wish you continued success and prosperity in the years to come.

    Sincerely, Karen and Carl Newton

  • Is Your Wood-burning or Gas-burning Fireplaces ready for Winter?

    Is your Fireplace or Gas Log unit ready to go? If not, or for a service, give us a call.

    During a power outage, a fireplace or gas log unit may be your only form of heat, so make sure they are working in top form. Give us a call to set up an appointment, 919-772-8110.

    PS: If you do NOT have a Carbon Monoxide detector and you have gas logs, GET ONE… NOW… We recommend the combination CO/Smoke, battery-powered, detectors found at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or most hardware stores.

    If yours are over 10 years old, replace them (there’s a date on back). If there is not a date of manufacture on the back, GET rid of it.

  • Interesting Info/Links

    • Want to find out more about vacation rentals? Timeshare Resorts.
    • Own Timeshare and exchange with RCI? You need to read this info. IT'S IMPORTANT TO LEARN MORE. Tug2.net