More on the Right To Use Program

January 30, 2013

We continue to have a good response to our “Right To Use” program. This month, we added quite a few more units to the list, opening up a rush for the good weeks and good units.

This program is not just for Swiss Mountain Village owners. Anyone can participate in this quick, easy, and low cost way of spending a week at a resort. As a Right To Use “owner”, you can use the unit, rent it, or exchange it with a timeshare exchange company for a vacation anywhere in the world. Your annual cost is equal to the current maintenance fee plus sales and occupancy tax. For example, a unit that sleeps six people would cost you a total of $429.58. That’s for an entire week for six people at Swiss Mountain Village. If you wanted to exchange your Swiss unit for another resort through daelive.com, the additional cost would be $135, plus your travel expenses. This is a great bargain!

If you want more information about Swiss Mountain Village’s Right To Use program, call Margaret or Bob at (888) 785-1188.

Happy Holidays

Blowing Rock Dec. 26, 2012 – The staff and board of administrators would like to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday. Christmas 2012 has past with a couple of snow showers, freezing rain and sleet to make travel exciting. Here are a couple pictures of the result of a short snow shower.

If you haven’t experienced Swiss Mountain Village in any other season but the time of your ownership, I suggest an impromptu trip for a day or two. We usually have rentals available (you receive a 25% discount as an owner). For those of you who do not own a unit at Swiss Mountain Village, come check us out. Call our office (888-785-1188) for rates and availability. We are 10 minutes from Appalachian Ski Mountain, The Blowing Rock, and Mystery Hill; and 5 minutes from downtown Blowing Rock.

January and February are our best months for skiing. Anyone mentioning this article will get a 10% discount on nightly rentals.

We hope that your New Year is all that you wish. Come see us soon.

Bob Smith – Resort Manager

Right To Use Program a Hit!

After two and a half months, the Swiss Mountain Village “Right To Use” program is being call a hit. The program allows owners, guests, and the general public to acquire a unit on a specific date for two or four years. Then the “owners” can opt to continue the program or walk away. There is not deed involved as it is a rental plan. The RTU’er pays the standard annual maintenance fee plus sales and occupancy tax. Just the fact that there is no deed, nor the need to involve a broker makes the plan attractive. The name speaks to the fact that someone can have all the rights of a deeded owner. You can use the unit, have us rent it for you, you can rent it on your own, let a guest use it, or you can exchange the unit through a timeshare exchange company.

A new supply of units has been added to the list, so if you didn’t find just the right unit and week before, check the website again. If you still do not see the perfect unit, call Margaret or Bob for help. The office number is (888) 785-1188.

New Timesharing Fraud Information

We have recently learned of three companies that are being investigated by the city of Orlando, FL for rimeshare fraud. The authorities have asked that anyone having information about the following companies contact them at michael.stevens@cityoforlando.net or (407) 246-2971.

  • American Vacation Group
  • GWF LLC
  • First Decision LLC

The typical fraudulant act involves getting the homeowner to deposit monney in an account, direct wire into an account, or collect a credit card number. You should NEVER have to pay anything up front to sell your timeshare. If you think that you have been targeted by such a company, call your local authorities and consumer protection agencies.

Swiss Mountain Village strongly suggests that you contact us first, if you are considering doing business with a timeshare disposal company. We may have information, pro or con, about the company. Your decision to use some companies also has lasting ramifications for Swiss Mountain. Some scams may or may process your deed. In any event, the timeshare resort frequently is the loser, as these companies never file the deed or file one with fake names and addresses. You might think that you have sold it, but really haven’t.

In Memory of Mr. Jim Mullins

We are saddened to announce that Mr. Jim Mullins’ daughter just informed us that Jim passed away in February. Many of you will remember him because he owned units in weeks 29-40, mid-July to mid-October. Jim was always making new friends around the lake. He taught children how to make a “worm caller” that made worms literally pop out of the earth. He was also known for his fruit cobblers at picnics. Jim was in the navy for many years, and also worked for NASA during the early days of space exploration. In addition to being an owner of 12 units, he was also a former SMV board member. Jim, we already miss you, and it’s not even July yet. Rest in peace.

Letter to Owners, May 2012

May 7, 2012

Dear Homeowners:

After receiving my letter of March 1, 2012, it is probably no surprise that the Board of Administrators has decided to increase the Swiss Mountain Village Maintenance Fees for 2013. This decision was not made lightly. We have reviewed the resort’s expenses carefully, and are confident that management is doing everything possible to keep expenditures to a minimum, yet provide comfortable and clean accommodations. As my last letter indicated, our income does not meet today’s operating expenses.

The increase for 2013 will be 13.5% per unit/week. While this increase may be difficult for some to accept, other resorts made similar or much larger increases years ago to keep up with rising costs. The fees will be:

  •     Studios (sleep 4) – $330
  •     One Bedrooms (sleep 4) – $364
  •     One Bedroom & Loft (sleeps 6) – $381
  •     Two Bedrooms (sleep 6) – $381
  •     Three Bedroom (sleeps 8 ) – $398

We want to help you find ways to factor the 2013 fees into your home budget. Please consider the following:

  •     2013 Maintenance invoices will be mailed on October 1, 2012; thus allowing an additional month to schedule the payment. Payment is due on January 31, 2013 with the following exception:
  •     Owners with multiple units may spread payments out over six months with the final payment due on March 31, 2013.
  •     An automatic payment plan is available. Contact the office to set up with a credit or debit card.
  •     Prepay the 2013 fees at anytime in 2012, in whole or set up a payment plan.
  •     Payment methods: check by mail, credit/debit card by phone, credit/debit card by PayPal, or transfer from a PayPal account.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter. We all want our resort to continue improving and thrive. Your participation as a faithful owner will help ensure that it is around for many generations to enjoy.

Best regards,

Clarence Symond, President

Timeshare Estate Planning

At some point, we all need to plan for our exit from this world. Of course everyone should have a will; but have you considered the distribution of your timeshare units? Our experience tells us the answer is usually “no”. Everyone makes decisions about their home, but forget about the other real estate that they own, their Swiss Mountain Village property.

As you may know, we have several hundred unit weeks that need foreclosing because owners have died or disappeared. If the majority of these owners had specified in their wills how to handle their timeshares, we would not be in the financial situation that we now find ourselves. In many cases, I am sure that the deceased’s family didn’t even think about Dad or Mom’s Swiss unit.

Another similar situation is bankruptcies. When determining their assets, few consider their timeshare unit as an asset. Almost all owners that went through this crisis call to tell us that they don’t own it because of their bankruptcy. Unless it is specifically handled within the list of assets, you still own the property, even though past maintenance fees have been removed from your account.

The following events leave Swiss Mountain Village in a difficult situation:

  • Death
  • Bankruptcy
  • Divorce
  • Moving

In most cases, we are not aware of any of these events until an invoice is returned to us by the Post Office, or an invoice goes unpaid. In many cases, we find no forwarding address or telephone number change. If an estate is settled without an opportunity on our part to speak with the heirs, the process is difficult and sometimes impossible to track down someone with knowledge of the deceased’s heirs.

Please help us reduce the number of units that fall onto the “foreclosure” list by taking proactive steps to document your wishes about timeshare property. If you move, marry, divorce, have a spouse die, or start the bankruptcy process, please let us know so that we can assist you through changes of your deed or providing further information.

Call us if you have any questions.

Pay Fees with PayPal

Take a look at the “Owners Page” on this website. You can now pay your maintenance fees through PayPal. You don’t even need to have a PayPal account. All you need is your credit or debit card. Currently, you can only pay the annual maintenance fee amount, not any other fees. However, we are working to permit a free format dollar amount in this application. If you have any questions about this feature, please email our office at info@swissmountain.com .

Timeshare Resale Scams

Everyone has heard of those unscrupulous salespeople who prey on the unwary vacationer accepting a free dinner or show “for just two hours” of their time. Now, with so many aging timeshare owners in the market to dispose of their timeshare holdings, a new breed of scam artist is attacking from the other end of the timeshare life cycle.

 I recently heard from one of our owners who asked me about a “too good to be true” opportunity. This Swiss Mountain Village owner was rightfully skeptical about an offer to sell one of their units for tens of thousands of dollars. And all the owner had to do was provide their credit card number to cover a small service fee. I advised this person to turn and run away from this offer with the knowledge that she wasn’t born yesterday, and thankfully didn’t bite when the sales person offered the hook.

 Let me set you straight, lest you believe that you can make a profit on your timeshare unit. If you have used your timeshare, rented it, or exchanged it, you have hopefully received many years of enjoyment and memories from it. That is your reward. Our units are selling for anything from one dollar to several hundred dollars. When you are ready to dispose of it, take what you can get, and remember the good times that you had. How can someone guarantee to sell your unit when you cannot even sell it on craigslist for a dollar?

 These scams hurt more than just the unwary seller; they also hurt the resort. One former owner “sold” his unit to a company; at least he says that he received money for it. Maybe he didn’t want to divulge that he paid them to take it. Anyway, he feels that he doesn’t own the unit, and the company that he dealt with says that he never signed the deeds over to them. Now, no one is willing to pay the maintenance fees. Another owner disposed of their units through a company that sold the units to a third party. We received the deed, but the address on the deed is invalid. There is no phone number for the new owner, and the middle-man company doesn’t answer their phone. So now we have another unit that is in limbo; but worse, is not paying its share of maintenance fees.

 Please…please…please, if you talk to a company offering to dispose of your unit, ask for their name and telephone number, and tell them that you will get back to them. Then go to your computer and Google the company. If you do not see results with the word SCAM in it, call them back to get more details. Then do some more research.

 If you have any questions about selling your unit to a company, call me. A little due diligence will pay off for both of us.

 - Bob Smith

The Legend of Lord & Lady Lucerne

 

In North Carolina, locals here take folklore and legends rather seriously. It is for this reason that I hesitate to write the story you are about to read.

On March 12, 1972, Lord and Lady Lucerne rented Cabin 26, thankful to escape the high profile lives they had in Europe. In the mountains of North Carolina, they knew they could hide in the silence and serenity of the hills and blend into the accepting nature of the locals of Blowing Rock. What they did not know is that one can never leave everything behind.

On the evening of the 12th, Lord Lucerne told his young wife Camille that he was going to take a stroll around the lake near the cabin. He was anxious to listen to the sounds of the night without the company of bodyguards or throngs of citizens reaching out to them. This was heaven.

Camille kissed her husband of four years on the cheek, and watched as he strolled towards the water. She was happy to see him beginning to relax so quickly. The times back in Europe were tense. Here in Blowing Rock, the world was new and almost Eden-like. He turned the corner and she closed the door to the cabin, and went to unpack.

Several hours later, Camille had not heard from her husband. He had never gone out into a public setting, so she had no idea of how long he should be away. It was just then that her life changed forever. Lord William burst into the cabin; his eyes wide, his face white with fear. She begged him to tell her what had happened outside. What had he seen or heard that frightened him so badly?

He slowly began to explain what had happened out in the woods as he walked around the lake. As he spoke, her heart began to beat more quickly. Each of his deliberate words impacted her as though she had been out in the darkness with him. She listened intently until he suddenly stopped – quiet. He seemed to be listening to his own words as they hung heavily in the room. Could she?

Together they slipped out of Cabin 26, and began their walk towards the lake under the moonless sky. Whatever had happened to Lord William Lucerne the night of March 12, 1972 would forever remain a mystery. Lord William and his beloved Lady Camille walked out of the cabin and into North Carolina legend that night. Their cabin was never visited again.

The royal bodyguards searched all over the property of Swiss Mountain Village and the surrounding area for weeks before sadly returning to Europe. It is said by the locals that the ghosts of the native Cherokee tribe took the royals in revenge for the loss of their own Princess in a battle fought on this land in 1889. Others believe that Lord and Lady Lucerne plunged into the lake that now bears their name to this day. They had made it known that they disapproved of the situation back home, yet the King would never change his mind. Could this have been their escape? Still others believe that the couple used their influence and power to buy the Swiss Mountain Village, and lived in reclusion for the rest of their time.

Whatever the cause, one thing remained clear; their visit has changed SMV forever because now, if you look – you will see evidence of their ill fated visit. Lake Lucerne now bears their name, and there is no longer a Cabin 26. It was changed in respect for the only visitors known to have become – unknown.

This is the Swiss Mountain Village legend as recalled by some of the elder folks. Repeat the legend all you like. But show respect for Lord and Lady Lucerne, and their memory. They may still be here!