Evidently the HOA where I live is going to foreclose on my condo because I owe $7500* in back dues. (Please see update note). I freely admit I owe them. There are extenuating circumstances, though. I have spent the past 6 years of my life dealing with a family crises, my father’s Alzheimer’s Disease and the fact that my parents were basically ‘cleaned’ by my father’s broker.
I quit smiling and laughing, years ago.
By the time we discovered the disaster, it was too late, the statute of limitations had passed. To make matters worse, my father gave his broker’s replacement ALL of his financial records. Naturally nothing remains – nothing, as in nothing. The HOA was allowing me to pay as I could, but evidently they’re tired of the fact that I’ve lived here 18 years and paid in (stupidly) over $40,000 in HOA fees.
My sister and I have done everything possible to care for them. We’re trying to sell property, but in this real estate market, it is almost impossible. Since I was given the news that my home, which is worth about $120,000 is going to be auctioned for about $8000, I’ve been a wreck. It has broken me. We have struggled for so long, that there’s nothing left. I’ve lost my savings, my career, and I swear my sanity. I no longer know how to fight or how to do things. I’ve lost all hope.
WHY I AM BEHIND
There is a serious problem where I live, thanks to PNM and their new power meters. One of the reason my HOA payments have been on such an irregular basis is due to PNM and their new meters. This past calendar year, I’ve paid out approximately $3200 in power bills. My total yearly income the past two years has been approximately $13,000. By the time I pay the very basics of living, I have maybe $20 left over, per month. And, yes, I have been laboring under the assumption that I would have property sold by now and could pay off my HOA fees. I don’t even have health insurance. I can’t afford it.
In 2014 my PNM bill was a thousand dollars less. One of the reasons was the fact that PNM installed the new meters in the summer of 2014. Our rates have skyrocketed since then. PNM has also redesigned their web site so that you can no longer access your previous year’s bills. The situation here is so dire that I know one resident who is not quite sure if they can even afford to live here. This person kept the thermometer on about 55 all winter, with bills upward of $400/month.
PNM refuses to help us . We both were forced to stay cold this past winter, unable to afford even the basics of heat. We keep our summer thermostats set around 75, on a cool day. On a hot day, forget even being cool. We can’t afford it.
I am dealing with quirks of fate, a dishonest realtor, and people here in New Mexico who would rather lie and cheat when it comes to purchasing property than even consider being just a tad honest. I am tired of it. I have become impatient and extremely bitter. I don’t like having someone worth millions offering me $125,000 cash and a local roach motel for 2300 acres . That comes out to around $50/acre. My father paid $400/acre for it. I learned, about 3 weeks ago that the person who took control of a previous realtor’s business went to the major land sales sites and listed our property as not for sale. I have a good, honest realtor, now.
THE WILD AND CRAZY EXCUSE
I have been paying something on the HOA, when I have the money to do so. Things have been so tight , these past seven months, that I’ve had to borrow money to pay my power bills, along with a few other bills. It was not to be this way, but I am living on practically nothing. I wasn’t all that worried about even contacting you because I’ve been waiting for a timber contract to be fulfilled. I would then pay everything off, in full. That was to have happened by May.
As I explained to the board president on June 23, the only reason I have not paid the current bill in full is due to the fact that the lumber mills in South Carolina are now running a specific hard wood, and not pine or pulp, which we have. I have contracts from the timber company (I can provide copies upon request), stating that they will be cutting on two specific properties in South Carolina. The timber estimate from is at least $10,000.
The estimate for another property is even more than that. I have been negotiating these contracts since February. The forester was to have been cutting in late April and early May, but must cut according to what the timber mills require. They currently are running a specific hard-wood we do not have on our property. I was to have had a minimum $25,000 in hand by May, at the latest, but it may now be at least October before the mills will be running the kind of wood that we have on our property. As soon as my timber check is in hand, the HOA will be paid.
I am hysterical.
I resent being investigated and having them delve into my personal life and my finances. They have that right. They have the legal right to sell my home, which is assessed for $120,000 for $7500. Here in New Mexico that is their legal right. Never mind it is just a quirk, which kept me from paying them.
I’ve reached the point where I no longer expect kindness and mercy from people. Everyone wants something for nothing. If they think you are in a financial crises, that’s a good excuse for them to make a buck off their suffering.
If I had insurance I’d go to the ER. I don’t. My sister said our mother is in such bad shape over this that she asked her if she needs to go to the ER.
I swear, if I were a terrorist, I’d have more rights than I currently have with this situation.
I’ve been told I’ll need to start selling my things, that I have too many things and am too attached to them. I’ve also been told I’ll need to get rid of my cats. I love my cats, even if they did murder the huge jade plant. I would rather curl up and die than get rid of my cats. As for getting rid of my things, don’t I have any rights?
MY INSANE RANT
I can live at my mother’s home for awhile. In order to do so, I’m going to need to sell quite a bit of my furniture. Once I get down there, I won’t be able to come back into town because the car is in such bad shape. I’ll be stranded down there. My internet access will be extremely limited, so I’ll probably be forced to give up the blog I’ve had for 10 years. I can sit there and rot. Yes, I’m angry and I’m bitter. I’m in this situation for being stupid enough to believe that Commandment about honoring one’s parents.
We have land to sell. But, people sense blood in the water and refuse to pay what a fair price for it. I’ve come to resent men from Texas who think they are so much better than we stupid women. I’ve also come to realize that just because someone says they are a Christian, well, forget that. It’s just another excuse to cheat someone who needs help.
Most frustrating is the fact that, if I lived somewhere besides New Mexico, I could be able to sell some Native American jewelry, pottery, and a few antiques and easily raise the money to pay the condo fees. But, here in New Mexico, forget about selling anything for fair market value. All anyone wants to do is cheat you, for a bargain. I’ve come to resent people here who are little more than pickers.
I have a Lucy Lewis pot to sell. Obama has one similar to it in the Oval Office. I have thousands in Acoma pottery I can sell. But, forget that – here. I have a magnificent Navajo gingerbread concho belt I paid over a $1000 20 years ago. It’s worth several thousand dollars. I have a Zuni inlay storyteller belt that is worth quite a bit of money. I have Native art to sell.
But – here, forget that. Yes, I’m angry and I’m bitter. I want a break. I’ll get scrap price for my sterling, I know that. I would love to have a viable sale, but I know how badly I’ll be cheated by Texans and summer people.
So, I lose my home. Stop on by in a few weeks and you can pick over the remains of my life. Yes, I’m angry. I’ve cried so much, there are no longer tears. All my sister and I have done is do what is right. We’ve both been screwed over by life for being decent, kind, and honorable.
I cannot imagine being forced to give away my beloved cats. The large calico is Bubbles Silverman, named after Beverly Sills. The one below is B(r)at Masterson. The fuzzy baby, then all grown up is Baby. Hoss Cartwright is the red tabby. Then there is the illusive Mommy Cat, who is a small tabby calico. Madam Pompadour is the smaller calico. The poodle is Rums. Sadie my mother’s bichon is living with us, also.
I’ll be having a garage sale in a couple weeks. I’ll be selling my iPad, golf clubs, some jewelry, small screen televisions, along with other things. The last time I had a garage sale someone cheated me out of my 1989 classic convertible. He ended up paying me $27, then harassed and intimidated me to the point where I just gave up. But, that’s life in New Mexico. Actually, it’s life in the United States these days, where it is all about lying, cheating, and slitting you friend’s throat for their last crust of bread.
I have a beautiful set of Fritz & Floyd sunflower dishes I’d like to sell, but they’re worth at least $900 and I refuse to sell them to some picker for $5.00. I have incredible sunflower things. I’m in such a shitty mood, I’d rather break everything than have local pickers offer something for nothing.
I can’t even work on my writing beyond the basics. I can’t afford to get my good MacBook Pro serviced. I can’t afford the subscription to Adobe to pay for the program I need for layout. Damn it, I bought collectibles, the pottery and jewelry to be able to sell it as an investment. I’ve had suggestions to do a Go Fund Me page, but if I could just get a break, I could sell things and make a decent amount on them.
I CAN’T GET A BREAK
Right now, I’m so hurt, and angry and bitter. I’m exhausted. I can’t sleep. I just want this long battle for survival to come to an end. I am fully aware my future has been destroyed. I will never get the lost years back, and forget even thinking about getting the 17 books I’ve written these past 6 years published. Due to family problems, I’ve not published in 10 years. Just come dance on the remains of my life. It sucks and now they’re stealing my home.
I’m tired and I’m crazed, so frustrated I’m not quite sure what to do. Like my cousin said, I need someone on my side. Apparently that isn’t going to happen. At least she volunteered her son to come move me. One thing that has happened since my rant and rave, I’ve discovered I know or am associated with at least 4 people who have been forced into bankruptcy by their HOA. Only owe the HOA.
There needs to be a law.
If I lose my home, I can’t even afford the boxes I need to pack. I can’t afford the tissue for packing. Oh, I’ve had several people offer to help me move. (Sorry, I’m a little sarcastic). Once I get down to San Patricio, I’m stranded. I’m driving my mother’s 2005 Cadillac with one of those disgusting Northstar engines that needs to be repaired. I’ve been stranded in Ruidoso for two years. I can’t even get out to try setting up a booth in an antique mall in Roswell or somewhere like that.
I have so many things I an sell to make money, but am living in a place where people pay pennies on the dollar. The other day someone sold a Federalist rocking chair for $25, and antique ruby glass lamps worth at least $450 for $15. Does that tell you anything?
Aside from helping my parents, I used my savings purchasing antique photos for a book on fashion, which will literally change how people view American costume. The book is in edits. Because I cannot use my MacBook Pro, I can’t edit. I can’t afford the $30/monthly subscription to Adobe to do the edits. After next month I won’t be able to afford the $8/month subscription to Microsoft Word, then I’ll no longer be a working writer.
All I did was follow the Ten Commandments, you know, the one about honoring your parents. I’m broken. My hair is falling out and I can’t even afford the vitamins for regrowth. I’ve basically given up on life. Mine is over, let’s just be honest. It wasn’t to be this way, but right now I’m dealing with someone I thought was my friend, who lied about me being able to keep my home. After he told me they were going to sell it out from under me, he told me I’d be getting a letter, then he went on vacation.
I don’t even know if I’m worth helping. I’m that broken. Heck, I’m so broke, I had to fix my one working toilet with a hairpin the other night. It worked. If it sounds like I’m ranting and raving, I am. I’m no longer thinking rationally. I’ve been pushed to the brink, and don’t know how to survive.
This is my life, or what is being stolen from me. I’m now being told I must begin selling my art, jewerly, and furniture, along with my glassware, to help not only me, but our mother survive. All of this is due to the fact that I was lied too – and not given the opportunity to tell my story to the HOA board of directors.
I am a writer. I specialize in the life of Wyatt Earp and Tombstone. I have two non-fiction books about Wyatt and Tombstone along with a western novel, and one YA novel. I’ve spent my crises time writing murder mysteries. I’m working #10. They are a series, each containing about 500 pages. I can’t even afford the ink to print them out, to have them proofed.
My book on fashion is a game changer. It contains approximately 2200 unpublished historic American photos including an unpublished Matthew Brady CDV of Mary Todd Lincoln.
Not only that, but I’ve been writing the essays dealing with the past six years and my faith, or what’s left of it. I have enough for five books. I can’t even begin working on the one about my father and his AD until I can afford to use Adobe.
I was planning to use Go Fund Me for my fashion book, but I no longer have that luxury. I don’t know what will happen to it. I may be forced to sell the photos I’m saving for gallery shows when I complete the book. I suspect like all my other dreams, I’m going to be forced to sacrifice those to financial reality.
Yes, I’m angry. Unlike women who have families and established homes, those of us who aren’t married are the ones required to give up everything, for our family. It’s killing me. Right now I just want to save my home.
I don’t believe in giving something for nothing. I don’t want charity. I will be giving copies of my books, along with other things. Somewhere I have several complete sets of Star Wars Burger King glasses.
I promise I will return kindness with a bon. I haven’t quite figured out the thank-you reward, but it will include copies of my books, and maybe a few Star Wars glasses if you wish. I know, it isn’t much but it is what I can do.
If you notice the amount is a little over what I need. I want to be able to pay my HOA fees a year ahead, and avoid this disaster. I also need to invest in a decent microphone and some equipment in order to start a YouTube ‘video’ show featuring the stories of people who have had their lives turned upside down by Home Owner’s Associations. It needs to end – now. Maybe that is why this has happened to me. I can tell you I’ve already written to my Congressman asking how to get started proposing national legislation against what HOAs do.
I need to rebuild my life. There are basics I need, just to get by. I have a few ideas in mind. Those who help will find out what’s going on. You will also receive a free copy of my next book. With luck it will be my first murder mystery. The overage will help me buy ink to print a copy out for edits, and get on with my life.
SJ (Cindy) Reidhead
P. S. You might notice I have no real address for my home. That’s for a very good reason, primarily security. I had a stalker – once upon a time…