I once had a legal problem and went to see my lawyer. After explaining my problem, he asked me, " Mr. Moody, how much justice can you afford?" I could win but it would cost at least $25,000. or I could cut a check for $3000. to make the fool go away.
Write the check or not but get on with your life.
Now, if you want to stay there (it sounds like this is your second or vacation home), I would suggest you make it a point to notify the Homes Association of your full-time address where you are most likely to get your mail in a timely manner, so that this doesn't happen again. It is your duty to provide a decent address for them to contact you (just like the Department of Revenue for your driver's license, etc.).
And, at the risk of sounding unfeeling, I'm sure this isn't the first year your homes association dues were due on January 1st. Maybe get an electric calender (most phones have them) and put that on your calendar as an annual repeating date - with a 2 or 1 week reminder. . .before I started using this method, I was paying late fees to either a utility company, credit card company or whoever almost every month! Now, I know when each of my bills are due and the due dates are normally pretty close to the same days each month or year, so it makes it easy to repeat them weekly, monthly or annually with reminder alarms.
Good luck to you. If you choose to hire a realtor with short sale experience, give me a call - even if you aren't in my area, I can certainly assist you in finding a realtor to help you! http://www.MarleneAlley.com
The HOA's are not the brightest bulbs the tree. We actually have a piece of vacent land that an HOA foreclosed over $3000.00. We were in the process of doing a short sale, there is over $500,000 owed on the property, The HOA thought when they foreclosed on the property they owned it for $3000.00. The truth is the HOA now owners the title; however the mortgage is still attached. We have had great success in dealing with the HOA's. Please give me a call, or email me if you would like some help. Have a great day.
Bradley J. Chais
Pricing & Negotiation Expert
for Team Chais
Keller Williams Realty