Q – Are you a developer or a builder?
A – No, we are a group of individuals and couples – not for profit.
Q – So, if you are not in this for financial profit, what is your purpose?
A – Our purpose is to maximize our quality of life. To us, what is important is community – not things.
Q – So, is this some sort of commune?
A – No, this is not any kind of institution, or monastic community, or ashram, or cult, or commune.
We are a group of ordinary people, just like you. We will have some shared activities and common property, but each of us own our own residence and have our own private lives to live.
Q – Shared activities? Who decides what we do together?
A – You and I do. The residents together decide the activities of our community. And of course, participation is voluntary.
Q – What is your physical structure?
A – This has not yet been established, but will probably be a mixture of single-structure, duplex, triplex and quadriplex homes, all on a single level. The individual homes will be supplemented with a common house.
Q – Who determines what this will be?
A – You and I do. All of the residents together decide the design of our cohousing community.
Q – What is your financial structure?
A – This has not yet been established, but will probably be a condominium.
Q – Is this low-cost subsidized housing, like Section 8 Housing?
A – No, we are not affiliated with any government organization or social agencies.
Q – What will this cost me?
A – There are two components to your cost:
- First is time and effort. Since we are a resident-managed and maintained community, the residents must manage and maintain whatever needs to be done. Of course, we will hire contractors when needed but only when needed. Also, the residents will contribute time and effort to our community activities, for example, shared meals.
- The second component is financial. You will own your own home – buy it outright or have a mortgage – just like any other home that you might have. Then there will be a Home Owners’ Association monthly fee to cover the cost of the common facilities.
Q – And the rewards?
A – You get to thrive in a community with people whom you know and care for – people who know and care for you. Think of an old-fashioned, small-town neighborhood.
Q – Okay, this sounds good - what’s the catch?
A – There are risks and there are no guarantees. There is no real estate developer who will take the risk and reap a large profit – this project is our project. The residents will be part of an LLC which will develop the community. We all will invest money to cover the cost of the development over time as the project progresses. Some money will be needed up front to buy land and more money as the land is developed and structures built. All of our money is at risk – the project could fail and we could lose it all.
However, there have been over 160 cohousing communities successfully developed in the US over the past 20 years or so. If we draw upon the expertise of the professionals (architects, developers, etc.) who have participated in some of these communities, I believe that we can maximize our chance for success.