Cohousing not just for boomer hippies

Model's economic, social benefits attracts a surprising demographic

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Apr. 13, 2012

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This isn't to say that individual developments haven't had to adjust to the bad times. A lot of developments are now showing rentals because families cannot sell their individual units. On the other hand, there are cohousing communities with no vacancies and long waiting lists.

"Generally, cohousing communities have fewer foreclosures, fewer problems reselling and higher market value," Lane said.

Any cohousing owner can sell his or her unit using an outside real estate agent, but the community does feel an obligation to be involved in the process.

"You can go to your own broker to sell," Lane said, "but optimally the community should be involved because it's really important that whoever comes to buy understands what cohousing is and what the opportunities are. We like to give potential buyers a chance to meet the people, share a common meal."

In addition, as with any other homeowner groups, there are rules that a buyer has to agree to, besides understanding the sharing and government consensus.

"Most cohousing communities have a process whereby they orient prospective buyers to the communities so the buyers know what they are getting into," Lane said. "We do, too."

Sometimes, problems occur because the real estate agent representing the sale doesn't realize or understand that the project is different from an average condominium complex.

Lane said she once visited a cohousing community that had a foreclosure, which had somehow gone undetected until Realtors started showing up.

"The membership coordinator did her best to try to intervene with the real estate agents to let them know this was just not a plain condo association and there were obligations when one buys in," Lane said.

"She was working hard to make sure people didn't buy in who were not knowledgeable about what the expectations were. Otherwise, it would have been a setup for failure."

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on Amazon.com.

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1. Erick said... on Apr 16, 2012 at 07:27PM

“The association between cohousing residents and hippy-culture is a sweeping, and largely inaccurate, generalization. The typical cohouser simply wants to live in a safer, healthier, more economical, sustainable, and social neighborhood. I’m sure that’s a fairly common desire.

It is a form of intentional community, but it isn’t founded on ideology or specific interests. The strength of the community comes from close proximity and the design principles of cohousing that facilitate the opportunity to interact with neighbors. Prioritizing walkways and moving parking to the perimeter, for instance, grants cohousers the space and spontaneity to congregate along a path or porch and start a conversation.

To get a complete sense of what cohousing communities value, how they work, and how to get one started, check out Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities, by Chuck and Katie.

http://www.newsociety.com/books/c/creating-cohousing
http://www.cohousingco.com

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2. Neysa said... on May 11, 2012 at 12:52PM

“I noticed this was a widely shared article. Cohousing makes so much sense - for boomer hippies and everyone else. There are many options on the West Coast but unfortunately not as many in the East, although we're gaining momentum for a community in Philadelphia.

http://wissahickonvillagecoho.com/

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