Re: real estate attorneys
From: Rob Sandelin (robsanmicrosoft.com)
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 94 10:51 CDT
Pablo Halpern writes about selecting attorneys:

>2. Figure out what your needs are.  Any lawyer should, at least:
>   * Have multi-unit real estate experience.
>   * Be able to work with a consensus-based group.
 >  * Understand and support the cohousing concept.

I am not sure I would agree that the last two are necessary 
requirements of an attorney.  I would definitely charge a committee, or 
better yet, an individual to be the contact for the attorney. Don't 
make the attorney deal with the whole group, and your decision process 
is then immaterial except that turn around time for a response may be 
effected.  At Sharingwood we had one person as the primary contact to 
the attorney and that worked really well for both us and the attorney.

I also am not sure the lawyer needs to support the cohousing concept, 
they may not even have to understand it.  From the legal standpoint,  
you are doing  land development and cohousing per se has no legal 
standing so there is no advantage nor disadvantage legally to being a 
cohousing group.  Finding an attorney who supports cohousing, is no 
more important than finding an electrician that supports cohousing, and 
making it a requirement might make it hard to find an attorney.  At 
Sharingwood our lawyer thought we were nut cases to not maximize our 
profits, but he did his job well, gave us the advise we needed and that 
is what really mattered.

That is not to say there are no advantages to being cohousing in the 
negotiation process. For example, many groups non-profit status and 
community intentions have gotten them property that was originally not 
for sale, or got a better deal.

Some advice from our experience at Sharingwood. If you go condo and you 
want bank loans, have your attorney pass a draft of your declarations 
by FMNA for their approval.  Being FNMA approved opens the doors of 
most any bank around.  Although any good attorney will write 
declarations that would be FMNA approved, sometimes groups make 
alterations which cause them problems later, and your attorney may not 
tell you about future problems your changes will make for you.

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