From: Hungerford, David (
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 94 12:36 CDT
Judy Baxter wrote:

>This raises an interesting question - those of you in existing groups who 
>have had sales and new members moving in - an insights on how to manage the

7/26 homes in Muir Commons have sold since move-in (Sept. '91.)  Only one has 
gone through a realtor--and that one took the longest to sell.

We maintain a "waiting pool" of people who have expressed interest in 
cohousing through various contacts (tours/friends of residents etc.).  Some 
are people who were on our waiting list at move in.  At the times homes come 
up, most are usually not in a position to buy right then.  The last home had 
an offer, for the asking price, 3 days after it went "on the market."

Although there are no legal restrictions on resale, everyone who has sold has 
sought to make sure the prospective buyers were very aware of the 
responsibilities and expectations.  Prospects have been asked to attend at 
least one general meeting, given a breakdown of different categories of 
responsibility (e.g. each adult on common house lockup once every 42 weeks; 
each adult cooks once/cleans twice per month etc.) as well as detailed 
descriptions of the consensus process.  All who bought were eager to "get 
into it" as soon as possible; and their fresh energy actually got us through 
a couple of construction projects that had been languishing.

Finally, the most important thing, we've discovered, is to provide a "buddy" 
or a "buddy couple" who have similar demographics to the new owner(s) to see 
them through the first, well, year or so. These buddies make an effort to 
help the new people choose committees and tasks, work with them on projects 
("hey, I'll be working on the bike shed Saturday morning, want to join me?") 
and of course, cook with them the first time.  There is an internal logic and 
history to our group dynamic that is opaque, at least at first, to new 
people.  They really need someone to talk to, to ask questions of, and who 
can give them direction when they innocently violate some old, undocumented, 
group agreement (e.g. we don't let our dogs run loose, or, don't park on the 
North side if you live on the South, there isn't enough parking) and other 
such things that create minor annoyance.  I know that sounds petty, but it's 
a matter of learning how to fit in.

The great thing about new people is that they are free of some of the old 
group angst, and sometimes speak up and tell us when we aren't wearing any 
clothes.  They just need to be nurtured at first.  Remember, no one in their 
right mind would buy into cohousing unless it really appealed to them, at 
least not if they were fully informed--which is why finding new people 
through a real estate agent seems risky, although the fact that the Nyland 
agent discovered this forum means he's doing his job right.

David Hungerford (dghungerford [at]

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