Re: Cohousing Costs and Budgets
From: Jim Snyder-Grant (
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 95 15:27 CST
I think New View was at about $5000 / family before the major P&S, plus the 
huge deposit that was needed to secure the land (which we raised separately, 
with promissory notes for each household for how much they were willing to put 
in). About $1500 of that was money used for another site that didn't work out. 
Then, the big bucks started: ~$1500 / month for about 9 months. (Single adult 
households have been paying 75% of that). Then, we stopped monthly assesments 
at closing, with a series of construction loans (so far) carrying the rest of 
the expense.  Between the land fund and the assessments, the 24 New View 
households have around 1 million in, which is around 20% of the total 
development costs. That was enough of a stake for the bank to lend us the rest, 
once they appraised our house plans & site plan, and agreed we were building a 
viable development.

I know these numbers seem way big to many of you. Housing (land & construction) 
is way expensive out here in the Boston suburbs, plus in order to get to a 
reasonable match between appraisals and construction costs, we had to build 
relatively large houses.

We are all, pretty much, strapped, but that seems pretty normal for a 
house-buying situation. People are making customization decisions now, with 
cost weighing heavily. So far, no economic drop-outs. Sending potential members 
to our bank for pre-screening for mortgage qualification seems to have paid 

But if we had gone with a developer, I think the final house prices would have 
been 10 - 20% more, because of the developer's need to make a profit. So far, 
I'm glad we put more of our own money in, and kept control of the process. The 
interest on that million is being accumulated for people within the group, 
instead of to the bank: We have only been paying the bank interest for the last 
few months. Our development consultant is on a fixed budget. Our architect's & 
builder's contracts are mostly fixed price. We didn't find a fixed-price 
lawyer, though. 

-Jim_Snyder-Grant [at]

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