Re: Waiting Lists and Approval of New Owners
From: PattyMara (
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 11:41:06 -0600
In a message dated 98-12-29 00:16:59 EST, SharonVillines [at] 

<< We are working on condo docs and need some input on how others handle this.
 We seem to be leaning toward no approval of buyers but favor some process
 for letting people know what they are getting into. How do you do this?

At Tierra Nueva (central CA coast) any qualified buyer bought a home.  There
was no screening or preapproval because we believe it is illegal to do so.
The majority of the folks who were drawn to us knew about cohousing with
various degrees of understanding.  The "letting people know what they are
getting into" came from lots of talking, touring, socials, and informational
documents.  It was a lot of work to communicate our essence, with every single
interested buyer.  Sponsors or "Sweat Angels"  (short for sweat equity angels-
those of us who brought in interested new members, held their hand through the
long orientation process, and were compensated for the investment of time--I
could forward a description if you are interested)  did the work of
communicating what we are all about.

 >>And most communities seem to have waiting lists of some kind. How do you
 handle a situation where a person wants to sell to a friend or family when
 there are people on the waiting list? Is it fair to have a waiting list if
 the people on it do not get automatic preference?>>

We do have a waiting list.  Twice, after we thought we were sold out, we
weren't, due to a death and a new member'sdecision to move out of state.  The
waiting list clearly states that it is not based on "first come, first
served".  The criteria are:  financial viability (pre-qualification for a
mortgage of the amount required),  interest shown in the community evidenced
by attendance at meetings and socials, willingness to make a full price or
higher offer on the available unit and, date of waiting list application.
We were very clear that there was no "automatic preference"  but rather a
decision of the finance team, based on the criteria, in order to protect the
financial and long term interests of the group.   This was somewhat
controversial, since it appeared to be a different tactic than our original
marketing push, but when the two homes became available at such a late time in
the development stage, when it was very crucial to sell them and close them in
a timely fashion, the finance team made a strong recommendation to the group
and the decision was consensed.   

Once we close the development and construction phase, the understanding is
that the waiting list will die a natural death.  After that, the homeowners
who decide to put their home on the market can sell to whomever they choose.
They can refer to the list for interested buyers but are under no requirement
to contact or interact with anyone on the list.   There is a hope that new
buyers will be copasetic.  We'll see. 

Patty Mara Gourley
Tierra Nueva Cohousing  

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