Re: owner-builder component via lot developmt
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 14:06:01 -0700 (MST)
>Has anyone heard of a lowball cohousing for the retiree low on funds
>but well-endowed with contracting skills and engineering expertise? I'd
>much prefer to do my own interior framing, electric, plumbing, carpentry,
>cabinetry, and painting

One way to achieve what Ormond Otvos desires is through communities like 
RoseWind, Sharingwood, and other "lot development" models of cohousing. 
It is thus possible to do cohousing where each member chooses how much 
they want to contract out, how much they want to do themselves, how much 
they want to spend, what degree of finish they want, and all that. 

At RoseWind, our buy in cost did not include any of the cost of building 
the individual homes. It covered buying the land (both common and home 
sites), installing the infrastructure (roads, utilities, etc), and 
building the common house. That amount--the costs that did not include an 
individual home--  came to about $35,000 for each of the households. (In 
fact a range, from about $28K to $38K, depending on the lot.)

So the only way someone like Ormond could achieve a total outlay of only 
$50K here, would be to only spend $15K on the initial house. It would be 
a challenge to construct something that would get an Occupancy Permit 
from the Building Department, for that much, though I can't say with 
certainty that it couldn't be done. On the other hand, if the goal was a 
long construction period, gradually accomplishing a house, a 
lot-development model would offer the option of as much time as one 
wanted, if one had another place to live, in the meantime, or if things 
were sufficiently rural that it was ok to live in a tent, shed, or such. 

He also mentions a vision of barn-raising type efforts to build homes 
together. That's another topic. Certainly there are many intentional 
communities, such as rural communes, where just that has been done. 

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature)

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