Exit Fees & New Residents
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2004 08:17:49 -0700 (PDT)

On Oct 3, 2004, at 10:30 AM, Alexander Robin A wrote:

I have been giving a lot of thought to this issue because of a
controversy in our own community about an "exit fee" or "transfer fee"
or "fee for service" that would be due upon selling a unit. I mulled
over in my own mind the possibility that, after we're built, every unit
owner might choose to sell their unit for the maximum possible price
they could get for it, regardless of whether or not the buyer was
interested of cohousing. Maybe they just want the unit for its beauty
or its location? I hypothesized that we might potentially be facing our
own "tragedy of the commons" in a few years as each unit owner pursues
the maximum sales price, to the detriment of the larger community.

I think the exit fee is an issue apart from who buys in.


Whenever property changes hands (rental or purchase) the people left behind have a lot of work to do. The jobs of the person leaving have to be redistributed, the new people have to be welcomed, and the new people, even if skilled in community living, will take time to settle in and start working.

Requiring an "exit fee" as compensation for this means that there are fewer feelings of being left in the lurch. We just had a sale in which the seller gave $10,000 to our capital improvements fund. She was a key member of the group, very active on design team and then in facilities. Her unit had almost doubled in value so she did very well on the sale. Whenever I feel deserted by her, I think of the $10,000. Whenever I look at the list of things we have to find someone else to do, I think of the $10,000. It helps.


I think this concern should be number one on the list of things communities do NOT need to worry about. As long as you have a process where the people buying in have to read documents, attend a meeting, meet the neighbors, etc., people would be fools to buy in with intentions of not participating in the community. Cohousing communities around here are known far and wide as "different" from just so I can't imagine people buying in who were not interested.

That doesn't mean they will be "ideal" or my chosen substitute for the person leaving, but in comparison to the other residents -- the ones who were here at the beginning, all the people who have moved in have been _more_ interested than the ones who moved out.

Even the very active woman who just moved had been less active recently and the community had evolved in a different direction than she had hoped so she is happier with her new situation. Two people bought her unit who were looking at another cohousing community and were very happy to find this one as they liked the geographic location better.

We have such a list of people who want to buy in and that we want to buy in, friends of residents, that only escalating prices are keeping the list manageable.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.