From: mark harfenist (
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 14:31:22 -0800 (PST)
We (and other groups with which I'm familiar) built early buyer discounts into our price structure. We also paid interest on loans from members to our fledgling group. The combination was not enough to pay for all the time and energy invested, but it made a difference.

Discounts can be conceptualized as incentive for people who might otherwise remain on the sidelines to join up and commit, or as fair return on early (and therefore risky) investment in the project. We never discussed this in terms of directly rewarding those who worked hard in the early days, because to do so would likely lead to pointless discussions about who had put in how many hours, whose time was worth how much, etc.

It does seem essential that early joiners learn to get over the fact that late arrivals never had to work as long and hard as they did. People seem to have various ways to work this through to their own satisfaction. With the passing of years, much of it seems to even out anyway.

Hope that helps.

(Bellingham Cohousing)

On Tuesday, December 7, 2004, at 02:08  PM, psychling [at] wrote:

This message generates a number of responses in me.

I rather doubt that many `founders' expect much in the way of exceptional financial return for their work. If they did ... they could likely have done better in a commercial venture.

The motive for cohousing development has to do, certainly, with economy. However, a good deal of the motive must be based on spirit and other `intangibles.'

There is always something called `price appreciation' of underlying assets that may speak to the issue of financial `compensation.'

See how restrained I can be sometimes!

- Dan

 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: Linda Gluck/Treehouse <treehouse [at]>
As I'm sure many of you know, fhe first 2-3 years of forming a cohousing community take mountains of administrative time and energy - finding land, finding people, working w realtors, lawyers, planning boards, engineers,
architects, financial advisors, and banks as well as developing all
community documents, keeping all parties informed and keeping records of
everything. Our members are doing all this work.
It seems inappropriate that residents who buy in in the 4th or 5th year just pay for their unit and their part of what's held in common, and get the
benefit of all the founding work at no charge.
    Do other communities have a way of quantifying that founder
contribution, so that founders are compensated in some way - maybe in
discount on their unit?

Linda Gluck
Ulster County Cohousing (in formation)

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