Personal Loans to Cohousing Groups
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2006 12:55:05 -0800 (PST)
Dear friends,

As some of you well know, there comes a time during the development of many cohousing groups when total equity investments of the members total somewhat less than is usually needed to complete a land purchase, to satisfy a bank that the equity share is sufficient for the construction loan.

I have loaned money (amounts between $4000 and $30,000) to four groups in development over the last 10 years, and it has been a very gratifying experience. I'm writing this today to suggest to some of you out there in cohousing land that this is one more way to invest in/support the cohousing movement. Three of the four loans I've made have been structured as follows.

Interest is accrued from the date the loan originates at between 10% and 12% (but you and the group can negotiate what they can afford and the best you can offer). In one case the interest rate is reduced when the construction plans are approved (because my risk will be reduced then), and when the construction loan is let, the interest will be changed to the interest rate of the construction loan. The principal plus interest is due and payable in a lump sum X days after the last unit is sold. or by a date certain that might be before the last unit is sold.

The fourth loan I made was to assist a retrofit cohousing group in their process of becoming a condominium.

I have also made loans to four individuals living in cohousing that have made it possible for them to purchase a unit in a community where they'd been renting by supplementing the funds they had available to them for a down payment.

In all cases these loans have been formally unsecured, but in each case, I have ascertained that the group has an asset such as a paid-for site, or that they could without difficulty raise the money to pay me back in the event that the project collapses.

If any potential individual lender, or group wishing to solicit a loan from a friend of the community or a potential lender would like to contact me off-list for more details, I would welcome that. I'd even go so consider doing some informal "matching" of groups in need of funds with potential lenders.

Swan's Market Cohousing
Oakland, CA

Joani Blank
Cell: 510-387-1315
joani [at]

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