Filters you add to your membership
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2006 19:57:16 -0800 (PST)
 When you create policies about things like pets, guns, or even child
expectations, you add filters to whom will buy in to your development in the
future. I have heard of mortgage companies refusing to provide mortages to
cohousing groups with what they considered to be overly restrictive
covenents. If your marketplace is large and busy this will not be a problem.
But remember, people will want to some day sell their units and you need to
be able to accomplish this. If units take 2-3 years to sell, then it can
make it very unattractive as a risk. The more narrowly you define yourself,
the smaller the potential market will be. 

There is also sometimes a gap between what is politically correct, what is a
belief set, and what is really necessary. It can be easy to get caught up in
social politics about all manner of issues and create more policy than you
really need. A good question to ask of any policy is,  Exactly what is the
current problem and how does this policy remedy the problem. It can be the
case that people are inclined to make a policy for a situation that does not
exist and may never do so. Or a sub group wants to codify their politics or
beliefs in the community agreements. More often than not, in my experience,
such things are not very useful, and too many such policies filter out too
many prospective buyers.  Community living is already highly risky as a real
estate investment, appealling to a tiny minority within the marketplace of
home owners. Be appropriately cautious about codifying social issues. I
recall a group once that argued for three months whether to ban the
consumption of alcohol within private homes in their cohousing group. That
turned out to be a huge waste of energy since their attorney informed them
that they would never be able to find a mortgage lender if they had that

Rob Sandelin
Naturalist, Writer
The Environmental Science School
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  • Guns: Harriet Lewis, January 30 2006
    • Filters you add to your membership Rob Sandelin, January 30 2006

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