Re: cohousing resales
From: Sally Wright (
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2006 20:41:28 -0700 (PDT)
That's a great challenge!  This is what I would suggest:

- That you shift your point of view from "the real estate market has been
slow" to "the intentional community/cohousing market is nation-wide"

- That you view the four houses for sale as an opportunity.  Who would your
potential buyers be?  A group of families who wanted to significantly change
their lifestyles (e.g., more earth-friendly and/or more communitarian) and
interested in doing it as a group.  They are out there somewhere, and would
be grateful to find you.

Now, finding these families is quite a challenge!  Your market is national,
but since marketing to a national audience can be daunting and expensive,
consider the regional market first.

Where to find these people:
Consider running classified ads on websites and newsletters of the following
types of organizations:
- Local/regional Sierra Club and other similar organizations
- Ecologically-oriented organizations
- Communities Magazine
- Fellowship for Intentional Community
- Progressive religious groups

Post fliers on bulletin boards of the following types of organizations:
- Nursery schools
- Alternative schools
- Organic food stores
- Alternative medicine practices

A classified ad should be run more than once; you usually get a discount
when you run the same ad multiple times.

In our community we have a policy of splitting reasonable marketing expenses
between the seller and the community.  We do this for two reasons: we've
developed the expertise and want to share it; we value being involved in the
selection of the potential buyer.

Here is another marketing principle to remember: people who buy into
cohousing are making a lifestyle choice.  They first want to learn as much
as possible about your community, to see if they would fit in.  Thus any ad
should have a short description of what your community is about.  More
important, your website should give enough detail so that they can get a
feel for the community.  I might be wrong about this, but when I checked out
your website, I didn't see profiles of community members.  You might
consider adding them.  Potential buyers want to see if even a couple of
people are "like" them, in age, values, stage-of-life, and how they spend
their discretionary time.  Your website had some great links to the
surrounding geographical areas, school systems, etc.  Important.

After you pass that "test", they'll check out what's available -- number of
bedrooms, and price.

Then of course there's word-of-mouth marketing, which can be the most
effective of all. I'm assuming that you've already tried this.  Don't stop,
just because it hasn't worked so far.

There's a lot more to it than what I've enumerated here, but it's a start.
If you'll be coming to the National Cohousing Conference in Chapel Hill at
the end of July, I'll be doing a presentation on how to successfully sell
your cohousing unit.  I'll be bringing some sample fliers, classified ads,
and will introduce a model of how each cohousing community can successfully
partner with the seller. I'd be happy to help you further there!

Non-disclaimer: I am NOT a real estate agent but have some background in
real estate and have extensive background in marketing.  Most important, I
know how critical it is to attract families who will be excited about
contributing to your community!

Sally Wright
Pleasant Hill Cohousing  (San Francisco Bay Area)
shwright [at]

-----Original Message-----
From: patriciadewitt [at] [mailto:patriciadewitt [at]] 
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2006 2:11 PM
To: cohousing-l
Subject: [C-L]_ cohousing resales

I have recently taken on helping with the marketing of the resales at
Milagro Cohousing  We have 4 homes for sale, the
real estate market here has been slow with very few people looking.
I would like to know how the houses are selling in other cohousing
communities and how long is it taking to sell.  What type of marketing tools
are you using to attract people who are interested in cohousing?

Thank you for your help, Patricia DeWitt
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