Sympathetic lenders
From: dahako (
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 04:30:49 -0700 (PDT)

There are stable lenders out there that can navigate the conventional markets, 
or their margins, and are also sympathetic to cohousing goals.? CDFIs, aka 
community development financial institutions, have community lending missions 
that may be compatible with affordable cohousing.? Some of them are big enough 
to handle a cohousing deal. There are also local or regional banks that do not 
resell their mortgage notes (such as BB&T) who may be interested in cohousing 
for their own reasons.? I may not, because of restrictions related to my 
employment, take on the task of researching these resources and establishing 
relationships with such lenders, but I bet there are some people on this list 
who could.

For affordable housing, the critical gaps are usually 1) on the front-end, 
where deals need extra pre-development money to plan, secure site options, and 
establish a solid project team; and 2) on the back-end, where a source has to 
be found for the subsidy needed to make units affordable.? Given the pre-sell 
rate of a typical cohousing, there are usually conventional lenders around that 
are willing to provide construction financing once 1 and 2 above are 

On the philosophical question of investment v community, I find that the 
dichotomy muddies the argument for me.? Money is just a symbolic way of 
expressing value of a thing or a process in a way that allows us to make 
comparisons and decisions.? We all value cohousing highly, so it should cost 
more, right?? Maybe not, if we are embedded in a culture that values the 
structures more than the community.? That doesn't mean that a person putting 
their hard-earned money up for a cohousing unit shouldn't worry about how their 
money will hold its value, it just means they are getting a screaming deal 
because they are only paying for the house and they are getting something they 
find even more valuable: community.

So, I think the concern is maybe that folks are worried that people will buy a 
cohousing unit only for the building/house, and not value the community that 
comes with it?

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, Maryland
"Where the sedum on the green roof is spreading out and digging in."




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