Re: rental cohousing?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2011 06:41:18 -0800 (PST)
On 3 Feb 2011, at 10:43 AM, Naomi Anderegg wrote:

>  I've thought 
> about buying a small apartment building to convert into all-rental or 
> rent-to-own-condo-style cohousing & am wondering, quite frankly, if it would 
> be 
> a good investment. 

I was surprised a the conference last year how many people were there who were 
looking for cohousing communities — not just people who were connected and in 
development, I expected those — but people who had no connections at all and 
were relatively open geographically. On the tours they formed groups to compare 
notes on all the communities they had seen.

I met a woman on one bus who had joined 3 groups only to have some problem at 
the last minute and ending up with no group. Either she moved across country 
for work or they disbanded. She was currently participating in a group just to 
have a group but didn't want to live where they were building. She was very 
discouraged about cohousing because she couldn't face getting emotionally 
connected again and being left behind.

On the tour we saw Nomad Cohousing which has 11 units and shares a commonhouse 
with a local theater group. She just walked into the courtyard and had an idea 
— "I'll buy a small apartment complex and start renting to the people I want to 
rent to. In a short time, I will have cohousing. It's no fail!" 

Of course, she had the money to do this, which not all of us have. And in 
California, there seem to be many complexes of small stucco houses or an 
apartment building around a courtyard that opens onto the street. Perfect set 

When I got back to the conference building, I met a man who had been looking at 
cohousing only because his building had gone up for sale and he was going to 
have to move. He really didn't want to move. He had lived there for years and 
it was his community. Now it was going to be broken up. At the conference, he 
realized he didn't have to move or lose his community. He was talking to 
developers about how to finance purchasing the building himself and keep the 
community together.

(I don't have their names — conference-itis. You don't write down names because 
the people are so real you think you will never forget them or you write them 
down with no notes so you end up with a meaningless list of which one was that?)

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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