Re: Unit selection process
From: Diana Carroll (
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2011 12:41:33 -0800 (PST)
Ah, not to disagree with my friend and neighbor Cat in a public forum
but,well, I must disagree...

>> At what point in the process did buyers firmly (irrevocably) commit to a
> >> specific kind of unit (multi-story or flat, small or large, etc.)?
> >>
> Irrevocably? When they signed purchase and sale agreements.
Irrevocably?  At closing.

We had unit swapping going on long after units were supposedly locked
down.  Some people walked away from their P&S, leaving their homes
unclaimed, and other people switching to those units.  Me being one of
those people. We switched units well after construction had
fact, when construction was almost complete.  We walked away from $5-10K of
upgrades we paid cash for in order to do so.

(Hell, we have a unit switch going on right now, 3 years AFTER closing!
But that's perhaps a different situation.  :-) )

> > Once the mix of units was chosen, how did you go about allowing
> > individuals to choose specific units?
> >
> We did this, and it turned out to work beautifully:
We did this and it worked out fairly well.  Cat's perspective and mine
might differ in that she was further up the seniority list than I was.   I
never felt really great about where we ended up, which is why we switched
when the opportunity presented itself.

The process was also not anything like as simple as those short paragraphs
in the policy imply.  We had a variety of complicating factors.  In
particular, at the very last minute we added the possibility of units
having basements (they were originally to be built on slabs), but if one
unit in a building had a basement, they ALL had to have basements, and only
some people wanted to pay for basements.   A lot of finagling had to happen
to get everyone who wanted a basement above one, and everyone who didn't
not (and units not yet sold) above one.  (To make it work, one household
had to purchase two basements.  it was a chaotic and nutty couple weeks!)

>> What pitfalls should we be on the look out for?

>Keep both the number unit types and the number of building types small.
Also anticipate the possibility of people not buying the house they are
"committed" to buying.  What happens then?  Don't paint yourselves in a

(My main lesson learned in building cohousing: it's never ever EVER as
simple as you think it's going to be.  Or as cheap.)


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