Re: Unit selection process
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2011 13:44:57 -0800 (PST)
>>> 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.)?

What they do is sign a contract before the construction loan is granted. 
Typically the banks want 70-75% of either the units or the square footage sold 
with down payments on deposit before they grant a construction loan. 

The group decides if that money is refundable or not if they walk away. 

>>> Once the mix of units was chosen, how did you go about allowing
>>> individuals to choose specific units?

We used seniority based on when they put down a non-refundable membership fee — 
I think $500. When someone withdrew or changed units the people below them in 
order of seniority were offered that unit. 

Before we chose units, people's seniority rank moved up when someone withdrew. 
A person who had been 46 on the list could have ended up at 11. Lots of turn 
over early on — and some at the point of requesting contracts and down 
payments. And some before closing.

People need to have outs as their circumstances change. The group just needs to 
cover their own risks when that happens. That's one reason not to do severe 
customizations. What happens when someone leaves and the group has to sell that 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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