Re: A question about resold units
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2012 05:37:23 -0800 (PST)
On Nov 20, 2012, at 7:51 AM, "Lautner, Patricia" <Patricia.Lautner [at]> wrote:

> We have a transfer fee written into our by-laws.  We've never evoked this fee 
> because it only applies when a unit makes a substantial gain over their 
> original purchase price.  It think it's written that, if the unit sells for 
> 20% higher than the original purchase price, the community will get 1% of the 
> amount over 20%. 

Another item to get into the bylaws before you move in.

Our first active resident to move out, gave us $10,000 and it was a blessed 
event. I will remember her generosity forever. She designated it to our then 
non-existent capital improvement fund. Two others have given smaller amounts.

One reason transfer fees are different in cohousing is that any profit an 
individual household makes when they move was given to them by the other 
residents as well as the market. What cohousers are doing is creating wealth, 
both financial and social. We all work (as much as some work) to build that. 

A second reason is that it takes a long time to bring new people up to speed. 
It's hard work. I begin before the people move in. As soon as the contract is 
signed, I ask about adding them on the community email lists, set up access to 
the Members Only section of the website and the calendar, and send an email 
with all the information they need to get utilities turned on, avoid putting a 
nail into the sprinkler system, who to ask about what, etc. And answer 

Once they move in, another person does an orientation and they are assigned a 
buddy. For at least a year, various people will be answering questions and 
explaining things and trying to be sure to include them.

It's work. No matter how much the new people are energetic and excited about 
cohousing, it's work. In fact in some cases where the people are very energetic 
about getting involved, it's more work because they cause friction when they 
don't intend to and begin doing things we have implicitly agreed not to do. One 
couple who moved in had relatives living in cohousing who told them to just lay 
low for a year. They are pretty low key people but now are very involved. The 
quiet year did help avoid friction.

So that transfer fee is well-appreciated by those left behind. And they earn 
it. We even help sell units!

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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