Re: What SHOULD I be worried about?
From: Holly Wilder (
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2014 13:54:56 -0700 (PDT)
I'll chime in here on reserves. So important!  I am a property manager and have 
managed a couple of HOA's, and also as a broker I show/sell homes in HOA's and 
I can tell you this is an issue all over the place.  Here at Nyland, I think we 
have actually gone a little too far in the other direction and have, in my 
opinion, too much in reserves - which sounds ok, except that comes from our 
dues, which are not so very low.  

Cohousings usually do better in this, it seems to me, than other HOA's.   
Owners and new communities forming seem to think more long-term than a typical 
developer just out to make a buck.  Developers won't be around 15 years later 
when the poo-poo collides with the air circulation device, but many coho owners 
likely will, and this tends to lead forming communities to put more resources 
here from the start.

Set it up well from the start and you will have no regrets. 

Also, we do a reserves study every few years to make sure we are on track.  The 
companies who perform these studies tend to be very conservative, so that keeps 
us saving as well.  Again, sometimes too much, but at least I never worry that 
a special assessment is likely.

- Holly
Nyland Cohousing in CO

Holly Wilder
Visionary Properties, LLC
hollywilder23 [at]
(303) 517-4180

On Jun 20, 2014, at 2:41 PM, David Heimann wrote:

> Hi Michelle,
>       Another thing to make sure about is having strong reserve funds for 
> eventually replacing major property items such as the roof, heating and hot 
> water, kitchen equipment, walkways, asphalts, siding, etc.  This includes 
> strongly funding the reserves to begin with (even though it may make for 
> higher unit prices) and strongly replenishing the reserves each year (even 
> though it may make for higher condo fees).
>       We (Jamaica Plain Cohousing) set strong reserves when we established 
> our initial budget and condo fees.  Everyone buying a unit bought into these, 
> and the momentum to keep up the reserves has been there ever since.  I've 
> heard stories about cohousing developments (and conventional developments for 
> that matter) where such strong reserves were not set up initially, and they 
> had to make hard and painful decisions several years later.
>       All the best in your efforts!
> Regards,
> David Heimann
> Jamaica Plain Cohousing
>> On Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 6:24 PM, Michelle Burce <michelleburce [at] 
>> wrote:
>>> Hi everyone!
>>> I'm part of a group working to build cohousing, and the resources available
>>> on this list and its archives have been AMAZINGLY helpful! Thank you all
>>> for sharing your wisdom over the years.
>>> So far, many of my fears have been allayed by this list, since so many of
>>> the responses to various problems seem to be "Communicate with your
>>> neighbors and it will all work out fine." Choosing who gets which lot? "We
>>> haven't had too many conflicts." Reserving the common house? "Usually not a
>>> problem." Worried about too little privacy? "Don't worry too much."
>>> So my question to you cohousing veterans is: What should we be worried
>>> about / work out in advance / get a good plan for NOW? What are the bumps
>>> in the road that actually take a solid process, or a professional, or a lot
>>> more money than we think? What one (or two or three) piece(s) of advice
>>> would you give some folks who have a group formed and meeting, have land
>>> and architects picked out, but have not yet dropped the huge sums of money
>>> to make this happen?
>>> I think we, as cohousing newbies, might be focusing our energies in
>>> worrying about those things that can get worked out, but are not seeing the
>>> things that can stymie a whole community.
>>> Thanks everyone!
>>> Michelle
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