Re: Your community social fabric and HOA dues
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2017 12:19:28 -0700 (PDT)
> On Oct 30, 2017, at 11:32 AM, Elizabeth Magill <pastorlizm [at]> 
> wrote:
> -We may still have some conflict between folk who paid full price and
> people who bought the homes after the prices were discounted. (This
> maps with early move-in versus late move-in--over two years, so maybe
> money wasn't the issue?)

Were the units discounted at the beginning and then discounted after 2 years 
because the market fell?

We did have trouble with one resident who bought a unit a few years after we 
moved in, now gone. We were talking about a transfer fee for those who sell 
units. She thought it was unfair of those who got “cheap units” to charge those 
who moved in after several years and paid high market prices. 

She was totally oblivious of all the work we had done to improve the property 
so the units were selling at market rates — as hers did when she moved. Advice: 
take pictures the first few months to record the bare ground, toyless green, 
and half empty CH. Harder to take pictures of confusion in governance and in 
suddenly managing millions of dollars in real estate.

Transfer fees are a hot topic in cohousing but I think there is a strong case 
for them. Every time a unit changes hands the community does a lot of work 
orienting new members. Supporting them in getting settled. Helping them when 
something goes wrong. And us feeling abandoned — not a small consideration.

We now have a very active Resale Pod that does quarterly tours and 
orientations, hosts people at social events and at membership and team 
meetings. This way people are more aware of what they are choosing and oriented 
before they even make a bid. The Pod also works with sellers on brochures, 
counseling on showing their unit, etc. They also arrange open houses. The whole 
process has gotten down to a schedule — Open house on Sunday, bids due by 
Wednesday, responses by Friday. There is no requirement that people be oriented 
before placing a bid but it has happened that way. I think the Pod has done 
quick orientations and visits to events. We have “an announcement list” and 
keep track of who wants a 2BR, 3BR, etc. One couple has started attending 
social events in anticipating of being able to bid on a unit that is coming 
available in a few months. There is more than one interested party, so we don’t 
even have to have an open house.

The Pod explains very clearly that this service is worth 7% of the sales price 
which is the rate realtors charge. The money is routinely placed in the Special 
Projects/Capital Improvements reserve fund. Requests for the money to be used 
for a particular purpose are not binding but respected when we can.  Because of 
this, we have a very healthy Special Projects Reserve. We can actually think 
about doing some of the things we have talked about doing but have not been 
able to do.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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