Re: communities that handle property buys and sells internally?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2019 08:35:14 -0700 (PDT)
> On Oct 18, 2019, at 7:41 PM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:
> Hello Katie and all — I really appreciated hearing different experiences in 
> home sales in cohousing.  I bet we could write a book about cohouser sellers 
> and buyers.  I certainly have some tales.

One discovery over watching 20 years of sales is that except during the 
non-depression of 2008, units that have been hard to sell have to do with the 
lack of clear communications on the part of the owner. Phone calls are not 
returned, listing price not established, waiting for a better offer, etc. 
Buyers just quit trying or run out of time. One unit was empty almost a year 
because three buyers just gave up because they couldn’t  get straight 

The Resale and Rental Pod meets with the seller and sets out options and a 
clear picture of the process. It doesn’t always happen this way, but it’s tour 
on Sunday, offers by Wednesday, and contract accepted or negotiations end by 
Friday. That sets expectations for both the buyer and seller.

The Resales and Rental Pod has greatly helped with this, even though they are 
not directly involved in the sale. Since the buyers know them through the tours 
and other contacts, the potential buyers can consult them about what is going 
on. If things get too difficult, the Pod can also recommend that the seller 
work with a real estate agent.

I don’t think we have had an agent successfully sell any units although they 
have tried. In two cases in which agents were involved the units were actually 
purchased by a community contact who would have bought the unit in the first 
place. I find it uncomfortable when a unit is listed with an agency. It means 
there will probably be a keybox on the door so strange agents will also be 
coming and going. Even agents well-educated about us can get it wrong when 
explaining what we are. One agent never showed prospects the common house!!!! 
Ever!!! Just touring the common house and property is a good opportunity to 
explain the community. The units themselves are fairly ordinary. That’s not why 
people move 
here. I think having an agent also sets expectations and tone — the buyers act 
as if they are looking at a condo unit everywhere else.

> Here at Takoma Village our Resale and Rental POD (team) has facilitated 14 
> home sales in the last four years resulting in over $100,000 in donations to 
> the community because we save the seller 6% on the transaction.

This is truly a godsend. We have rarely had a capital improvements or special 
projects fund. All of us have worked to develop the property and the community 
so that the units sell so quickly at market or above market rate. (Above market 
rate is in the eye of the beholder but I stick to that assessment.) So it feels 
like a thank you. It feels good. It takes a bit of the sting off of the 
household leaving in the first place. 

Having a household move is also a lot of work for everyone else. Negotiating 
all the “stuff” that has to be gotten rid of and ends up on our Take It or 
Leave It Table. Transferring tasks. Guiding inspectors, assessors, etc. 
Ensuring that correct information is conveyed. No matter how organized the 
buyer is some of this always falls on the rest of us because appts are not kept 
on time or people just show up because they expect us to have a management 
office. Then we go through it again with the household moving in. That’s a 
happy time but requires a lot of support and conveying of information so 
everyone gets off on the right foot.

If you don’t have a resale and rental pod, I advise forming one.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.