Using a Management Company
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2020 06:58:55 -0800 (PST)
I have long believed that management companies are not effective for cohousing. 
Now I have an opportunity to lead a study to see if I can convince other people 
here. We pay close to $2,000 a month for both facilities and financial 

Independent consultants are available for specific facilities related issues 
and they have a higher level of expertise. A lot of information is available 
for the cost of membership in the CAI, which an information source and a 
networking opportunity with other condo owners. We have also had a problem with 
turnover — just as we learn how to work together, our manager will leave and we 
start over even though we are still working with the same management company.

The financial end is handled at the management company by a book keeper that 
uses the same computer based systems that we could use ourselves. They also use 
services that handle the check processing for condo fees. But with so many 
people using direct deposit, etc., there are far fewer than even 10 years ago. 
The current company has done well on actually paying bills (not all have) but 
we do an enormous amount of monitoring, receipt tracking, double checking 
accounting, etc.

I know some communities have mentioned in the past that they do their own 
financial accounting. I’m interested in hearing from communities where the 
budget includes the whole community — not lot based models where the homeowners 
pay for their own property. Our budget for 2021 is $260,000+ and includes 
community internet, tv antenna, satellite dishes, water, gas, satellite TV in 
the common house, etc. 

It was a revelation when going to a CAI annual conference to see who many 
services are available and which management companies are using. I believe we 
are paying for the middle-management.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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