Re: Using a Management Company
From: Chuck Harrison (
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2020 13:08:29 -0800 (PST)
Hi Sharon,

At Duwamish Cohousing in Seattle WA we have 23 units and about half the
budget you do. We have never used a management company. Water, sewer, and
garbage are paid in common, budgeted into monthly dues (approx 25% of total
budget), and not metered to units. Gas and Electric are individually
metered and do not pass through the homeowner association.

Our facilities & maintenance tasks routinely fall behind and I am sure that
professional management would handle things more promptly. Our residents
are remarkably tolerant. FWIW I am skeptical that a management company
would get better or more cost-effective results, but more work would be
accomplished sooner.

Bookkeeping is handled using Quickbooks by a volunteer treasurer, often
with another volunteer assistant. No problems in the 5 years I have lived
here. We pay an accountant to prepare our annual tax filing.

We pay for a professional Reserves Study every few years, which is, I
believe, required by state Condo law.


On Wed, Nov 4, 2020 at 6:59 AM Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> 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 management.
> 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
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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