Re: Using a Management Company
From: Kathryn McCamant (
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2020 16:20:39 -0800 (PST)
We've been moved in since 2006, and have tried all variety of approaches to 
bookkeeping and property management. We originally used a member volunteer for 
bookkeeping, but changed to an outside bookkeeper because if something went 
wrong with the bookkeeping, we wanted someone we could fire. 

After frustrations working with a condo property management company (we simply 
don't fit into their business model), we switch to a local bookkeeping firm. It 
took a better part of a year to get the system working smoothly and the reports 
we want, but now it seems to be working very well with close overview of an 
active finance committee. 

Kathryn McCamant, President
CoHousing Solutions
Nevada City, CA 95959

and homeowner in Nevada City Cohousing (finance and landscape commitees)

On 11/4/20, 1:08 PM, "Cohousing-L on behalf of Chuck Harrison" 
< [at] on 
behalf of cfharr [at]> wrote:

    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. 
    > also use services that handle the check processing for condo fees. But 
    > so many people using direct deposit, etc., there are far fewer than even 
    > 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+ 
    > 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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