Re: Saving up for a capital expense
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2020 18:05:46 -0800 (PST)
Hi Linda!

I could be wrong about this but one of your reserve funds should be a Capital 
Improvements fund. It’s just another reserve fund. You fund it using the same 
formula used to determine contributions to your other reserve fund(s).

You are correct that w/out this fund you would either ask for a cash call or 
special assessment and you don’t wanna do that.  Think of your various reserve 
funds as savings accounts.  You are bound by your state laws on how to fund and 
use the accounts but in essence they are just very fat piggy banks.

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Member, Board of Directors
Mid Atlantic Cohousing
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA

It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

–Wendell Berry, “Our Real Work”

NOTE: Please add my new email address to your CONTACTS list.   I’m 
transitioning to this new email address.  Please start using annzabaldo [at]

> On Nov 11, 2020, at 8:23 PM, Linda Hobbet <coho [at]> wrote:
> Thank you to the people who answered my question, both on and off the list. 
> It's interesting to see how many different ways communities manage their 
> budgets and resources.
> Many of the answered focused on the Long-term Reserve Funds for replacing 
> existing infrastructure in the future as it is predicted to wear out. I 
> probably wasn't clear enough that I am asking about how to save up for new 
> capital improvements. When we value engineered our construction plans we had 
> to cut out a lot of things we couldn't afford at the time. That doesn't mean 
> we don't want them at some time but how do we save up for something we can't 
> afford in one year.
> Thank you,
> Linda
> On 11/4/2020 5:45 PM, Elizabeth Magill wrote:
>> Do you have a capital expense in mind that wouldn't be in the reserves?
>> We have two reserves--HOA reserves for buildings
>> and Cohousing reserves for furniture, washing machines, lawnmowers, hot
>> tub, etc. Things that cost not very much, more than a year's normal budget,
>> and that we want to be able to purchase as needed, without having predicted
>> it in the budget.
>> But it's still "reserves". Everything else we do not carry over.
>> Liz
> -- 
> 706-202-7278
> coho [at]
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