Re: Self-developing cohousing vs. working with a developer
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 11:04:22 -0800 (PST)
> On Dec 16, 2020, at 12:59 PM, Swenja Ziegler <zieswenja1 [at]> 
> wrote:
> Our budding community (Truckee River Cohousing, CA) has received quite a
> "budget shock" when our likely developing partner presented us with
> realistic pricing. Some in our group think that we might save money by
> simplifying the design, building a smaller community and self-developing.
> We would love to hear from other cohousing communities who have
> self-developed about the pros and cons of going down that path.

Advice from working with the early stages of two failed cohousing communities 
and a third that worked (and I live there) plus almost 30 years of reading 

Unless you have a professional in your group who is experienced in real estate 
development a developer will save you much more than they will cost. They will 
also know the best ways to cut costs and will have credibility with banks and 

What cohousing is is real estate development. You are trying to build a 
multi-household complex that will add value in the range of several million 
dollars if you are doing market-rate housing.

Generally, I think most groups are finding that a smaller number of units is 
not necessarily less expensive. 

I’m not a developer but responding quickly because no one else has chimed in.

Sharon Villines
affordablecohousing [at]
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