Re: Transition from developer
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 2021 22:51:56 -0800 (PST)
Hello Nancy and all —

FIRST:  Congrats on successfully bringing your development process to a close.  
 Whew.  Long road, I’m sure!

See below.

Best --

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

One minute you’re young and fun.  And the next, you’re turning down the stereo 
in your car to see better.

NOTE: I am switching back to: zabaldo [at]  Many apologies!  

> On Jan 10, 2021, at 6:08 PM, Nancy Lowe <sciencecandance [at]> 
> wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I'm a member of the new Village Hill Cohousing in Northampton, MA, which is
> partially completed. Several households moved in a year ago, other homes
> under construction, and folks are scheduled to move in later this year. *If
> your cohousing, like ours, used a developer but was not "developer-driven,"
> we'd like to know what kinds of preparation you implemented (or wish you
> had implemented), in making the transition from the developer to the
> community taking ownership of the common house and common property.  *

If you are organized as a condo or coop, your condo/coop docs will lay out the 
process for the transition of the property from the developer to the community.

>   - What kinds of documentation do we need -- maps of where water and
>   power lines are buried, detailed plans (and construction pix) of the common
>   house, records of the legal status of conservation land, etc.?

The developer or the builder should provide you w/ a series of documents that 
specifies every aspect of the built environment right down to the paint. 

Did your developer have anything to do w/ your conservation easement?  If so, 
they should provide you w/ documentation of that task.  If not,  who has that 

>   - How should we prepare for what happens when physical things go wrong

You are right to be thinking about “when physical things go wrong” because they 
will go wrong.

Do you have a design team or facilities team that worked during development?  
If you do, transition that team/committee from the development process to the 
living in cohousing process. Some folks will drop off. Add other people as 
needed. Again, depending on how you are organized  Facilities management can be 
a HUGE undertaking.  you may wish to separate some of the work by having one 
team handle the CH and one the exterior of the buildings.  Are you a condo?  

Start a Wiki to keep records of the management of your built environment.  The 
Wiki can house contact info, invoices, receipts, etc.  Give everyone on your 
facilities team access to the Wiki so they can upload documentation.

>   -- the power goes out, common house appliances fail, water or sewer pipes
>   leak, etc.?

Yes.  All that can and often does happen.  Approve everyone on the 
team/committee to post info to the Wiki.

>   - What do we need to do to prepare for future decades -- preparing for
>   maintenance and repairs of common house, etc., adapting to a warming
>   climate, etc.?

Multi family housing e.g. condos, coops, generally have an assessment of the 
physical plant done every 5 years minimum.  This will inform you of when 
systems will need maintenance, repair or replacement.  There are professionals 
who provide this service. 

>   - What do you wish your community had thought of, at the time of this
>   transition?
Had a better idea of the workload of caring for a multimillion dollar facility.
> If you have advice about how your community handled (or didn't handle) this
> transition, we'd greatly appreciate it!

Build in plenty of redundancy in your facilities team (s).  We’re all 
volunteers in the maintenance of our communities— make sure all the tasks can 
be covered by another person in the event the 1st person is unavailable.  Like 
being an understudy for another actor.  :-)

Good luck to you and your community, Nancy.  

I’m sure others on this list will provide you w/ even more tasks and systems to 

Congrats again, Nancy!

> Thanks,
> nl
> ---
> Nancy Lowe
> Village Hill Cohousing, Northampton MA

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