members responses to the question about cohousing communities that have not made it
From: Jim Bronson (
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2021 09:39:19 -0700 (PDT)
Deep appreciation to all who have contributed their thoughts to the very
compelling issue.

As I approach my friends and colleagues about investing in River Song to
help us get past our equity gap and get into construction I find a couple
of ways of understanding our need for bridging cash.

1) A year ago we might have been able to get a construction loan with a
higher loan to cost ratio - this year it is 65%, leaving 35% to be raised
by our community.  That's a big amount of equity for a group to come up
with before there are any structures to give the real estate added value
beyond raw land.

2) Real estate developers with a track record are known to banks and
construction partners.  A cohousing community is a relative unknown, no
matter how committed and motivated the members say they are.  We cohousers
are competing for capital in a market with well established players.

3) Expecting people to be able to put 20% (and more) of their home value
forward more than a year before they can sell their existing real estate
means finding members who have somehow done some serious saving and/or
equity build up.

Altogether, cohousing is a tough business model.  Thank goodness for
farsighted colleagues who know how precious is the vision of forming
an intentional neighborhood and collaborating well to deal with the many
bumps along the way.

Jim Bronson
Design Team
River Song Cohousing Community
Eugene, Oregon

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