Re: members responses to the question about cohousing communities that have not made it
From: Mac Thomson (
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2021 11:25:17 -0700 (PDT)
Back in 1999 when we developed Phase 1 of Heartwood Cohousing, we had planned 
to partner with Jim Leach so that banks would recognize Jim as a successful 
developer with a strong balance sheet and therefore offer us a construction 
loan. As it turned out, we were 100% pre-sold before obtaining our construction 
loan. That was good enough for the bank so we no longer needed to partner with 
Jim. Jim very graciously agreed to be our development consultant, but not our 
partner. That meant we paid him an hourly rate for his help, but didn’t end up 
sharing the risk or splitting the profits with him. The net result was that the 
community ended up with an extra $100K.

Two takeaways here:
Banks get very excited about a project being 100% pre-sold. Get there if you 
can. But of course that means that the pre-buyers need to have entered a legal 
agreement to buy a home and put enough money into the project to demonstrate 
they’re not going to walk away.
Jim is a great guy. Cohousing wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without 
Jim, Katie, Chuck, and many others who have given so selflessly.

Mac Thomson

Heartwood Cohousing
Phase 2 Project Manager


> On Aug 1, 2021, at 10:39 AM, Jim Bronson <jimbronsonashland [at]> 
> wrote:
> 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
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.