cohousing-L at
From: Erika Lockhart (
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 21:26:21 -0700 (PDT)
Marganne & all re: this topic:

I'm glad to hear interest in keeping this topic on the list because it seems
to me that there are probably about as many ways to "co-house" as there are
people, and if each of us had our own e-mail list, we might wait for a long
time to find anyone else to join!

I wrote earlier to the list after seizing on the idea of co-housing for a
few friends and I who are at or near 50 and would like to at least
semi-retire in the next few years.  I put together some spreadsheets with
estimates on a buy-in to new construction for either three or four people,
including a possible buy-in or rental situation for one of the potential
participants, who has since opted out.  One of us already owns the land and
some improvement which may or may not be factored into the buy-in cost for
the others. The rest of us just finally met to discuss our desires and
theories about how this would all work, and I appreciate all the
contributions to this list that taught me a lot, as well as the personal

It seems to me that we may have an easier time of it because we already have
all of the people, which gives us a scope of the project.  We've agreed,
tentatively, that we will build a fairly conventional house, which will help
to preserve the retail value in case we decide to liquidate.  None of us
really wants to deal with unknown renters, and we are going to require that
each person's share be insured for payoff in case of financial or health
problems, and that no ownership interest in the property can be distributed
until the last person dies or all the remaining partners decide to
liquidate.  We want to build a home that's handicapped accessible, (two of
us already have pretty bad knee problems) and when we got together at the
property, we talked about siting of the house and driveways to avoid
requiring stairs for access to the home.  We'll have wide doorways and
accessible showers.  We'll build an extra room for future live-in help, and
guests in the meantime.

Instead of building large living suites, we're going to build outbuildings
that can be used for projects, privacy or intimate guests (we're referring
to one as our "love shack", perhaps rather optimistically!)

Living in one house is about the only way we'll be able to do this for
around $100,000 per person, so our plan won't work for people who want their
own detached houses.  We're still not sure about some of the day to day
details, but we've decided to meet again formally next year to work on this
some more, with brainstorming in the meantime.

Maybe the people on this list who are looking for communities should all
have a big face-to-face meeting and see if they can form their own.  With a
time-frame of maybe 3-5 years, perhaps some friendships may blossom that
could enable other projects like ours!  I'm sure that most of us in this age
range are finding that we are losing friends more frequently than we used
to, and an opportunity to make new friends with similar interests is
definitely a blessing.

Best wishes to all,


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