Re: Creative financing of individual portions of the common house
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 09:58:32 -0700 (PDT)

I can't help you, but likewise wonder how you came to be in this situation. RoseWind (Port Townsend WA, long built) was a "lot development" model. Our initial buy-in of $36,000 went in approximately equal thirds to paying for all the land, for the infrastructure (roads, sewer, power, parking, fire hydrants, etc etc), and the common house. Then it was up to the individual members to get a house on their lot, at their own expense.

We did run into some shortfalls, as we had planned a zero-sum development budget, with our lot sales adding up to just what we budgeted for expenses. We forgot to factor in the taxes on unsold lots, and the inflation of building costs for the common house as time passed prior to having accumulated the money. We had no financing on the common parts of the project, just waited till the buy-in money was there to spend.

We also sometimes decide on new capital projects, but don't commit to anything without having identified where the money will come from.

Perhaps there is some guidance in one situation we faced: a problem could be solved with X amount of money, but not everyone was willing to pay for it, but everyone was ok with it happening, if it didn't cost them. So we wrote what we were willing to pay on slips of paper, someone added it up. The shortfall was noted and we did the slips again, and some people added to their pledge, and we had it. If you are in a situation where you want or need something that's more than some people can afford, you can do such a straw poll to see if the total is "there" somehow, in effect via a sliding scale. Otherwise, I'd think you'd need to scale back the overall project budget.

Lynn Nadeau
RoseWind Cohousing
where we have a really nice, sunny 2-3 BR house for re-sale, with solar water and grid-tied PV: photos and more info at

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