Re: affordable cohousing lot development
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 10:23:03 -0800 (PST)
One of the overlooked options for lower cost housing development is to use
the lot development, self builder model. In this model, land is developed
into building lots, individual owners then build what they want.  The price
of the lot can include an amount dedicated to the commonhouse.  At
Sharingwood we did this and lots originally sold for $25,000 plus a $3,000
commonhouse fee.  Self building small houses can then get you into a house
for a smaller fund.  We did most of the construction work on our commonhouse
ourselves and while I do not have the total budget in front of me, our 2400
sq foot building cost less than $200,000 which was paid for by adding a
profit on the lots we self developed and sold. Since we contracted and self
developed much of the work, we actually still have a nice chunk of money
left for a future common element.  It was decided early on to not have
mobile homes, but obviously that would have reduced the cost of a household
considerably, and reduced the overall tax liability.  Yes, we committed
hundreds of person  hours to building projects, but in the process we also
built a strong community foundation and a do it ourselves confidence.  We
did have experienced builders in the group which made this possible.

Rob Sandelin
Snohomish County, WA

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