Re: Property Managers In Cohousing
From: Holly McNutt (
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 12:17:58 -0800 (PST)
OK, I'll chime in on this one. I AM a property manager by trade, managing a 
number of single-family homes, condos, and a couple of HOA's.  I am constantly 
comparing the two very different worlds of regular HOA management and 
CoHo-style self-management. In terms of where I choose to live, well, that is a 
no-brainer - you will not find me living in a "regular HOA" any time soon!   I 
love it that we make our own decisions and deal with all the day-to-day issues 
ourselves.  BUT it is WORK and it is SLOW.  Being a "get-it-done" kind of gal, 
it can be frustrating to watch Nyland struggle with small things that a hired 
mgr (working with a Board of Directors) would just crank through in nothing 
flat.  We need better lighting in the yoga room?  Great, I run out and buy 
lights, hire someone to install them, and it's done.  No discussion needed as 
to how many lights, where to place them, which lights to buy, etc..  In 
cohousing, as buildings and people age, and community service wanes, I can see 
where hiring a manager would have some large advantages, but it I think it 
would need to be a qualified resident who receives decent compensation for 
this, or an outsider who really wants to take the time to learn about cohousing 
and its specific needs and practices.  Very clear communication would be super 

Example: An outside manager might walk around and see trees in need of trimming 
and sick trees in need of removal, hire someone, pay the bill, and be done.  In 
a CoHo community, this might not go over so well.  "Where is the Russian 
Olive?!"  a residents might exclaim the next day.  "It was my favorite tree 
here and I remember when we planted it on my son's 10th birthday. I am 
devastated!"  You get the picture.  

An outside manager may, in all honesty, not have the patience to deal with the 
processes and the amount of community involvement that are so vital in 
cohousing.  Or it would take a pretty special person.  And it might cost a 
little more because services that could be provided internally (if volunteerism 
is sufficient) might be out-sourced. Plus you have to pay the manager.  Then 
again, property managers are usually pretty well networked with tradespeople 
and can often save money by knowing who is skilled and the best value. 

In general, I think if you can go on self-managing, that's the best option. But 
if things aren't getting done and the place is falling into a state of neglect, 
hiring a PM could really be advantageous, IF you get the right person.

- Holly Wilder (new name) at Nyland

On Dec 11, 2012, at 12:54 PM, Don Benson wrote:

> Arthur
> Great question, and wonderful to see it as developers continue to build 
> marketing efforts directed to seniors for cohousing with little discussion of 
> the maintenance management and the building and maintaining the fabric of 
> community (interdependence, social cohesion, social contracts, etc.) that 
> develop out of self maintenance.  I look forward to learning more.
> Thank you.
> Don Benson
> 503.296.7249
> It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give 
> happiness.   (Thomas Jefferson 1788)
> On Dec 11, 2012, at 11:42 AM, "Art Okner" <renko2828 [at]> wrote:
>> Is anyone out there in the cohousing world  using  or thinking of using a
>> "property manager" or any hybrids of a "property manager " we are an aging
>> community trying to deal with issues of keeping our community maintained and
>> as we age taking over work that we cannot do.
>> Arthur Okner
>> Silver Sage Village
>> 303 444-1099  
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