Re: Property Managers In Cohousing
From: Jim Snyder-Grant (
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 18:04:13 -0800 (PST)
New View Cohousing (Acton MA) has gotten deeper and deeper in to the
professional  management business over the last 17 years. We started with a
local handyman after a few years here, and smaller property management
firms of one or two people. Now we work with a large property management
firm. The main guy we work with has had a learning curve, but he's working
out well. He works closely (monthly meetings and lots of email and some
calls) with the maintenance committee and the committee takes care of
dealing with the rest of the community or other committees as needed. From
the property manager viewpoint it's kind of like working with a slow board,
but it works out.

What are our compelling reasons for working with a property manager?
-Large company can often find contractors when we can't (this was more true
in boom times).
-Since they handle both bookkeeping and hiring contractors, important stuff
gets done correctly, like collecting insurance certificates.
-Our aging property has some tricky problems. They can get us good advice
and good people to fix them.
-Our aging population is not doing as much physical work as we used to (and
we never did have a super-high participation rate). We still have
volunteers (and some paid community members) do some work, but we have more
work then we can find residents with appropriate skills to do them.  Having
a property manager and a maintenance committee means tasks get tracked,
prioritized and completed much better then they used to.

It's expensive, but we keep deciding it's worth it.

Jim Snyder-Grant
Home: 978 266-9409
Cell: 508 572-2985
18 Half Moon Hill
Acton MA 01720

On Sat, Dec 15, 2012 at 4:03 PM, John Carver <jcarver [at]> wrote:

> When Pacific Gardens cohousing community moved into our new building,
> this was quite a discussion, ranging from some wanting cohousers to do
> it all as community to some not trusting any members to manage such a
> task, foreseeing the deterioration of the property and chaos. We opted
> to try to manage as much as we could for now, but hired a consultant to
> help us get started with what we needed to know and to set up the first
> budget.
> After three years we are still doing the work ourselves, but get help
> and advice where needed and as much as we can. We've hired consultants a
> few times, but get most of our advice from the condo owners' association
> we belong to, called Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association (VISOA
> <>).
> Members of VISOA are owners of condominiums (called 'strata properties'
> here) in the region. Many of these are self-managed and the members have
> a wealth of experience to share. Just last weekend I attended an
> excellent workshop on reserve fund planning given by the association.
> So for the problems:
> 1. Yes, it takes time. Not just decisions, but learning what you need
> to know to make those decisions responsibly.
> 2. We do sometimes overlook things, like maintenance tasks. It's all
> about learning to take care of a large and complex building.
> 3. Not equally shared. Most of the work is being done by a small group
> of people. But I suppose that's true of any volunteer organization.
> The advantages:
> 1. We get to choose how we want to run things.
> 2. For better or worse, we share the responsibility.
> So far the only job that members are being paid for is janitorial. When
> we realized that we could not keep up with the regular cleaning (it's
> not a popular community job) we looked into hiring a company to come in
> weekly. But then we decided to give the job to people living here who
> needed paid work. Other work we can't handle is done by outside
> contractors.
> In conclusion I would say it's rewarding and good community building to
> do it yourself, but it is work. And you do need to seek out advice and
> direction from other building and condo owners, associations and
> professionals.
> John Carver
> Pacific Gardens Cohousing
> Nanaimo, BC
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