Re: Property Managers In Cohousing
From: Holly McNutt (
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 10:20:59 -0800 (PST)
Hey, thanks for chiming in.  As a property manager, I love hearing success 
stories! - Holly at Nyland

Holly Wilder
Visionary Properties LLC
hollywilder23 [at]
(303) 517-4180 cell
(303) 447-8204 fax

On Jan 23, 2013, at 7:04 PM, Jim Snyder-Grant wrote:

> 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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