Re: Developer Model of Co-housing
From: Sue Ellen Hiers (
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2015 10:30:37 -0700 (PDT)
Just want to say that everyone involved is reputable including the co-ho 
consultant. I'm just not sure that it is possible for the co-ho consultant to 
represent clients on both sides of this transaction (property owner and 
non-owners). My expectations were forged from years of reading about co-ho as a 
gathering of a group of people who would then pool their money to buy property. 
This developer model throws in a power imbalance that is very confusing for me 
to know how to navigate. 
Regards, Sue Ellen 

      From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>
 To: Sue Ellen Hiers <ncdl [at]>; cohousing-l [at] 
 Sent: Friday, September 4, 2015 11:47 AM
 Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Developer Model of Co-housing

> On Sep 3, 2015, at 5:11 PM, Sue Ellen Hiers <ncdl [at]> wrote:
> I would be much more comfortable if their consultant had come up with a legal 
> plan that protects all parties that we could read and digest before asking 
> for money. Unfortunately it feels like a high pressure sales pitch that if 
> you don't act now then you'll lose out on this or that savings or options. 
> Which again if these were not my friends I would not give it a second 
> thought.  

Exactly. I think that  the reasons cohousing had a problem working with 
professionals from traditional fields in the beginning is tripping over the 
expectations of their fields — traditional real estate speculation. If you 
can’t use a cohousing professional for one reason or another, at least contact 
one and offer then an hourly fee for answering questions on a Skype call (I 
prefer Zoom). Several people can be on the call—always a good idea. I can’t 
imagine that Chris-Scott Hansen, Ann Zabaldo, or Katie McCamant wouldn’t agree 
to this. All participate in this list.

On expectations of other fields — years ago I published a newsletter on 
forensics for mystery writers. I would often receive a call for an emergency 
subscription. This was in the days when we still had paper checks sent in the 
mail. (If you don’t remember those, I’m sure Wikipedia has an entry on them.)

When I received such a call they usually ordered all back issues and so the 
check would often be more than $100. I always sent the newsletters on faith 
that a check would arrive a week later. And they always did except when I got a 
call from a writer in Hollywood. No check. The expectations in Hollywood are 
just different.

A group in Florida put an ad in a major alternative lifestyle magazine. They 
received something like a thousand requests for information. No takers. The 
expectation of those kinds of publications is to provide information to 
thousands of people who aren’t prepared to actually do anything.

The same happened with a traditional real estate marketing firm. They do what 
they do and never measure results. 

This may seem far way from the person who wants money with no commitments but 
they are in their world, and it sound like they may not even be a reputable 
developers. Note my signature line.

Sharon Villines, Washington, DC

"Focus means saying no to the 100 good ideas out there. Innovation is saying no 
to 1,000 things." Steve Jobs

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