Re: Developer Model of Co-housing
From: Kathryn McCamant (kmccamantCOHOUSING-SOLUTIONS.COM)
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2015 12:25:16 -0700 (PDT)
Yes, there is risks in all real estate development, including cohousing

That being said, if you want to change the options we have for the types
of neighborhoods we want to live in, people need to be ready to take some
risks. Otherwise, we¹ll just keep getting what developers decide is their
least risky, most potentially profitable developmentŠ. And we know what
that looks like. 

People seem to think that developers are either: 1) evil money grabbers,
or 2) designing how we should live. But in reality, developers are just
business people (problem solvers) providing what they think the market
wants. The power is totally with the consumer. If consumers wants
something different, they need to be willing to pay for what it actually
costs to create (including people¹s profit), and put their money up to
prove they will really be there as buyers.

If cohousers had not been willing to take on these risks of development,
and put up their own money to show they are serious about wanting a
different kind of neighbhorhood, no cohousing would exist today. I think
the following quote from Lynn Twist book, Soul of Money sums it up well.

"One of the great dynamics of money is that it grounds us, and when we put
money behind our
commitments it grounds them, too, making them real in the world. We can
for better schools, a clean environment, (or a more socially and
environmentally sustainable neighborhood to live in) and world peace; we
can even volunteer, but when we also put our money behind those
intentions, we become really serious about them. Money is a great
translator of intention to reality, vision to fulfillment.²
>From The Soul of Money, by Lynn Twist.

All that being said, investing in an early stage cohousing development,
and the inherit risks that that entails, is not for everyone. People
should consider whether they are able and willing to take on that risk. If
not, I would urge them to consider buying into an existing cohousing
community where there is no more risk than buying any home.


Kathryn McCamant, President
CoHousing Solutions
241B Commercial Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
T.530.478.1970  C.916.798.4755

On 9/9/15, 10:41 AM, "Cohousing-L on behalf of Elizabeth Magill"
< [at] on
behalf of pastorlizm [at]> wrote:

>I certainly would expect that even if an owner or developer starts with
>the land that the intent would be that the owner would be selling the
>land to the LLC.
>(IF that is not true you might want to look at Land Trusts and see how
>the legal ownership of the house on the land is conveyed without the
>ownership of the land. Mobile home parks do that as well.)
>If however what you are talking about is putting money in before you are
>actually getting anything out of the deal, that is what happens in a
>traditional "lets get together and look for land" organizational
>structure. Mosaic required 5% of your anticipated home value to be
>invested long before there was anything solid (like land) to invest in.
>I, and two other households, waited as associate members until it was
>"safe" to join because the community had made a binding offer on land. We
>paid up, only to have the land deal fall thru. It was only at that point
>that I realized that there really isn't "safe" real estate investing.
>There was a very real chance that I would lose all the money I invested,
>really up to the day I closed on my home.
>In retrospect, yes, it would have been wise for me to have my own counsel
>(either an investment professional or a lawyer or even my brother-in-law
>who can read legal documents) to be on "my side" when I chose to join the
>LLC. The legal counsel and consultants were all on the "side" of the LLC.
>But of course I was becoming a member of the LLC and would have full
>decision making power so I didn't recognize at first that I was also
>choosing to invest in a risky business proposition.
>But someone has to invest (and risk) time and money before there is a
>solid thing to invest in, so that they can create that solid think.
>Berlin, MA
>On Sep 4, 2015, at 1:30 PM, Sue Ellen Hiers <ncdl [at]> wrote:
>> 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
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