Re: To HIre or Not to Hire a Cohousing Consultant?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 12:47:30 -0700 (PDT)
> On Apr 22, 2019, at 2:48 PM, Lynne MARKELL <lmarkell [at]> wrote:

> Everyone in our group has acknowledged that we should have hired a cohousing 
> consultant earlier in our process. We also acknowledge that we did not charge 
> enough for equity memberships so we would have had the money to do so. 
> I would say good luck, but you need knowledge and information more than luck.

I think this is good advice. It is also helps you do reality testing. 

In addition to early money helping you test commitment, but it also allows you 
to take advantage of that initial excitement before people get so frustrated 
that the process takes too long. One of the reasons I was even willing to look 
at cohousing in the mid-90s was that it advocated/encouraged/respected 
professional advice and services.

But many early groups make the mistake of thinking they could handle the whole 
process of contracting out the construction process because they had people in 
the group who knew something about building or design. They lost a lot of money 
and the failure rate was high. 

One person mentioned that the closer to construction groups got, the more 
details (and promises) prospective members wanted. From word one, it has to be 
clear that "we are all in this together. We can do what we can all do. If we 
want a 12 ft ceilings, then we have to figure out how to make it affordable.” 
One group of members, even if they are equity members, can’t promise things to 
another group of members. Lots of trade-offs will have to be made in order to 
meet the abilities, needs, and resources of 25-30 households.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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