Re: strategies to rein in escalating purchase prices
From: Main Email (
Date: Tue, 25 May 2021 06:16:28 -0700 (PDT)
Hello Olaf— I feel your pain.

Unless I’m completely mistaken most cohousing communities have to go through 
this period Sometimes called “value engineering. “ Not unusual for our eyes to 
be a lot bigger than our checkbooks. 

It stings.

We certainly did that here when Takomavillage in Washington DC was right at 
construction phase.  It’s been over 20 years so I don’t recall the details but 
I do remember one consideration we had was to keep anything inside the walls – 
geothermal, insulation, etc. - because
obviously changing or adding things later inside the walls would be so much 

Unfortunately, you are also trying to build at one of the most difficult times 
for construction. Lack of labor, lack of materials, unstable supply lines, vs 
super demand for housing. I heard just yesterday that people whose homes were 
burnt out in the California fires 4 years ago are still waiting for checks to 
rebuild their homes wherever they’re going to build them.  Get in line…

Just thinking out loud here… The first place to start is with your architect 
and engineer. Or your developer or your developer consultant - whomever is on 
your professional team. One of these folks is responsible for bringing in the 
design within the budget. So I would be going back to them to find out what 
they recommend. 

I would not recommend building the common house later. Later always gets to be 
much much much later. If at all   You may end up with a Common House that 
doesn’t suit your needs. My experience shows that the common house is the place 
that the group will seek to make cuts. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but 
the cuts can get so deep because they don’t want to take it out of their 
personal houses. The common house becomes second cousin to the whole 
development. Or maybe even a third cousin. Or maybe even at least one case I 
know of they never got their Common House at all.   Consider removing bells and 
whistles  from your individual units.  I know. It’s heresy. But not within the 
Cohousing tradition in which you are looking to Build a Community not just 
bricks and mortar housing. As Katie McCamant says: you are building a 
neighborhood. I take that to mean the overall feel and accessibility to common 
features of the whole construction.  What’s going to draw people out into the 
whole space Not just the interior and exterior of individual homes but the 
whole gestalt?

Do you have a website so we can see the design?

Just a gentle gentle reminder to everyone posting… It’s a great service to 
people reading like me to know the name of your community, where you are in the 
world and just a little something about where you are in your process for 
instance: forming, building, built, expanding.  One of my goals is to build a 
sense of Community whatever medium I’m using.  This is especially true for an 
email list.  Even us old timers contributing to the list I might be mindful 
about including this information because there are always new folks Joining us.

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington DC

Sent from my iPhone
All tiipos ... curtesy of Siri  :-)

> On May 25, 2021, at 7:36 AM, Olaf Kula <kulaolaf1957 [at]> wrote:
> We are looking for advice on strategies that different co-housing
> communities have used to rein in escalating home purchase prices.  Our most
> recent construction estimates are some 30% higher than most of us were
> aware of.   The sticker shock threatens the ability of some members on
> fixed incomes to remain.

> Please share any and all ideas.
> Optimistically,
> Olaf

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