Re: strategies to rein in escalating purchase prices
From: Stefani Danes (
Date: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:53:17 -0700 (PDT)
Olaf, this is a very difficult time to plan construction because of the 
intersection of reduced production and increased demand in building materials 
over the last year.  Everyone I’ve consulted believes the prices will start to 
come down later this year.  If you have the option of holding off on your 
project for a while—maybe up to a year?—you might not face the same problem.

Stefani Danes
Rachel Carson EcoVillage

On May 25, 2021, at 10:05 AM, Olaf Kula <kulaolaf1957 [at]> wrote:

Thank you Ann for your thoughtful response. I am with ABQ Co-housing, dba
Bosque Co-housing.

On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 09:16 Main Email <zabaldo [at]> wrote:

> 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 higher.
> 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.
> Snip
>> Please share any and all ideas.
>> Optimistically,
>> Olaf
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Stefani Danes FAIA LEED-AP

Architect and Adjunct Professor

Research Fellow, Remaking Cities Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

T: 412-441-2948

E: sdanes [at]

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