Finding and Vetting a Developer
From: Barbara Smith (
Date: Sun, 30 May 2021 16:45:01 -0700 (PDT)
(The original post was on May 25)I'm a member of Hager Homestead, a developing, 
over-55 cohousing community in Littleton, MA, that has been working with a 
local developer, Matt Blackham, since June of 2018. Before that, the founders, 
Victoria Thatcher and Mayhew Seavey, had failed to reach agreement with a 
developer (who wanted to be paid upfront for his work).  At this point, for 
professional guidance, they contacted Katie McCamant, president of CoHousing 
Solutions, who helped bring the idea of cohousing to the United States. 

With McCamant’s assistance, the two founders began contacting architects they 
knew personally for advice and recommendations for a developer. One architect 
recommended three developers, among them Matt Blackham. Victoria and Mayhew 
interviewed all the developers, liked Matt, and Katie McCamant helped by 
interviewing him. 

Most important, McCamant gave Mayhew and Victoria her own criteria for 
selecting a developer:
*The developer understands the importance of partnering -- his interests and 
your interests are aligned

*He’s “bank-able” – the bank will loan him the money because he has the money

*He has skill, experience and resources to be the project leader during 

*He has solid experience in developing multi-family housing 

*He’s willing to meet weekly to ensure good communications

*Has good character qualities.  In Matt’s case, he is well-educated, 
articulate, communicates easily, is relaxed, patient, has a good sense of 
humor, is hard working, diligent, and reliable.

Victoria has often said that this advice enabled this group to select a 
wonderful developer. Without his help Hager Homestead might still be looking 
for land, instead of being poised to purchase it, and – we hope – to break 
ground late this year. 
ThanksBarbara B Smith

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