Co-housing is essentially a form of intentional housing with the advantages of moving away from an isolated lifestyle toward a more community minded one, being economically advantageous, environmentally friendly and having the ability to continue to make one’s own decisions and be more in control of one’s future.
On March 2, I attended a Cooperative Real Estate Conference in Toronto about the benefits of co-housing. There were about 100 people in attendance, most of whom were in the research stage.
Speakers and expert panels addressed each stage of the process:
- Creating a cooperative model: how to find partners and understand everyone’s needs, roles and contributions to the home
- Securing financing: develop a financial plan and find lenders
- Create a shared living agreement: create clarity about shared vs private spaces as well as rules and boundaries in the home
- Plan for future outcomes: plan for changes in the lives of cooperative partners
Louise Bardswich, one of “the golden girls” who lives in Port Perry, was present to share her story. She and her three housemates worked together as a group, overcame some obstacles and are now enjoying the fruits of their labour and the many benefits of sharing a house together. They had decided that rather than living alone, with their children, or in a retirement home, they would choose those with whom they would live. They had a 3,400 square foot house renovated so that each has a large bedsitting room with private ensuite bathroom and all enjoy the common living space plus a 1,600 square foot finished basement with guest/future caregiver suite. They created a legal agreement that relates to real estate as well as pertinent details such as exit strategy if one of the housemates leaves, private vs common space, decision making process, percentage of ownership, repairs and operating costs and house rules.
Co-housing requires a spirit of compromise and the development of social contracts. The shared living agreement is customized to meet the group’s needs. For the partnership to work, there needs to be compatible wants and needs including shared commitment, values, intention and planning. In addition to “the golden girls”, examples of two other models of co-housing were presented at the conference in Toronto. Co-housing can be as small as two or more people sharing a house or it can be a community of separate buildings comprised of seniors or perhaps inter-generational. One of the common threads amongst all is open, honest, direct communication in a kind and respectful way.
Is Co-Housing for you?
I will be hosting a Lunch and Learn at the Dundas Museum on Monday, May 27 from 11:30 to 1:00.
RSVP if you’d like to attend
Phone or text me on my cell 905-517-6494
or email me at email@example.com
Seniors Real Estate Specialist
ReMax Escarpment Realty Inc. Brokerage