Author Topic: Starting a co-op  (Read 1496 times)

katethekitcat

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Starting a co-op
« on: August 14, 2019, 12:09:31 PM »
Hello there, o Mustached community,

A few dear friends of many years and I have have started discussing starting a co-op, i.e., buying a giant house together and all living there together with shared meals, shared child raising, etc. We're working on identifying a list of cities where we could make this work (for example, we need a good cost of living but also a place where everyone can find jobs) and are targeting making it happen in the next 3-5 years or so. (We're all late 20's/early 30's.)

My question to you is: does anyone know of examples (or have first-hand lived experience) of this type of set-up? We have a whole list of things we need to think through (from the logistical (what happens if one person wants out; what happens if one person make 8X more than another person, should they pay more of the mortgage) to the social (how do we build both community and have privacy) and would love to get any 'lessons learned from others.

mozar

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Re: Starting a co-op
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2019, 05:43:51 PM »
The people I know had shares based on how much money they put in for the downpayment.  They could be bought out if they wanted to move out. Wasn't much privacy. They had weekly dinners and chore charts. The cost for each person was dependent on the room size. An issue that came up is that half the people wanted a cat and the other half didn't. They got a cat and all the people with allergies had to move out

Trifele

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Re: Starting a co-op
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2019, 06:54:32 AM »
We have some friends who did this with two other families.  They bought a farm that had three houses on it, and they split the mortgage costs up based on how many square feet each family had.  Farm animals, growing plots, chores, and many but not all meals were shared.  One family did opt out and move away later, and the remaining families ended up renting out the third house.  I believe they just left the mortgage as it was and shared the rents with the family that moved away.  An alternative would have been for the remaining two families to buy out the one leaving.

In your case, it sounds like you are thinking about one big house.  What about a house with multiple apartments in it?  Then if one or more families/roommates move out, could be fairly seamless to rent to someone else?

BicycleB

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Re: Starting a co-op
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2019, 07:43:23 AM »
I've known 2 coop situations.
1. Big coop, like a dorm; less relevant. Chore charts, periodic meeting, essentially people rented a room and did some of the cleaning / breakfast meeting. Unclear on how capitalization worked, but the operation was in stable state when I knew it.
2. One house long lasting coop of individuals. One lady had a kid. To join or exit the coop, I think the individual paid a capital amount, which was a fraction of current value because the group did not mark up shares despite inflation. The group voted by consensus on new members. Monthly contribution toward taxes/maintenence was like modest rent. Decisions were by periodic consensus, normally. The main daily routine was that individuals took turns cooking a breakfast and dinner that could be shared by all, though attendence/sharing was intermittent. Maybe half of the 8 coop members might attend a given meal. Maintenance was spotty and hippie-ish, good enough to get by but not to keep up with the Joneses. Overall veggie vibe, definitely at 70s holdover. Looked unchanged 3-4 years ago, astonishingly.

PS. Each of these groups had the principle of paying an equal share, not adjusting prices because of earnings/income. The big coop did have a bit of discount for low income, which I think was extended judiciously in the event of the overall coop having a surplus.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 07:46:11 AM by BicycleB »

iris lily

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Re: Starting a co-op
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 12:36:43 PM »
The people I know had shares based on how much money they put in for the downpayment.  They could be bought out if they wanted to move out. Wasn't much privacy. They had weekly dinners and chore charts. The cost for each person was dependent on the room size. An issue that came up is that half the people wanted a cat and the other half didn't. They got a cat and all the people with allergies had to move out

 I am sure the people with cat allergies were told blithely “well you could just take pills. “I hear that a lot, in fact just heard it yesterday. I am shocked when people say that as though requiring other people to take medication, put chemicals into their body is no big deal.

I will state for the record that I love cats I have cats I have had cats all my adult life but no way do I believe Asking other people to take meds is my right.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Starting a co-op
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2019, 10:49:41 PM »
Currently I have two adult sons, my elderly mother and a boyfriend with advanced lung cancer and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder all living in my home: to me your idea sounds terrible! Lol.

Actually though, I totally understand the appeal, and if it weren't for boyfriend's OCPD things would be chill. But having had many roommates in my prolonged college years, I have to say it's surprisingly difficult for people to live together.

(A lesson my boomer generation learned in the 60's when everybody tried communes and coops).

That being said, economically it makes a lot of sense. I think people should pay proportional to their space, not income. And everyone should chip in for a cleaning service every couple of weeks.

Beyond thinking about how people get their share out when they leave, you have to think about interpersonal issues. How will the childless people deal with noisy kids? Will there be some buffer for when someone loses their job and can't pay their share of the mortgage? How will marriages and divorces be handled? Is there any risk of affairs between tenants?

I think a plan like this has a better chance of working if there's a shared strongly held philosophy, or if all members are similar (i.e. all single moms).

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!