We expect people to decide to join a cohousing group because they believe that living in community will be fulfilling and that the overall cohousing environment will be exactly what they are searching for but cannot find elsewhere.

However, at some time everyone asks “is this a financially reasonable thing to do.  How will my overall expenses compare with staying where I am, downsizing to a smaller house or a traditional condo complex or moving to a corporate run retirement community?”

The most obvious consideration is the cost of our units.  You can see them here.

A traditional realtor’s approach of pricing per square foot neglects the very features that are created by the core group who conceived and designed Wolf Creek Lodge so we need to look further.  We discuss the economics of two different choices below.

Comparing “staying where you are” with Wolf Creek Lodge

Here is a comparison made by a couple who are current members of Wolf Creek Lodge. They compare the costs of their three bedroom home with their expectations of Wolf Creek Lodge.  Your situation may be similar or very different depending on where you live and your lifestyle.  We have a column for your numbers.

Current home Wolf Creek Lodge You
Natural gas $90 per month included in HOA dues
Air conditioning costs none common house AC costs included in HOA dues
Property taxes $5,800 $2,650 – $4,800
House insurance $1,740 included in HOA dues owner needs “condo insurance”
Cars need two one sufficient
Gas for car expensive need much less
Car insurance for two for one
Guest rooms Usually empty use shared suite
Washer & dryer occupy space use shared laundry
Eating out Once a week enjoy eclectic dinners in common room
Electric/water bill $130 Water included in HOA dues.
Electricity is $15-$50 per month
Hot tub none we have one
Home grown vegetables we grow some we plan to grow a lot
Patio furniture & grill we buy our own we share
Internet access $60 – cable $15 shared – very high speed
Color printer do not have one share one in office
Trash collection $300 included in HOA dues
Sewage $300 included in HOA dues
Exterior staining $3,500 every 3 years included in HOA dues
Driveway sealing $470 every 3 years included in HOA dues
Washer/dryer replacement $1,000 every 10 years included in HOA dues
Crafts takes space shared room

For more information about estimated Home Owners Association dues see here.

Comparing a Corporate Retirement Community with Wolf Creek Lodge.

Retirement communities are often run by for profit corporations with on-site managers who direct the day-to-day care of the residents.  They provide a range of services from accommodation only, through meals, laundry, medication management, basic personal care to comprehensive nursing care.  Pricing increases with the size of the accommodation and the number of services required.  The retirement communities are guided by State & Federal licensing requirements, internal rules and daily schedules.  Personal choice by residents is only relevant after the business requirements have been met.

Senior Cohousing differs in that the community is conceived,  planned and operated by the members with a strong orientation to community living.  This is reflected in the design of the building and outside space and in the behavior of the members.

We show some cost comparisons below but the retirement community pricing will vary by community.  We suggest you substitute your own numbers.

Retirement Village Monthly Wolf Creek Lodge Monthly Your numbers
Cost of homes $295 – 849K entrance fee $300 – 495K purchase
Equity of asset 0 Market rate
Refund 50 – 100% based on monthly fee N/A
Monthly fees $1,959 – $5,680 $3,000 HOA $324 – $390 $350
Property taxes 0 $2,650 – $4,800 $400
House insurance 0 Included in HOA
Guest rooms Local hotel Use shared suite
Food Plus/minus 21 staff prepared meals Home cooked meals in common room
Home grown vegetables none We plan to grow a lot
Monthly $3,000 $750
Annual $36,000 $9,000
Twenty year life $720,000 $180,000
Value of community Priceless


The intentional sharing of space and facilities and the sharing of meals in a cohousing community provide an economical life style.  To control costs it is important to avoid or postpone the need for nursing care.  In senior cohousing a vibrant community and shared dinner meals encourages a healthy and active lifestyle.  Neighbors can help one another during temporary health related incidents.  The apartment designated as a care giver’s accommodation gives the members the opportunity to share the cost when such services are needed.

Mortgage Advice

Ask us about mortgage specialists who are familiar with Wolf Creek Lodge.