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|
|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||$390 – 425K 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 $350||$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|
|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.
Cohousing Partners, the project managers for Wolf Creek Lodge can direct you to a mortgage specialist who is very familiar with the project. He can advise you on mortgage opportunities.