Q. Are you affiliated with any political, religious, economic, or philosophical group or ideology?
No. We are simply a group of regular people who want to live where we know our neighbors. The only organization we’re associated with is the Cohousing Association of the United States.
Q. What if I don’t feel like socializing all the time?
Very few of us feel like socializing all of the time. In cohousing, there is no expectation to be social at any particular time. Cohousing offers the choice of enjoying the privacy of your own home (and in common areas that are not currently being used by others), or enjoying whatever happens to be going on in the neighborhood. How much you socialize is up to you. Cohousing is actually very popular with introverts, because there’s no “work” required to socialize; it’s “built in” and happens naturally. Most residents of Ravens’ Roost are introverts, but we enjoy getting to know each other.
Q. If I buy a home and decide to sell later, how would this work?
A. Legally, we are a condominium association. So you would sell your home just like you would sell any other condo, except that Ravens’ Roost Cohousing would want to educate any potential buyer about cohousing and the shared intention to get to know one’s neighbors. As the owner, you would decide on price, etc.
Q. What if I don’t like all of my neighbors?
Well, don’t be surprised. It would be difficult to expect to like every single person in a group of 35 households. There will naturally be some people with whom you get along better than others. But when that person who slightly annoys you picks you up at the airport or helps your daughter with her calculus homework, he or she might suddenly not seem so bad. You may even grow to like people whom you had earlier judged poorly. Some say that cohousing is the biggest personal growth experience you’ll ever have.
Q. How do 35 households make decisions?
Most cohousing decisions are delegated to smaller teams that create proposals for the entire group to review and either approve or send back for modification. From our Animal Agreement to landscaping choices, consensus is the most common decision-making method. Consensus decision-making requires that all voices are heard, which often results in more information being considered. This helps prevent the poor decisions for which conventional Homeowner Association Boards are notorious. It also creates more buy-in to the final decision. Consensus is not necessarily unanimity. A consensus decision is one that everyone can live with — it often includes modifications made by those who were not satisfied with the original proposal. These collaborative solutions can have an elegance and creativity that is only possible through collective wisdom. Consensus decision-making allows any member to block a proposal, but only when a member sincerely feels that a proposal violates the stated core values of the group, or will not be good for the group in the long term. Those who have a need for full control generally do not join cohousing because the idea of “consensus” sends them running.
Q. Who owns the land?
As with any condominium association, the land is owned on a pro-rata basis by each homeowner.
Q. Do you allow pets?
Yes, we allow pets, and require that pet owners be responsible. See our Animal Agreement on our “Agreements” page.
Q. Do you have garages?
Yes. Each home comes with one open air parking spot and one space in a heated garage with a large storage loft.
Q. You say that residents maintain the neighborhood. Are there “chores,” and how are those divided?
Yep, there are chores, just like you do at your own home right now. General expectations for participation are set by the community, based on the maintenance needs of the neighborhood. Residents decide for themselves what kind of work they do. We each spend about 6 hours per month doing work (but remember, you already cook, clean, do yard care, etc. at your current home).
We have a custom web site where we can sign up not only to eat a common meal, but also to help cook or wash the dishes. Some of us clean the common house, remove snow or go to landscaping parties to plant or maintain new trees and bushes. Others organize the reservations for the guest rooms, do small repairs or maintenance, or update this web site with recent photos.
For larger projects we have two 4-hour work days each year. Residents with fewer physical capabilities help with planning, purchasing supplies, watching kids, providing drink and food to those doing the heavy lifting, put away tools afterward, and so on.
Some cohousing groups use a “pay or play” system in which those who can’t or won’t work pay money instead. They find that this system instantly melts the guilt and resentment that can occur in completely voluntary systems.
Q. Who cooks the shared meals?
Meal teams include a head cook, 1-3 assistant cooks, and a couple of dish washers (we have a commercial dish washer that makes it much easier). Residents are expected to participate in a meal team approximately twice per month.
Q. Are residents required or expected to eat in the Common House?
No, shared meals are optional. We currently offer about 3 optional, shared dinners per week. Residents sign up a few days beforehand so that the head cook knows how much food to buy.
Remember, every home has its own complete kitchen.
Q. How much are the Home Owner Association (HOA) dues and what do they include?
HOA dues include heat, water, garbage, curbside recycling, snow removal, other common space expenditures (Common House, Workshop, and grounds), and a future replacement cost account. Homeowners pay for their own electric, cable/internet, and phone.
Depending on the size of the home, HOA fees fall between $300 – $400 per household per month.
Q. How extensive are your gardens?
We have some serious gardeners and permaculture enthusiasts in our group, and others who are eager to learn. The main garden is located south and slightly west of the Common House, with smaller ones around the property. We have both community gardens that produce vegetables and herbs for common meals as well as private gardens tended by individuals who grow their own food. We have quite a bit of edible, perennial landscaping, and we compost our food waste. We plan to have an orchard, root cellar, and greenhouse in the future.
Q. Parking looks like it’s a long ways to the unit I’d like to live in. How will I get my groceries to my house?
We have carts to take things to and from our cars.
Q. Several of your members seem a bit older. Are kids welcome?
Absolutely, we love kids, and we’d like to have more! We are a multi-generational neighborhood currently comprised of four little kids, four older kids, elders, and all ages in between. Cohousing presents the wonderful opportunity to have true friends of all ages.
Q. Which public schools would kids attend?
Trailside Elementary, Hanshew Middle School, and Service High School. Pacific Northern Academy is located at Abbott and Lake Otis, just half a mile from us.
If you would like to live in a more fun, sustainable way, in a more connected and interactive neighborhood, see our “Steps toward Joining” page.
Call us at 907-399-2051.
Come back soon for more questions and answers.