Q. Where will you be located in Greece?
We spent almost a year researching and traveling in order to choose the perfect spot for our community- the islands and the mainland. We chose Peloponnesos. From amazing beaches, to majestic snow-capped mountains, and from famous archeological sites, to world-renowned olive groves and vineyards, Peloponnesus has it all. While almost everyone in Greek Village Cohousing will live in our community full-time and year-round, we love the accessibility to Athens and Europe that living in Peloponnesos affords. We like the of being able to easily hop on our cars for a concert in Athens, to see a specialist in Athens, to take a flight from Kalamata or Athens, and especially the ability to easily drive into Europe on vacation.
We also like the low cost of living of the area and the low cost of living compared to islands, where goods must be ferried or flown in. We are conscious of climate change and energy conservation and like fewer flights if possible. Peloponnesos is also our group's choice because we want to distance ourselves from large tourist and expat crowds of the islands. It nourishes our collective desire to live in amidst authentic Greece, and it will take a lifetime to explore the many beautiful natural and historic places in our new home in Peloponnesos.
Q. Where will you be located in Peloponnesos?
We have found property beyond our wildest dreams. We spent a year searching and found land that is inside a larger "Peter and Paul's Wellness and Lifestyle Community." This larger community is set within an expansive natural and agricultural area, and while we are surrounded with nature, we are just 20 minute drive from a major city with all the services we need. You can get a good feel for our land and see lots of photos on our "Our location" page.
Our land is on a low mountain range and valley area near the mythical Taygetos Mountains, overlooking prestine natural forests, valleys with orchards and farms. and the little village of Potamia juut a short bike ride away. One feels as if you have all of nature at your command, and yet you are just a short drive from Sparta and from picture postcard seaside village of Gythio. Outside our door is miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Our area has plans for several micro agro businesses on this expansive larger community of 1000 stremata- an interactive olive oil mill, honey production, orchards and dried fruit and herb production, a vineyard and winery, and greek pasta production. Someday in the future we hope to be within walking distance of a spa, an outdoor area for music, as well as other amenities. You can learn more by signing up for our Friday Information Coffee or reaching out with interest.
Q. How many homes will you have?
The group members have the benefit of a strong supportive network of cohousing community professionals to work with in making these important decisions, many of whom know our group's orginal founder as well as several other cohousing members. We have chosen our home numbers utilizing emperical study data from decades of cohousing studies in Denmark as well as an evaluation of the practical realities of the numbers of homes needed to support our Common House utilities, our meals program, our decision making, and our social needs.
Numerous Danish studies, as well as anectodal information from decades of cohousing experiences in the U.S., indicates a community does not manage successfully long-term with less than 12 households because there is insufficient people to keep up the meals program, sharing events, paying for Common House utilities, or managing the community. Similar studies demonstrate that, while many communities in Denmark are larger, more than 50 households becomes more challenging for collaborative decision making. In the seminal book "Cohousing," written by developers Chuck Durrett and Katie McCamant, experts with decades of experience building and watching cohousing communities over time advise ideally around 25-35 homes. These numbers are based on the amount of adults needed in order to establish deep and long lasting friendships among neighbors as well as the above aspects mentioned. We thus have chosen to go with the empirical data and expert advice that will maximize our community's longevity and health. We are planning for around 33 homes.
Q. How much will these homes cost?
Our homes will vary in price depending on size and location within the community. The price will reflect not only the price for your unit's square meters, but also your share of your "extended home"- The Common House, as well as the common lands and gardens. We are approaching our design phase, an exciting time when we will design our entire village and thus learn the materials and choices that will determine our cost. An extremely rough estimate will have our studio, 1 bedroom, 2 and 3 and 4 bedroom homes ranging from very approximately €110,000 to €320,000 depending on the size of the private home. Home prices will include the price of the home as well as the a percentage of the price of the Common House- which is an extension of everyone's home.
One important note--People from North America who do not have Greek residency or citizenship will be utilizing the Greek Golden Visa. This program provides permanent residency in Greece and in the EU for a real estate purchase of €250,000. Thus, all North Americans and non Europeans or Greeks will need to purchase €250,000 or more.
Q. Who owns the land and homes?
Our plan is currently that homes will be owned privately, and the land and Common House will be owned "collectively." as each household will own a percentage of the Common House and land. This will allow people to sell their homes if they need to leave, but they will be obligated to sell to people who value and invest in cohousing princicpals and go through our cohousing orientation and process. We have several American attorneys in the group working with our Greek attorney.
Q. If I buy a home and decide to sell later, how would this work?
Judging by the current houses for sale in 160 cohousing communities in the U.S., very few people who move into cohousing choose to sell once they have moved, and most cohousing communities have waitlists. This is because neighbors feel a sense of belonging and are proud of having created something larger than themselves. However, for those who plan to sell their cohousing home, the homes are owned privately and are thus sold like all other private homes, and the community will want to educate any potential buyer about cohousing and the community's mission to live committed to neighborly connection. For this reason, some cohousing communities have weekly short tours of their community and keep a waiting list of potential buyers interested in cohousing. We plan to follow cohousing tradition and ask that potential new owners go to several meetings and meals and are educated about cohousing so that they can also make the intentional choice. Research on multiple country cohousing association's websites will confirm that most cohousing communities have waiting lists of people who are eager to buy homes.
Q. When do you plan to move in?
The group is currently just beginning our design phase where we will collaboratively design our entire village to reflect multigenerational needs, our values, and cohousing deisgn for connection and living lightly on the land. This participatory design process is one of the most important community-building aspects of the cohousing experience, and it is part of the secret sauce that creates long-term cohesive community. The group's formal property choice, goals, and design process will determine the timeline. We very much plan to break ground this year, but our own choices will determine when we break ground. For more information, join us during our Friday information coffee talks.
Q. Is this a safe neighborhood for children and adults?
Cohousing is one of the safest possible neighborhoods for all. Our community design puts cars far from playing children. Cohousing homes are generally designed with windows looking onto common grounds where everyone can see children at play and be there if a child needs help. Neighbors know each other well, so strangers in the community are quickly noticed. If you are ill and cannot make it to the store, your neighbors will be there to bring you a cup of soup. Going a few steps on pedestrian walkways to use the Common House will give you safe and easy access to laundry, work areas, exercise, and play areas.
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 many households. There will naturally be some people with whom you have very strong relationships and others less so. 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. Our group's cumulative 20 years of experience in cohousing means most of our group is well vetted, and we follow through with membership vetting.
Q. Will I have my own kitchen?
This is one of the single most frequently asked questions of cohousing enthusiasts. Yes!-- each private home has a fully equipped, private kitchen. And, yes!- every cohousing community does have a common kitchen and dining room. If there is not a Common House and a kitchen where neighbors cook together, it cannot easily be called cohousing as this is one of the defining features of cohousing world-wide. Thus, we will be cooking together outside or in the Common House several times a week. That means very often you will not have to cook but can simply walk a few steps to the Common House to enjoy your neighbor’s company over a meal. Many cohousing communities have online sign up programs where you can see who is cooking, see the menu, and sign up.
Q. How do you make decisions together?
We use a consensus based method called sociocracy, and we use a rich support system of cohousing professionals who have helped many successful communities before us. The combined 20 year experience of members who live or have lived in cohousing means for this group, making decisions as a group is something many of our members have done successfully in forming as well as successfully building a cohousing community.