Q. Where will it be located?
We have decided to focus on choosing the perfect property on the beautiful Peloponnesian peninsula. From amazing beaches, to majestic snow-capped mountains, and from famous archeological sites, to world-renowned olive groves and vineyards, Peloponnesus is our group's choice for a bit of distance from large tourist crowds while experiencing all the beauty that Greece has to offer. Unlike the islands, you can also hop in your car and be in Athens as well as the rest of Europe easily and inexpensively. While everyone in Greek Village Cohousing will live in our community full-time and year-round, we like having car access for weekend get aways and Athen's services and fun.
We returned in June 2021 from a property search in Peloponnesus, and we found property that was beyond anything we had imagined. While very convenient to a major city and a beautiful fishing village, the land is large and has a vineyard and farm. We are now in the process of negotiating and determining if this property will be our official choice, and we are returning in early October to Peloponnesus for a fun trip to experience our options.
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 25-33 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.
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. In order to become permanent residents in Greece and the EU, nonEuropeans will apply for a Greek permanent residency program. The Greek Golden Visa program provides Greek and EU residency for a property purchase of €250,000 or more. And while the group is not yet at the design stage where prices can be determined, our goal is for non-Europeans to expect to pay approximately €250,000 or more, while Europeans and Greeks can expect to pay between very approximately €100,000 to €300,000 for various sized units. Prices are per square meter and include the percentage ownership of the Common House and land.
Q. Who owns the land and homes?
Each home 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. 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 in the final stages of choosing and negotiating for our property. We will then enter the design phase of development 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. 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.