Q. Where will you be located in Greece?
We spent almost a full year researching throughout the islands and mainland and traveling in order to choose the perfect spot for our community. We chose Peloponnesos. From amazing beaches to majestic snow-capped mountains, from famous archeological sites to world-renowned olive groves and vineyards, the Peloponnese (Πελοπόννησοσ, or Pelopónnisos in Greek) has it all! We feel we have found the spot on earth that ticks all our boxes, and the land we chose is ethereal! It inspires us all, and we can't wait to live there!
One of the many reasons we love Peloponnese is the easy and inexpensive accessibility to Athens, to the airport, and to Europe. While our village will be a permanent home, year-round, for almost everyone in Greek Village Cohousing, we also like the idea of being able to easily hop in our cars and drive to a concert in Athens, to see a specialist in Athens, to take a flight from Kalamata or Athens, to ferry to Crete, to explore the vast natural and historical riches surrounding us, and we love the ability to easily drive into Europe on vacation as well.
We also like the lower cost of living and more responsible carbon footprint compared to islands because most goods used on islands must be ferried or flown in. We are also conscious of climate change and energy conservation as well as the cost of constant flights or ferry rides we would take to reach the mainland if we lived on an island. The Peloponnese 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 experience a more authentic Greece. 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 the Peloponnese?
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 by nature, we are just a 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 pristine natural forests, valleys with orchards and farms. and the little village of Potamia is just 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 the picture-postcard seaside village of Gythio. Outside your door you will find miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.
Our area has plans for several micro agro-businesses dotting the countryside around us-- an interactive olive oil mill, honey production, orchards, 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.
There are horses and animals below us in the valley on a small farm owned by the Wellness and Lifestyle Community our village is part of.
We are a short bike ride to the village of Potamia, less than 20 minutes from the wonderful city of Sparta, with all of its services, culture, and food, and 40 minutes from the celebrated seaside village of Gythio. See more on Our Location page.
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 as we make these important decisions, many of whom know our group's original founder as well as several other cohousing members. We have chosen our home numbers utilizing empirical 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.
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 now in our design phase, an exciting time when we are designing 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 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?
We plan to own both the land and our homes. Each Greek Village Cohousing neighbor will own shares in our village, and their interest will also include both their home and a percentage ownership of the commons areas like the large Common House and land. We want people to be able to buy easily and sell easily should they want to move on. Most cohousing communities have waitlists, and we anticipate that we will also have a waitlist for homes.
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 leave their cohousing home, 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 already have a waitlist started.
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 associations' 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?
Our timeline is affected by our own choices about what materials and design we want to use. We will collaboratively design our entire village to reflect multigenerational needs, our values, and cohousing design 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.
Greece itself is a very safe country for children, single women, and anyone else. Compared to countries like the United States it is far safer place to live, and of course beyond safety there are the blue zones and fact that people live longer and healthier lives in Greece.
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 are strict about vetting our Equity members who committ to becoming GVC neighbors.
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 worldwide. 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 shaping up and successfully building a cohousing community.