FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Cohousing is a residential community of private homes or apartments that also share common space. The community is intentionally designed to foster social interaction among neighbors and create a safe and friendly environment for kids and seniors alike.
Shared spaces might include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational space. Activities include sharing meals multiple times per week, tending the common gardens, and other social gatherings.
Neighbors also share resources like tools and possibly pet care. Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. Cohousing makes it easy to socialize, organize child care, or carpool.
Not at all! Whereas in a commune, the members share all property and resources, in cohousing, each household owns its own residence. Think of it like a condominium with shared spaces and greater community interaction and involvement. You may modify your own property, or sell your unit. The purchasing household must join the community, agree with the basic principles and participate in community activities.
We live in a society in which we may be acquainted and friendly with our neighbors, but rarely interact with them beyond exchanging greetings. The result is a society in which individuals and family units are often socially isolated and lacking a sense of community.
In co-housing shared spaces, shared meal times, and social gatherings increase a sense of inter-connectedness among residents. Diverse residents interact (seniors and children, members from different economic and ethnic backgrounds) in a vibrant social environment that promotes a sense of belonging.
Shared resources reduces costs to each household (think of only needing one lawnmower for the entire community or less clutter with kids sharing toys with other kids). Shared cooking responsibilities frees up time, up to several days each week, for each household.
Similar to participating in any community, a cohousing arrangement requires members to adapt, accommodate, and compromise with other members for the good of the community. The community uses consensus decision-making that takes time. Consensus means that for any proposition or decision, all members must have no objections.
Adult household members should plan to contribute 8 to 10 hours of work per month preparing meals, doing building maintenance or other important activities that maintain the building, grounds and the shared needs of member households. Members can choose the teams or tasks that best suit their skills and likes.
Building & Construction
Oak park Commons received Village approval in late 2022. New residents are joining after every monthly zoom call–we are nearly 70% sold!–and we are ready to apply for our construction loan.
We expect to break ground in July 2023 and begin move-in in Fall 2024.
For more details, including common space renderings and unit floor plans, see https://oakparkcommons.com/our-building/
We designed the building with the following principles:
I. The physical design of shared common spaces (e.g., mail room, fireplace, dining area) will foster social interaction among residents.
- Preparing and sharing meals on a regular basis in a common dining area (voluntary, periodic)
- Coordinating social interaction, barter and labor exchange for services among residents
- Common space will include space for gardening, child play and guest rooms
II. We will pursue a building design, development strategy and organizational structure that enables moderate, middle and upper income households to become members.
- Members may pay less for smaller dwelling units with fewer amenities and more for larger units
- Institutional relations with Village agencies secures rent subsidy for select units & households
III. The building will be developed on a location near public transportation and pedestrian accessible shops and services.
IV. We will promote and adopt energy conservation practices in the physical construction, maintenance and use of the building and facilities.
Preconstruction prices start at upper $200k for one bedroom units and range up to mid $600k for three bedroom units. Units on higher floors will cost more.
You can view floor plans at https://oakparkcommons.com/our-building/
Contact us for current availability and pricing.
Current prices (as of May, 2023) are still “pre-construction” and are scheduled to increase after construction starts.
There are several reasons why new construction costs more than existing units:
- New construction meets stricter codes.
- Current construction costs are higher than what it cost to build a unit 50 or a 100 years ago.
- Amenities and finishing for new units are more extensive and better quality compared to existing homes.
- Oak Park Commons is incorporating many “green” features, such as efficient Heat Pump Split System Information and heads, induction ranges, future solar panel installation and more.
- Lastly, our commitment to shared common areas increases unit prices as each unit absorbs a portion of common area cost.
We are funding the initial building by means of residential initial deposits and investments to the building fund by non-residents who believe in our cause.
The more equity we collectively invest at the beginning of the project to fund development and construction, the more interest savings we can realize reducing overall financing cost. We are using materials and systems designed to reduce carbon emissions and utility costs.
Individually we may choose less expensive finishes for our unit than otherwise available. Prices also vary with respect to location in the building. Units less well placed are priced lower than those in prime locations.
Oak Park Commons Cohousing will be structured as a condominium. Each unit will be individually owned, with the common areas jointly owned and collectively managed by the Oak Park Commons Cohousing HOA.
Members may modify their own units as they would any privately owned condominium unit and may sell their unit. Buyers must agree to join the community, agree with the principles and participate in social activity and the work of managing the building.
There are three basic levels for Membership:
Any household or individual who has an interest in supporting Oak Park Commons Cohousing and occasionally gathering with other members in casual social activities, but who may not be ready to invest in the project or purchase a unit. Explorers may:
- Attend a public meeting, web-based public meeting, or formal introductory meeting.
- Converse with active members at informal and formal meetings.
- Participate in casual social gatherings.
2. Associate Member
Explorer households that have participated in Oak Park Commons Cohousing meetings and/or events but are not yet owners. These members:
- Have attended at least three public, social or informal meetings with us.
- Pay a one-time $100 (non-refundable) membership fee.
- Agree to support the principles of cohousing and our cohousing community.
- May attend meeting of committees.
- Are invited to Associate Member and Equity Member social events.
3. Equity Member
Associate households that either invest equity in the project or purchase a unit:
- Make a capital contribution* to help secure construction loan funding for the project, assuring a choice of unit at current price.
- May elect to offer additional funds as a loan to fund construction of the project for an interest rate at or below the average market rate.
- Reserve a unit for $5,000 (refundable) intending to sign a contract for the unit’s purchase by summer 2023 with earnest money, held in escrow, that equals 5% of the unit price (including upgrades). The $5,000 reservation fee may be count toward the earnest fee. The earnest money is refunded only if the project is not built.
- Earnest money is NOT refundable if you decide not to purchase the unit. Refund may be possible if the unit is sold to another buyer at the same or higher price.
*($200 earnest money fee, plus loan for 10% of the estimated price of the dwelling unit at .001% rate of return). Loan returned at the completion of the development.
The Equity Member households are the primary decision-makers. Members vote when required by law, but otherwise use consensus to make decisions.
We are currently 70% sold. Most 2-bedroom/2-bath units are available, as well as several 3-bedroom/2-bath units
Please contact us for the most current data.
Call or Send Us Your Questions.