What is Cohousing?
According to the American Cohousing Association, Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.
Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically an HOA, Condo Association, or Housing Cooperative. Community activities feature regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Cohousing makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool. Neighbors gather for parties, games, movies, or other events.
However, our group -- Greece Cohousing Community -- is different from its counterparts in the cohousing world. We are buying already constructed houses as individuals, just as we would in any other property transaction. The "Community" exists mainly to leverage our numbers so that when we do buy, we get the best possible price. "Greece Cohousing Community" does not collect money or disburse funds on behalf of its members. We have no fees, no dues, no entry requirements -- making our project fundamentally different from others. Our target is what the Greek real estate industry calls a "villa complex" (see tab on main menu.) The "Community" itself does not buy or sell property, nor does it develop or manage the properties of its members. As a group, we will own nothing in common, so that -- for all official intents and purposes -- we are simply individual property owners. However -- and this is important -- we expect to "be" a group when it comes to our community dynamics. We expect to know each other well, and to share our lives, and to get together as a group at least twice a week for common meals. We may not have a "common house," as many cohousing groups do, but we will still be able to get together in our houses -- perhaps on a rotating basis.
Finally, please note that we intend to be a small group. Our minimum number for participating households is eight. Our maximum is around 20. We are already more than half-way to our minimum goal -- with five households -- so we expect, once we get the remaining three -- that we will be able to begin. In fact, we may decide to proceed with our present number, and if there are two or three vacant units, we will buy them for sale later when our numbers increase. Even so, we would prefer to take up residence when the entire group -- of eight households or so -- is fully assembled. Join us!
Contact if you need more information: email@example.com or call 801 850 8842.
The Roots of Cohousing: A History Lesson
(From a recent newspaper article) The concept of communal living, as it says on the cohousing.org webpage, has existed for millennia; however, our current iteration of communal living can be attributed to a cohousing movement which began in 1960s Denmark. By definition, traditional cohousing, as modeled after the Danes, entails an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space, and typically features a common house, a large industrial kitchen, dining area, and ample lush green space; it emphasizes both private and personal space, with a central goal of coming together in the common area.
The movement came to the U.S. in the 1990s, and has been steadily increasing ever since. Largely spearheaded by aging adults who were tiring of their large, single-family homes, and seeking an alternative as they grew older. “American’s want to be able to close their doors, pull down the blinds and sell their homes, but at the same time, they want more opportunities for community,” said Raines Cohen, a board member of the Cohousing Association of the United States. “A lot of people also realize that not everyone has to have their own washer and dryer, their own lawn mower, and their own backyard pool. Sometimes it makes sense to share.”
According to the Cohousing Association of the United States, there are currently 148 communities of this variety throughout the country, and over 140 in the planning stages. This includes both intergenerational communities and age restricted — meaning that some house residents of all ages, while others are specifically for older adults, typically over the age of 60. Although most communities share commonalities, each is unique and differs in the wishes and desires of the group, how finances are shared, and what the design of the community will look like; this can range from style of homes, number of dinners shared a week, and what expectations neighbors can have from fellow community members.
Young People Embrace the Cohousing Model
As the movement gains momentum, new versions of the cohousing model are beginning to emerge, many of which are geared towards young professionals and their lifestyle preferences, most prominently their desire to move often and throughout the country. This new version is a significant diversion from the traditional form of communal housing, though still maintains many of the same core characteristics including communal space, shared meals, and the intentionality to live cooperatively together.
Unlike most traditional set-ups however, the housing offered through cohousing start-ups such as Star-City, WeLive, and Common are rentable units, and are often available on shorter term leases, allowing for flexibility. Most units also offer luxury amenities including laundry, maid service, and gourmet kitchens — qualities many young people are seeking but cannot necessarily afford on their own. Some, like Star City in San Francisco, even have a “community manager” that organizes events, dinners, and volunteer activities for residents.
A shared kitchen and living room in a Common apartment. Doors down the hallway lead to individual bedrooms. (As noted above, the Greek Cohousing Community may not have a common house. Instead, we will rotate common meals among our member households, on a purely voluntary basis (of course.)
In essence, these communities make it as easy as possible to move from place to place — with all the luxuries one could possibly want and the comfort of community in a new or large city. “If you look at all the stresses involved in uprooting your life, and moving to a new [city], moving into Common was completely stress-free… the chance to instantly meet new, like-minded people that make you feel part of a community made a huge difference,” said Reino. In other words, as young people continue to move about the country, these cohousing communities allow them the opportunity to have both the amenities they seek, and the community they need.
Introducing the Golden Visa Program
Visa-free travel within Europe’s Schengen Area
No requirement to reside in Greece
Residence permits can be acquired within 30–60 days
Unlimited expiry date of residence permit
Opportunity to rent out the investment property
Residence applicable to the whole family (married spouse, children under 21 years old, and parents of the main applicant and spouse)
Eligibility to apply for citizenship after seven years of residence
Ability to hold shares and receive income from the dividends of a company registered in Greece (but not to be employed in Greece)
The Fine Print
The Greece Golden Visa Program is a residence-by-investment program launched in 2013 that enables non-EU nationals and their family members to obtain permanent residence permits in Greece. The residence permits may be renewed every five years.
The program’s qualifying options are:
Real estate options
An investment in real estate property with a minimum value of EUR 250,000, plus the applicable taxes
A 10-year lease agreement for hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in tourist accommodation complexes (Article 8 of Law 4000/2001)
A 10-year time-sharing agreement for hotel accommodation (Law 1652/1986)
A capital contribution with a minimum value of EUR 400,000 to a company that has its registered office or establishment in Greece (with the exception of portfolio investment companies and real estate investment companies) for the acquisition of shares in a share capital increase or bonds that are, at the time of issue, admitted for trading on regulated markets or multilateral trading mechanisms that operate in Greece
A capital contribution with a minimum value of EUR 400,000 to a real estate investment company (Article 21 of Law 2778/1999) that will invest exclusively in Greece, for the acquisition of shares in a share capital increase
A capital contribution with a minimum value of EUR 400,000 to a closed-end investment company (Article 5 of Law 2367/1995) for the acquisition of shares or to a closed-end mutual fund (Article 7 of Law 2992/2002) for the acquisition of shares, provided that the aforementioned alternative investment institutions have the intention to invest exclusively in companies that have headquarters or establishments in Greece
SHARES, BONDS, AND/OR GOVERNMENT BONDS
Purchase of Greek government bonds with a minimum acquisition value of EUR 400,000 and residual maturity of at least three years at the time of purchase, via a credit institution established in Greece, which will also act as the custodian of these bonds
Purchase of shares, corporate bonds, and/or Greek government bonds with a minimum acquisition value of EUR 800,000, which are admitted for trading or are traded on regulated markets or multilateral trading mechanisms, operating in Greece
Purchase of units with a minimum value of EUR 400,000 of a mutual fund incorporated in Greece or another country and with the intention to invest exclusively in shares, corporate bonds, and/or Greek government bonds that are admitted for trading or are traded on regulated markets or multilateral trading mechanisms, operating in Greece
Purchase of units or shares with a minimum purchase value of EUR 400,000 of an alternative investment fund established in Greece or another country of the EU, which intends to exclusively invest in immovable property in Greece
Term deposit of a minimum value of EUR 400,000 to a domestic credit institution, for at least one year, with a standing order for renewal
Residency by Property Purchase
Our plan, at the moment, is that each household include at least one member who is entitled to apply for a golden visa. Other household members will be considered dependents under Greek law, but if they are children, this status expires at age 18. The Golden Visa applicant will purchase a property worth at least 250,000 euros, and will therefore be entitled to receive a five-year residency visa, renewable for as long as he/she owns the property. Now, our cohousing group intends to buy a "villa complex" of already constructed homes. Each, of course, will be worth approximately 250,000. The visa holder will own his or her own house, but will also own a share in all common areas, gardens, etc. The structure will resemble that of a condominium in the United States. A homeowners association (HOA) will handle community business, insurance, and so forth. Owners may sell at any point, to anyone they wish -- although we hope for a relatively stable community of people who intend to remain long-term.