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Choose your approach

In gathering your community you will have formed an idea of the number and composition of households, the size of your project and the basics of where and how you want to live. Now it’s time to think through your approach in more detail.

Defining your project

Issues to clarify with your group will include the shared vision for the project, preferred location and any key characteristics you want your site to have. Also decide on your preferred approach. For example, do you want your project to run as a building group, a cooperative, or both? Will it be a typical cohousing project? How will you work together? See our examples to learn from approaches others have taken.

Project mechanics

It’s important to make sure your households are all on the same page when it comes to how the project works. It’s time to talk through what and how much of it you’ll share, important characteristics you want to see in the design of the homes and how you want the finances to work. For owners, it’s also important to think through the legalities of co-ownership including property titles. Then there’s the discussion about how your community wants to self-manage after everyone moves in.

How will you make it happen?

If it’s a small project, like a few households on a single block or adjoining blocks, you’ll find a useful overview of how to make it happen here. If it’s a larger project the process is different and you’ll find a useful overview here. These overviews provide some information on finding the right site, securing finance and the design and approvals process.

Getting the right advice

Once you’ve collectively worked out what you want to achieve and have an idea of how you’d like to approach it, seek expert advice to plan your next steps.


Converting your own home?

Apart from the benefits of living close to friends and family, this might be a good way to release equity or receive an income stream, but be aware of the financial and legal implications before you go ahead. Renting out or selling off parts of your home could have implications for tax and social services eligibility. You’ll also need to check what’s permissible on your site with your local council.

Buying or building with a group?

You’re probably in new territory as it’s unlikely you’ve done this before. Good communication is important to make sure you all share the same vision and agree on how you want things to work. Then you need set up the project in a way that protects the interests of individual households and the group alike. You’ll find some guidance on this website about financing projects and setting up co-ownership legalities, as well as some real life examples to learn from.

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