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Co-housing is a term that’s beneficial to know. Bankrate explains it.

What is co-housing?

A co-housing community is a community in which residents have their own private homes, typically built in a cluster, but share certain areas or facilities of the community, such as a laundry room, garden, kitchen and other spaces.

Deeper definition

Many co-housing communities are small, comprising 15 to 35 homes. Many communities also have a strict screening process so they can determine if a potential tenant is a good fit for the community. These communities often have a strong interactive and collaborative element and may work together for things like organizing carpools. They may also have community movie nights and events. In some communities, members take turns cooking dinner in a communal area, and other residents are free to join in the evening’s meal.

Many co-housing communities make decisions as a group and operate based on members coming to an agreement, rather than a government making decisions for the group. In many cases, there’s no clear organizational structure and no leadership, and decisions are made based on the best interests of all of the residents.

In most cases tenants buy their individual homes but share ownership of communal spaces. Some might allow prospective residents to rent initially while they and the community decide if the arrangement is a good fit for everyone.

Some co-housing communities are open to anyone, including people of all ages, while others are designed as an alternative to traditional senior=living facilities. Some of these even have special features with spaces designed for family members or caretakers to stay in should the resident need extra care.

Co-housing example

Some senior communities are built on the co-housing principle. For example, the community may consist of 40 homes, each of which is private, but shares a common area where community events are held and the garden. They may also share transportation, saving on fuel costs and making it easier to get around.

Thinking of buying your very own home in a co-housing community? Learn more about what kinds of closing costs you can expect to pay when you close on your new home.

Use Bankrate’s calculator to figure out how much house you can afford to buy.

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