What is a Cooperative and who owns it?
A cooperative is a non-profit corporation that is owned and operated by its members. Each member purchases a share and contributes to the maintenance and management of the grounds, housing and common areas in a non-profit environment that keeps costs low. It is living with neighbors of your peers in a jointly owned community with all the benefits of home ownership with none of the maintenance and upkeep.
What are the costs of buying into a cooperative?
There are two primary costs:
• The share purchase. This is an affordable one-time payment that purchases a membership share in the Cooperative Corporation. The value of your share is primarily based on the size of the home and its location and value in the market.
• The monthly fee. This is an affordable fixed monthly fee that includes operating expenses such as interior and exterior maintenance, lawn and landscaping care, snow removal, water and sewer charges, trash removal, fire and liability insurance as well as member services staff, replacement and operating reserves, taxes, the master mortgage and miscellaneous operating costs.
What are the closing costs?
There are no closing costs. As a new member buying a share in our cooperative, you simply pay your share price at closing.
What happens when I want to sell my share?
When you want to sell your share, you simply notify the co-op, who facilitates the resale process—whether it be notifying interested current members or a parties on the wait list—and return the selling member’s share cost plus accrued equity. No elaborate or complicated real estate sales process, transaction or commissions are involved, which is another benefit to members.
What are the benefits of cooperative ownership?
• Unlike other real estate purchases, the equity value increases with time. You won’t have to hope for a return on your investment based on market fluctuations you cannot control. This predictable equity value increase also keeps the resale price affordable and attractive for future members.
• Members may deduct their individual portion for the property taxes and interest on the master mortgage on their federal and state income taxes.
• The cooperative operates on a democratic, self-governed, basis. Members are actively involved in the cooperative governance. The board of directors, comprised of residents and elected by the members, has the fiduciary and operational responsibilities to carry out the functions of the cooperative.
• Cooperative ownership creates a sense of pride resulting in maintaining the property and participating in civic activities, which creates a friendly and active community.
• As a Village Cooperative member, you can travel for days, weeks or months without worrying about your home with our “while-you-are-away” services. The no-maintenance lifestyle sets you free to do the things you like to do whether you’re at home or away. Still working? Perfect! Where else can you find yourself living exactly where you want, near everything you need and so affordably while easing into your next stage of life—retirement!
How does it Work?
Village Cooperative members purchase an ownership share—called a membership certificate—in the cooperative which entitles the shareholder to occupy a specific unit. A share increases in value each year as equity is added. The original share purchase price, plus accrued equity, less selling expenses are returned to the member or to the member's heirs upon resale of the share. In the meantime, members enjoy a simpler lifestyle with as much social interaction and activity as they like in a community of like-minded peers of similar age.
Just as important, our members share their talents and experiences for the enjoyment and enrichment of the community. New and lifelong interests and hobbies are pursued through involvement in a wide variety of independent and group activities, such as:
• Hobbies and Crafts
• Gardening (garden plots available)
• Music, Arts and Library
• Excursions and Community Activities
• Life Enrichment
How is a senior cooperative different from a condominium?
• Ownership. Cooperative members own the entire development jointly as compared to a condo, where individuals own a unit in a building. In a cooperative, members share ownership of the entire community, including its common areas.
• Maintenance and repairs. One of the major advantages of owning a membership interest in a cooperative is that, in addition to exterior maintenance-free living, the co-op offers interior maintenance-free living that includes a maintenance person on staff, scheduled preventative maintenance services, plus the cooperative repairs and/or replaces things like appliances and carpet at the cooperative’s expense, not at the individual member’s expense. That means you don’t have to worry about big surprise repair bills.
• Financing. In a Village Cooperative, ownership is jointly held via a master mortgage. In condos, each owner arranges his or her own mortgage financing.
• Property taxes. Cooperative and condominium unit owners have similar income tax and property tax. However, in condos, the property taxes are levied on each unit separately rather than on the entire project.
• Voting. Cooperatives are run through a board of directors, elected by the shareholders. Each cooperative shareholder has one vote, regardless of home size. Condos are managed by a condominium association in which unit owners are members. In condos, owners with larger homes may have more voting power than smaller unit owners.
• Resale of property. Reselling a cooperative property allows the co-op board/community an option to buy first and also helps find prospects with no real estate commission fee or complicated sales process. In contrast, a condo association has no control over or involvement in unit resales. The co-op provides assistance with all the necessary paperwork for transfer of ownership.
• Age restrictions. Condos have difficulty obtaining age restrictions for their properties that cooperatives do not. Our members benefit from being in a community where pride of ownership among peers of a similar age leads to healthy, long-term relationships in a safe and secure setting.
How does owning in a cooperative compare to renting?
• Lower monthly costs. Because cooperatives operate based on actual costs in a non-profit model, cooperative operating and carrying charges are often below rental market value. Costs in the co-op remain flat and predictable over the long term because of this model, which ensures that fees cannot be increased without a vote by the members. Approximately 70 to 75% of the operating costs in the co-op are fixed (mortgage, operating reserve, along with repair and replacement reserve).
• Tax deductions. For income tax purposes, cooperative members are considered homeowners and may deduct their share of the real estate taxes and mortgage interest paid by the cooperative.
• Predictable home equity growth. Cooperatives provide for annual growth of members’ equity at a fixed rate of return on investment that renting simply can’t offer. Using this “limited equity” approach, appreciation is limited by the cooperative and determined by a simple formula established in the Cooperative Corporation’s by-laws. This ensures that homes remain affordable and marketable for the long term.
• Limited liability. Cooperative member/owners have no personal liability and do not need to individually qualify on the cooperative master mortgage. The cooperative corporation is responsible for paying off any blanket loans.
• Community building and pride of ownership. Cooperatives provide homes for members and build community for the cooperative as a whole through group activities and social functions. Unlike renting, ownership instills a sense of pride of ownership. Do you take better care of a car you own or a car you rent?
• Stability and peace of mind. Ownership in a co-op community brings about stability and long-term neighbors, which our members will tell you creates a more cohesive community all around that you will enjoy for years to come.
• Security on two important fronts. Cooperative tenure is secure, within the guidelines of the law, cooperative bylaws and occupancy agreements. In addition to legal protections, Village Cooperatives offer secure buildings with clean, well-lighted, underground heated parking.
• Democratic member control. Each membership provides the right to occupy a home and each home has one vote regardless of its size. This sense of control and having a voice in decisions is another key distinction between cooperative owner/members versus renters, who have little or no say in what happens with their building. With cooperatives, you don’t have landlords or outside investors because you essentially become your own landlord when you join.
Do you have a waiting list?
Yes. Each Village Cooperative community maintains a waiting list. This enables prospective members to indicate the type of home desired and timing for when they wish to be notified of the availability of resale homes. To join the waiting list, you simply complete an application and submit it along with a nominal and refundable deposit.
Are there special requirements for membership?
One member in each home must meet the minimum age restriction, which varies by location (see location page or call for more details). In addition, members must be capable of an independent lifestyle and be able to meet certain financial criteria.
What tax benefits are available to me?
The tax benefits are identical to those for a single-family house. Members may deduct their pro-rated portion of the cooperative’s mortgage interest and real estate taxes on their personal state and federal income tax returns. They have the same rights to exemption from capital gains taxation as any other homeowner.
Can I have input into the finishes put in my home?
Yes. If you become a member in the early phases of development and construction, we will work with you through the interior selections process. You will have the choice of finishes to suit your needs and personal style for both standard and upgrade options available during construction.
How do I reserve a Village Cooperative home?
Simply contact your membership advisor. We require a nominal reservation deposit to secure your priority number. This allows you to pick the home of your choice depending on availability (ie: unit plan, desired floor and location within building). If you change your mind for any reason, your reservation deposit is fully refundable. Call for more details.
What type of laundry facilities do you have?
For the convenience of our members, each home has its own separate laundry room with a washer and dryer.
Do you have accommodations for guests?
Yes. Members can reserve our nicely appointed guest suite for their friends and family for a small fee.
Do you have accommodations for larger gatherings?
Yes. You can reserve our spacious community area at no cost, complete with a full kitchen and prep area.
What are the parking facilities?
There is one parking space per home at no cost in our clean and secure underground heated parking garage, which also includes a car wash bay for convenience—and a really clean car! Extra spaces can be rented (if available). Plus, we have ample surface parking as well for a second car.
Do you allow pets?
Yes. Members are allowed to have small pets in their homes, following a few guidelines (check your community’s specific policy guidelines).
“We travel several times throughout the year and enjoy the security of leaving the Village with no cares about mail, papers, plant care or maintenance while we are gone. Also, I had used my mower and snow blower very effectively over the years, but now I can let somebody else take care of that for me, and I don’t miss it at all.”
“Moving to the Village Cooperative has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I absolutely love living here in this beautiful building. I have made so many good friends at the Village Cooperative and we really enjoy getting together. It is a wonderful place to live.”
“The cost of the buy-in compared to purchasing a single family home or condo greatly interested us as our cost of living was reduced. Losing lawn care, snow removal, and no stairs to climb when doing laundry have all been great bonuses."
“The co-op makes real sense because you have no worries about safety, security, maintenance, etc. I’ve visited other Village Cooperatives and was delighted to find that the residents love their new homes. I really don’t know what more a person could ask for with this lifestyle.”
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