Are you a good fit for cohousing – best questions from all websites for real answers to ask yourself, and them

Many cohousing communities post questions for you to see if you would like cohousing. I think that is great but I wonder if they are deep enough. Here are some that I found and I’ve added some more questions so you can evaluate if you fit in to that particular community and/or other considerations.

These came from Women in Community, Prairie Hill Cohousing, Takoma Park Cohousing, Mosaic Village, Flagstaff, Casccadia, Altair Ecovillage, Higherground

Sorry for some repeats but I hope it all helps.  

Let the community know what your ideas of community are.

Do they have a mission and vision? What are their values? What is their idea on community?

How does each member of your household feel about living in cohousing? If some are too young or unsure, how will you deal with this? How will the community deal with this?

Have you lived in a community setting before?  What did you like? What didn’t you like? What do you expect here?

What community groups or organizations are you involved with?

What are you most looking forward to about living here?

 What are your fears or concerns about community life?

 How do you see children in your life?

 Do you have family members or friends who visit for extended periods? Have you thought about how they will interact with the community?

  Participation in the work of the community is important—both to keep things going and to give everyone a sense of belonging. How do you imagine yourself participating?

  What committee would you like to join? See list of committees.

    Do you have pets living with you? If so, do you think they will transition well to community life? How will you make adjustments for the pets to fit in (keep cats indoors or always on a leash if need be)

 Do you intend to live in the community year round? If not, have you thought how this might affect your participatory role?

 Do you like meetings? 

Have you had experience with consensus or sociocracy decision making?

 Are you comfortable expressing your feelings?

A favorite quote sourced to Zev Paiss, founding Executive Director of the Cohousing Association of the U.S. captures this well:

“Cohousing is the longest and most expensive personal growth workshop you will ever take.”

Are you willing to examine yourself and your life?

Identify first your own high priority needs and values. Are you mostly looking for a sense of community?

 Or is sustainability an equal passion, with specific ideas you want to see implemented? 

Do you most value support for aging in place?

 Living with many generations, including children? 

Support for children and families? 

A high level of shared resources and activities? 

A farm or ecovillage with lots of land and gardens, or an urban, bicycle community? 

Intense focus on sustainability and climate change activism, or not so much? 

A spiritual focus and strong commitment to consensus, or more focus on efficiency with some hierarchy involved?

 A community with a lot of meetings and teams, or one with less to do and more fun? 

Shared meals that cater to your food preferences, or are you an omnivore?

Do you have concerns about the bylaws, policies, and guidelines, especially those related to participation (WorkShare), pets, and rentals?

How would you expect to navigate some of the common tensions of living in community (e.g., parenting and interactions with children, maintaining positive interpersonal relationships and resolving conflicts, balancing other life demands with the responsibilities of participation)?

Do you like the idea of getting to know your neighbours as friends?

Does the idea of living in a dynamic urban neighbourhood, within walking distance of most of your needs appeal to you?

Do you want to be part of a community dedicated to reducing its environmental impact?

Do you like the idea of living in community, both supporting your neighbours and receiving support?

Are you comfortable lending and borrowing tools, outdoor equipment, and other things with your neighbours?

Do you like the idea of doing social and recreational activities such as hiking, camping, biking, or rafting with your neighbours?

Do you like gardening side by side with your neighbours and sharing the bounty at a community or home cooked meal?

Do you enjoy potlucks and like the idea of helping with periodic neighbourhood dinners?

 Do you like the idea of weekly community dinners?

Would you be willing to work in a team to prepare a community dinner?

Do you regard yourself as a problem solver and enjoy contributing to group solutions to issues?

Would you be comfortable working in a consensus decision-making process?

Would you be willing to contribute to the governance of your community by serving on

committees (Membership, Finance, Social, Outreach, etc.)?

Would you enjoy participating in community work days a couple times a year to help make common areas and facilities look their best?

Would you enjoy caring for your neighbours’ pets and appreciate them caring for yours?

Do you like the idea of helping senior neighbours grow old gracefully by lending a hand?

Does the idea of sharing and maintaining common areas with neighbours appeal to you?

 Do you like nourishing body and soul with good food, good health, good company, good

conversation?

Do you like living mindfully in community, encouraging wisdom, compassion and interpersonal growth.

Do you consider yourself an optimist, a person with a positive outlook?

How do you encourage community and a healthy work-life balance? 
How does the space balance privacy and security?
What are you comfortable with sharing?
Do you feel at ease there?

Are you willing to forego a garage attached to your house-walking instead from a central parking area in order to have a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood?

Would you like to share inviting outdoor spaces such as gardens, courtyards, decks, patios and views?

What do you hope to get out of living here, and how you can contribute.

Conflict is an inevitable part of living in community. Learning to work creatively with conflict is really important.  How do you plan to help do this?

Cohousers tend to know more about each other’s lives than in an average neighborhood.  Are you okay with this?  There may be judgement or consequences for this (some may consider your actions unsafe or illegal at times)

Do you regard yourself a problem solver, and enjoy contributing to group solutions of issues?

Do you like being around children, and would you participate in their care and well-being on behalf of their young parents?

Are you comfortable with dues of $_____ per month to help your neighborhood be a great community? (some communities need some sort of dues before you move in)

Do you like the idea of interacting in a positive way with neighborhood kids?

How about helping senior neighbors grow old gracefully by lending a hand?

Might you enjoy working in a community garden or orchard?

When you see a problem in your neighborhood, do you think, “How can I help improve this?”

Do you like the idea of shared community open space and helping to care for it?

Might you sometimes enjoy celebrating a holiday with your neighbors?

Do you enjoy sharing your interests with others by creating and organizing activities around them?

Some soul searching questions:

Do you run away from problems?

Do you give others the cold shoulder when you are angry?

Do you say “I don’t care” when others are bothered by something you or your family did.

How will you handle feedback about your outside house areas and parenting style?

How will you handle feedback on your children’s behaviors?

Does the community respect differences of opinions or all want  to be the same?

Are you okay hearing the same conversation?  It may take awhile to get to know each other and stories may be retold or questions re-asked?

Does anyone say anything rude like – we already talked about this?

Watch for how the community treats each other and you.

How do you deal with feedback? (for a laugh, watch Wine Country about a group of friends)

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
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