What is a housing cooperative?
A housing cooperative is a form of home ownership in which people join together to own property through a democratically controlled not-for-profit corporation.
What do co-op residents own?
In a housing cooperative there are two owners: The not-for-profit corporation (Aquila Commons) owns the land and the building including all common areas and furnishings and the units themselves. The resident/members own and control the corporation. In a co-op, each member receives a stock certificate instead of a deed. The stock certificate entitles the member to live in a specific unit which may be modified to the member’s taste, within limits.
Are co-ops a new form of housing?
The country’s first housing cooperative was organized in New York in the late 1800’s. Today there are more than 78 million housing cooperatives throughout the world, one million of which are in the United States.
Currently, Minnesota leads the nation in the formation of new housing cooperatives. Since 1978, 110 new co-ops provide 6,500+ residences for seniors.
Why are co-ops so popular?
Cooperatives provide the advantages of home ownership with the conveniences of community living.
- Resident/members can take advantage of the homestead credit, property tax and mortgage interest deductions, and Minnesota property tax rebate allowance.
- When it is time to sell the share, the owner receives the selling price less costs owing for refurbishment. The selling price is set by the owner but may not exceed the original share cost plus 3% of the original cost times the number of years owned.
- Cooperatives are governed by a Board of Directors made up of volunteer residents elected by the owners. Members contribute to the operation of the cooperative through monthly dues, and the day-to-day management and activities are handled by the combination of a hired manager and volunteer resident committees.
- Cooperatives create a strong sense of community. Common areas in the building encourage interaction and sociability. The result is a high quality of life for members.
- As owner-occupied communities, co-ops attract individuals committed to maintaining the property’s value for themselves and future residents.
- Cooperatives offer housing which emphasizes equality, responsibility, and caring for others.
How do I join Aquila Commons Cooperative?
You become a member when you purchase a share, are approved to live here by the Board of Directors, and complete the closing process.
You may be working with a real estate agent, or directly with the current owner of the share. Either way, you agree on a total price and down payment (on a purchase agreement) and receive a book of the Cooperative’s legal documents. You have 10 days to review this book before confirming your decision and paying the down payment, or changing your mind and returning the book. If you have decided to proceed with the sale, this is the time to ask the Resident Services Manager to request approval from the Board of Directors.
What happens at closing?
Documents agreeing to the rules established by Aquila Commons are signed. You may pay the entire cost of your share in the form of a cashier’s check or wire transfer, or apply for a share loan (equivalent to a mortgage). If you pay the entire cost from your own funds there is a nominal administrative cost for the closing process.
If you choose to finance your purchase with a share loan, there will be closing costs similar to those associated with buying traditional real estate.
If I decide to take out a share loan, who should I contact?
Contact National Cooperative Bank (NCB) at 1-937-840-6012.
What will I pay per month after I move to Aquila Commons?
Members support the operating expenses of the cooperative with monthly dues. The size of this payment is based roughly on the size of the unit you are occupying. The amount is reviewed and adjusted annually.
What do Association Fees cover?
The dues cover the charge for the management company, exterior and interior maintenance, basic cable TV, water, sewer, trash collection, garage stall and storage room or cage, use of the amenities, and buildup of the reserve fund for major repairs and replacement.
Members are responsible for their own gas, electricity, phone and internet service, and property taxes for their own unit.
What amenities are available?
Included (but not limited to) amenities are:
- Party room with fireplace and kitchen
- Fitness center
- Car wash stall in garage
- Small multi-use room (called the Craft Room but also used for committee meetings)
- Game room with pool table and card tables
- Guest suite with nominal charge
When can I take a tour of the building?
Call the Cooperative office at 952-746-5547.