FAQ

Do you have land?
Yes, we have a 3 acre site under contract at 5180 Universal Pl, Nanaimo (Google Map, Nanaimo City Map). 

What stage is the project at?
We are looking for members to purchase the land with us, co-create the design and the culture of this cohousing project. Our feasibility condition for the land purchase is May 30, for which we agreed to a price of $1.5 million for all 3 acres.

What is the price to join?
The price to join is $50,000. This is a little higher than 10% of the purchase price for the smallest units. This means that for some all that will be required is the $50,000 and then when the unit is purchased the mortgage will kick in to cover the rest. 

How much will the units cost?
We always get asked this, and we really don’t know as we haven’t designed them yet or gotten the detailed information required to provide an accurate price. On other projects we have learned that it is best to base the unit prices on what other projects in the area are averaging, just to help understand the general price range. Given that we don’t have a design or accurate pricing for the units, we expect the prices to fall within the ranges below. This will include not just your private home but access to the common house and other community amenities onsite. During the private home workshop, we will design the units. We can decide on the sizes of the room (apartment sized, or house sized) and the number of bathroom – both of these will have an effect on the construction costs.

These estimates were last updated April 14, 2022.

BedroomsSizeLow end
$450 psf
TargetHigh End
$600 psf
1750$412,500$450,000$487,500
2950$522,500$570,000$617,500
31100$605,000$660,000$715,000
41450$797,500$870,000$942,500
61650$907,500$990,000$1,072,500

What is the timeline?

Since we have just purchased the land and are still planning the development, the timeline is uncertain. Based on other projects, the timeline might look something like this, though at this point it is looking like we will not need the rezone, which may speed up the process:

How doe the money work, and what am I buying into?

When you invest funds in the project, you are purchasing shares in a company. At the end the shares will be worth $1 per share. Early on we sell them for less than $1 so that early investors get a return on their shares as there is more risk and their money is in the project longer. You can either credit your shares to the purchase of a unit, receive cash for the (if you no longer wish to purchase a unit) or we can help you sell them to a member joining the project (with some restrictions) (if you are no longer interested in the project and want to get out sooner). For each project there are a couple households whose life situation changes, and we want to make it fair and easy for them to move on.

In addition to the minimum investment of $50,000 many group members will invest additional funds to secure a rate of return and help the project financially. All investments including the initial investment pay a return on investment as shown in this table below. At the end of the development the shares will be worth $1, and they start at a lower price to create a return on the investment.

Return RateShare PriceBase AmountCostPhase/Purpose
100%$0.50$100,000$100,000Design workshops
50%$0.67$500,000$250,000
Initial Land purchase
25%$0.80$600,000$150,000Soft costs
10%$0.91$1,719,218$171,922Construction funds

So that means a $600 investment in the Site Programming workshop would create a credit of $1,200 towards the purchase of a unit. And, an investment to purchase the land of $100,000 would generate a credit of $150,000 to the purchase of a unit.

If I elect to purchase a home at the end, how would that work?
We are not selling real estate, because we have not filed a prospectus and met other requirements to sell or promote real estate. We are creating a development company to co-invest in a real estate project. It will be possible to credit share investments in the company towards the purchase of a unit at the completion of the development. If that were to happen the following is an example of what the numbers might look like

 

Home Price

 

Unit Base Price

$450,000

 

… Upgrades

$12,000

 

… Land purchase credits as discounts

-$25,000

50% of land purchase investment

… Workshop payment credits as discount

-$4,500

100% of workshop fee

 

$432,500

 
   

Equity Contributions

  

…Workshop Payments

$4,500

 

…Land purchase shares

$50,000

 
 

$54,500

 
   

Purchase and Sale Contract Numbers

  

Contract price of home

$432,500

 

add New Home GST Payable

$21,625

 

Total purchase price

$454,125

 
   

Equity Credits

$54,500

(13% Downpayment)

   

Balance due / Mortgage Required

$399,625

 

Will pet’s be allowed?
It is up to the future residents to create policies about pets. It is common for people to have pet’s in cohousing.

Will rentals be allowed?
It is up to the future residents to create policies about rentals. It is common to have a small number of rentals in a cohousing as it helps create diversity in the community – a large number of rentals is not a common practice.

What are the risks?
There are several risks we are aware of, including:

  1. Experience of Development Partners is limited.
    1. Yonas has participated in the management of two significant projects that were completed (Groundswell Cohousing and Vancouver Cohousing) and another project in Qualicum Beach, which was canceled as the city did not grant rezoning.
    2. Jennifer has a background as a government administrator, specializing in regulation, policy and economics.
  2. City Approvals
    1. Managing city approvals is a challenging process. There can often be long waiting times for documents to get approved. City staff and counsel must approve the plans, density, zoning, and the look and feel.
  3. Market Risks
    1. Real Estate: If the real estate market goes down during the development process, this will have several effects.
      1. It may not be possible to find enough members to move into the project, so this could lead to long delays.
      2. Members who sell their homes may not get enough money to purchase units.
      3. The real estate market may be slow, so purchasers may not be able to sell their units when they wish.
    2. Construction Prices: Vary with inflation and the market for construction workers may change.
    3. Construction Availability: When workers are not available projects may not be able to start their construction at their planned time resulting in delays and extra costs. Or, it may be possible a shortage of one kind of worker may delay the project after it has started.
    4. Inflation & Interest Rate Changes: These may affect the prices of real estate, construction labour, and the final sale price of the home.
  4. Work accidents, theft and other unforeseen errors
    1. While we work to mitigate risks with insurance it is possible that a pipe could burst, a machine could have an error or crash and damage part of a building. These events may have deductibles, may not be covered by insurance, and would likely cause delays.

Who is Amisto and how are they compensated?
Amisto is co-developing this project with the group. We purchased the site and organized a group of interested members.

They are compensated by a 50% share in the theoretical profit. For example if the cost of building a unit is $400,000 and the appraised value is $450,000 then the sale price for that unit will be $425,000. $25,000 of profit would go to Amisto and $25,000 or profit to the group member in the form of a home purchase below market price.
The interests of Amisto and Lost Lake Cohousing generally align as co-developers with the shared aim of creating a real estate development at the best price possible. However, there are some areas where they diverge.

Are there any conflicts of interest?
Yonas and Jennifer via Amisto are acting as co-developers with the group AND also providing services to the group AND making choices that affect the overall cost of the project AND profiting as a codeveloper in the group.

The following areas are the spots where issues may manifest:

  1. It is more profitable for Amisto to sell services to the group as that leads to it keeping 100% of the amount rather than 50% as profit.
  2. It is more profitable for Amisto to increase the number of units, however, Amisto does not suffer from any long term loss in quality of life as a result of a site with higher density.
  3. It may be more important for Amisto to have any member invest in the project rather than just the right member.

Our intention is to be transparent throughout, and mindful of these possible conflicts.