Frequently Asked Questions
What is e(cohousing)?
Ecohousing is our twist on the cohousing name. It’s a mash-up of “eco”, “collaborative” and “housing”, all words that describe this project. Learn more about cohousing on our What is Cohousing? page.
Will I own my own home?
Yes. Once construction is complete, the neighbourhood will be incorporated under the ‘condominium’ legal structure. Individual member households will each own one of the homes, as well as a share of the common facilities. This is the most common ownership structure for cohousing communities in North America.
Just like any other home, members who want to sell their home need to find a buyer for it. Because Treehouse Village Ecohousing will be legally incorporated as a condominium, our homes can be bought and sold on the open market.
What will it cost?
Check out our current home availability and prices on our Homes For Sale page.
Our pricing is comparable to new, energy efficient, quality construction in the South Shore of Nova Scotia, and when you choose Treehouse Village, you are also purchasing access to shared amenities. These include our common house, which will have a large kitchen and dining room as well as office space, a children’s playroom, a fitness room, and even guestrooms for your friends and family to stay in; our community workshop; and about 10 acres of forest. And, we not only offer ultra energy efficiency in the homes, but our entire community, from the development of the land to living in it, offers more opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and expenses than Atlantic Canada has ever seen.
In cohousing, the future residents work together to develop the community at cost; there is no developer profiting off the build. Investing in a cohousing community means more than just purchasing real estate – it means investing in an intentional life surrounded with everything you need at your fingertips, while providing long-term opportunities for reduced expenses and higher quality living.
Would I still have privacy?
Yes! We all value privacy as well as social contact. There can actually be increased privacy in cohousing because the common areas provide meeting places, guest spaces, rooms for socializing, etc., allowing individual homes to be places of privacy and retreat. We talk about privacy in our blog post on Common Cohousing Myths and Misconceptions.
Will pets be welcome?
Most definitely! We have set a preliminary policy which we will evaluate before move in. Contact us if you would like to see our Pet Policy.
What is the common house?
In addition to modestly equipped private homes, our community will also share extensive common amenities, many of which will be located in the “common house” and community workshop.
The common house was designed to be the heart of the community and to encourage interaction between residents. This is where you can have a cup of coffee or tea with a group of neighbours while keeping an eye on your child in the playroom or waiting for laundry in the common house laundry room. It’s where you might join neighbours in a community meal that you didn’t have to make or prepare a meal for your neighbours. It’s where guests can stay when they visit. The common house is an extension of your own living room.
Check out our designs for the Treehouse Village Common House.
Will members share meals together?
Sharing meals is an important part of all cohousing communities. They typically share anywhere from a few meals per month to several nights per week. It depends entirely on the wishes of the residents, and participation is up to each individual – social activities are always optional.
What is your governance and legal structure?
Like many established cohousing communities, our group uses sociocracy (aka: dynamic governance) as its governance structure and decision-making method. Sociocracy is a participatory, consent based process that distributes power non-hierarchically among members. No prior experience is necessary, members receive training and ongoing support in using sociocracy.
“Treehouse Village Ecohousing” is a development company, owned by its members, with the sole purpose of developing this community. The money to make the development happen comes from its member households. This is the simplest and most common legal structure for cohousing developments because it limits member liability, allows flexibility, and is most easily recognized by lending institutions.
While the up-front capital comes from the members, the company did take out a construction loan to finance the build. There is never any profit to the company; homes are sold to the members at cost, and the company is dissolved after construction is complete. Once we move in, Treehouse Village will be incorporated as a standard condominium corporation.
How do I become a member?
The first step is a low stakes commitment of becoming an Explorer member. This is a two-month membership ($75-$150), which allows you to participate in our community and discover who we are before you make a commitment to invest and reserve your home.
Check out our Buy A Home page to schedule a virtual viewing with our recruiter.
Do I have to like everyone?
No. As in any community, residents will be naturally closer to some than others. However, our members all expect and deserve to be treated with respect, which fosters a healthy community. In addition to designing the physical structures, community members will design the social structures that enable respectful relationships.
To help guide our interactions, we have created Community Standards.
At Treehouse, we are committed to:
Communicating in ways that are honest and transparent, while doing our best to be courteous and considerate, welcoming and inclusive, compassionate and empathetic.
Contributing in ways that enrich the social fabric and physical space of our community and that encourage each other to share our varied gifts, abilities, and insights while also recognizing our own needs.
Collaborating in ways that are intentional and where challenges and disagreements are met with curiosity, openness, and the understanding that we are all learning together.
Caring for ourselves, our neighbours, and our earth; while celebrating diversity, offering hospitality, living lightly, and being grateful on our journey.
And…together we create a community, a village we can call home.
Can I expect child care or help if I get sick?
Cohousing is envisioned as a community in which people are friendly and supportive to each other – especially in times of need. However, this support is always voluntary, and usually arranged between individuals.
Can I still be a member if I live far away?
Most definitely! We currently have members as far away as British Columbia, the United Kingdom, and Kenya. We use online platforms and tools, such as video conferencing and cloud storage, which enable members to participate in meetings from wherever they are. Training and support with these tech tools is provided.
Once we move in, we’ll all be neighbours and won’t have to rely on all this technology so much!
Is meeting attendance mandatory?
Our full membership meets approximately once a month. Relationships are strengthened through discussion at meetings, by working together in circles, and by socializing at community events. An effective and cohesive community is best forged by working and making decisions together. Attendance at meetings is not mandatory. However, you are expected to abide by the decisions made by the group in your absence.
What will be expected of me once we move in?
After move-in, members will work together to take care of the community. There will be a monthly maintenance fee that each owner will be expected to pay, and there will continue to be regular meetings concerning the running of the community and further decision-making.
Will there be condo fees?
There will be monthly fees that go towards the upkeep of all the common elements (the building exteriors, the common house, the grounds, etc) and cover individual homes’ heat, power, water, AND high speed Internet! The monthly condo fees range from $260-$360 depending on the home type you own.
What is Bridgewater like?
Bridgewater is a progressive town that has developed a reputation for innovation in sustainability and is gaining national exposure for its efforts. It has also been recognized as the best community in Atlantic Canada for young families. As a regional hub, it is home to many excellent amenities, and is surrounded by the natural beauty of the ocean and rural Nova Scotia.