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A unique housing option for seniors in NL

Vintage Estates housing cooperative announces plans for a 55+ community
Jane and Jeff Schott review handouts and documents at an informational meeting regarding the new Vintage Estates Cooperative Community housing development being planned for North Liberty. 130 participants were registered for two sessions on Monday, Feb. 4, at the South Slope Community Center.

NORTH LIBERTY– A 30-unit housing development being built in North Liberty isn’t typically unusual or out of the ordinary. However, A 30-unit development slated for construction this year is unusual in it will be a housing cooperative.
Vintage Estates of North Liberty, a Cooperative Community, will build the 30 single-family homes, and a community center, on a parcel of land along S. Jones Blvd.
Heather Ropp, Marketing Manager for Vintage Estates, a development by Ewing Properties of Pella, explained the cooperative concept at a pair of informational meetings for 130 registered participants Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the South Slope Community Center, in North Liberty.
A cooperative, Ropp said, “Is joint ownership. You’re not only owning the square footage in which you live, but you’re also owning the piece of property you’re living on, the building, the common areas. You’re owning it collectively as a group.”
Ropp explained there are several financial benefits to a co-op including paying collectively toward property taxes, rather than an individual tax bill.
“You’re getting a tax deduction,” she said.
Another benefit is maintenance-free home ownership with exterior and interior upkeep and repair, such as major appliances and heating and cooling systems.
The “number one feature,” Ropp said, is the community aspect.
“We want you to know your neighbors. We want you to interact with them. That’s why we have those common spaces (including a community building in the center of the development). We want you to get together, bring in speakers, have tailgate parties, invite your friends and families in.”
The community center or clubhouse, she said, would be available to residents for anniversary parties and other celebrations.
“We really want you to be in a community where you feel supported, and you’re around like-minded people.”
Ropp emphasized the cooperative is member-owned, and more importantly, member-occupied, meaning the houses cannot and will not be rented out, ever. Members also elect their own five-member board as the community determines it’s own rules and by-laws, and self-governs, similar to a Homeowners’ Association. Minor things such as gardening, landscaping, and home décor are often the first rules set in these communities, she added.
Ewing Properties will secure long term fixed rate financing with no liability for the members, Ropp said. The low rate will also be attractive to any future buyers.
“The goal is to keep your cost as low as possible for as long as possible,” she said.
The low cost includes the first members paying a share cost of 55-60 percent of the full value of their home.
“You’re not going to pay the full out-right price or the full out-right value,” Ropp said.
The value is repaid to the owner through a scheduled appreciation (increase in value over time). In addition to the purchase price is a monthly fee, which covers the maintenance and pays a share of the master mortgage, property taxes, builds a reserve fund, and pays for property insurance. Ropp said there may also be some infrastructure such as Internet service and garbage removal and recycling included as well.
Ray Bisbee, CEO of Ewing Properties, said Ewing Properties first heard of the cooperative concept in 2010, and since then, it has been their focus. There are eight established cooperatives in Ankeny, Indianola, Coralville, Johnston, Beaverdale (a residential community in Des Moines), Ames, and Iowa City. These communities, Bisbee said, are 40-60 units, three-story buildings. Ewing also has a two-story, 25-40-unit community under construction in Altoona. However, Vintage Estates will consist of 30 one-story, single family, slab-built homes ranging from 1,350 square feet to 1,980, and from two bedrooms to three. Vintage Estates is for residents 55 and older, and the three floor plans are designed with single-level living (no stairs) in mind.
Bisbee said they anticipate “hitting the ground running” as soon as final approval is received from the City of North Liberty for the project and noted all 30 homes will be built at the same time regardless of whether or not they have been sold. Buyers will have their choice of floor plan while unsold lots will have one of the three plans built as a spec house. Bisbee anticipated a 12-14-month construction period before occupancy.
“We want to make this a community for the masses,” Bisbee said.
For more information call 319-354-3433 or go online to vintagecooperatives.com.