Once again, I saw that many people think they want to start a community home but many fewer commit than express interest: "24 people (found mostly through facebook and word of mouth) expressed interest in being founding roommates, but when it came down to the line only Michael, Melissa and I chose to write a check."
Guest rooms: Gramercy, like several other houses, talks about having a guest room and how much they value that. "One of the nice things that has evolved over time is a crew of regular guests, often friends who need to come to New York for work. Instead of paying for a hotel, they get to have a home with a fully stocked kitchen and a familiar setup. Residents make their own arrangements for what they get in return — sometimes money, sometimes ‘credit’ to stay in the visitor’s home, or good karma."
Gramercy also wrote a post about how they managed finances. Some highlights:
Initial funds: the initial cost of even renting a place is pretty high (security deposit, furniture costs, etc). The way Gramercy approached this was to have some people opt in to pay costs up front, and then have the rest of the house pay them back over time. (I think with interest?) They also note that "if the founders are making financial returns, they need to pay tax on that income" which is something I hadn't considered! Another thing to note is that if the folks who pay upfront make a bunch of interest off of their loan, then that starts to edge towards them taking on a landlord role, which can change the relationship between them and the other community members.
Surplus fund: I've read about this in several other places, but this is something Gramercy does as well: "structuring the house finances so that there is always a bit of surplus, then giving it back to residents to spend through the FUN FUND." Spending from the house might fluctuate month-to-month for groceries and maintenance costs, but they always have the same rent "so that you have enough to cover all of your expenses by default, and don’t have to ask people for more money." Then they use cobudget (which I wrote notes on here) to vote on how they allocate the extra funds. Each member gets some money to contribute to projects, but they also call out that "If you really need the money for yourself, you could always create a bucket for ‘Gillian’s cashout’ and allocate all your money to it."