What it Costs

NOTE: Earthaven is in the process of updating our foundation documents with the goal that each neighborhood will be a housing cooperative or similar entity and these residential areas will jointly share the rest of the land and common facilities as lot owners in the Earthaven Homeowners Association. As part of this structural update, there will be changes to terminology, procedures, and fees. The information below will, therefore, need adjusting when the restructuring process is completed. In general, after restructuring, it is expected that a person will need $8,000 or more up front to become a full member, plus costs of renting, buying, or developing a homesite and related infrastructure, plus ongoing annual fees and costs of maintenance.

There are several categories of costs, described below, followed by a list of frequently asked questions about those costs:

One-time Earthaven Community Association (ECA) Fees:
Joining the Earthaven Community Association, a related entity, requires a one-time fee of $8,000, with flexible payment available. These funds are used for capital expenditures for the Earthaven community.

Residential Site Fee:
Each neighborhood will set the price for becoming a full member. If the neighborhood is a housing coop, this will mean buying a share that includes a residential site or unit as well as access to common infrastructure. The price within a neighborhood may vary depending on the size or other characteristics of the site or unit.

Annual Dues and Fees:
Dues and fees are determined annually before the beginning of each fiscal year (January 1). There will be dues and fees that the neighborhood collects and pays to Earthaven, and the neighborhood itself will have fees to cover property tax, maintenance, insurance, or other neighborhood costs. There may also be use fees for neighborhood common facilities, such as the Hut Hamlet Kitchen and Bath. The Earthaven portion of a member’s annual dues and fees was $850 for 2018. Members also pay $100 a year for every vehicle they have at Earthaven.

Annual Community Service Requirement:

Full Members: 1,500 community service hours over their first 10 years; 50 hours per year minimum. Some or all of this may be paid in cash.

Short-term residents owe 16 hours a month and long-term nonmember residents owe 12 hours a month.

The Expenses of Purchasing a Home, or of Clearing, Developing, and Building a Homesite:
Developing a new home site involves clearing trees and removing brush. In most neighborhoods, it also involves building a driveway. It involves bringing in electric power for power tools, water for concrete (footers, foundations, etc.), and other building materials. Of course there are labor costs involved with any building project.

Costs of home site development at Earthaven will range widely, depending on size and desired comfort level. Members with limited cash may build their own homes or take several years to complete construction.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. If I leave, do I get my $8,000 ECA fee back?
This fee is not refundable.

2. Does it cost less to live at Earthaven?
Living at Earthaven can be both less and more expensive than living in mainstream culture. While the up-front costs may be more, ongoing livings costs may be less.

Depending on the size of home you build and the materials used, it can cost more up front because bank loans aren’t available and people need to use existing funds or personal loans. Many homes here are relatively small for this reason. In general, professionally built houses at Earthaven have cost the same or less per square foot than conventional homes of similar quality.

In addition to providing for water and waste treatment, site holders need to set up their own energy infrastructure (off‑grid electric power, propane gas, etc.). This usually entails one-time costs for photovoltaic panels, batteries, an inverter, professional services, etc., which can be expensive.

Building a very small home without electric power is one way to save money. If you choose to go in with others to build a multi-family residence, it can cost less per household. Earthaven homes must meet building codes; county building inspectors have been supportive of our using natural building materials and methods as long as we demonstrate that the buildings meets requirements for strength and safety.

Once people live here, monthly expenses tend to be lower than elsewhere (but this doesn’t include the cost of commuting if they work off-site). A passive solar home will substantially reduce heating costs.

3. Do you have to have a site, or can you rent?
It is possible to live at Earthaven long-term by renting rather than buying or building a home.

4. Can more than one member share a site?

5. What fees are required for children?
A member’s child under 18 may live with the member without paying dues and fees.