What it Costs
There are several categories of costs, described below, followed by a list of frequently asked questions about those costs.
Costs for New Residents (AKA New Roots)
Monthly Dues and Fees for New Roots:
For the first year they live at Earthaven, renters and work exchangers pay the Earthaven Community Association (ECA) monthly fees of $35 per person and $15 per vehicle, plus a one-time administrative fee of $25 per person. After a year, the monthly fees change: (1) the ECA vehicle fee is replaced by an Earthaven Homeowners Association (HOA) vehicle fee of about $11/month; (2) A new HOA fee of about $58 per person is also assessed; (3) the ECA fee of $35 per person remains in place. When a resident starts provisional membership, these dues and fees are replaced by the annual dues and fees, below. More information.
Community Service Requirement:
Short-term residents owe 16 hours a month and long-term residents owe 12 hours a month. Some or all of this may be paid in cash.
Costs for Provisional and Full Members
One-time Earthaven Community Association (ECA) Fees:
Joining the Earthaven Community Association requires a $3,400 Joining Fee and a $5,600 Commons Fee, with flexible payment available. The fee amounts are adjusted annually for inflation. These funds are used for capital expenditures for the Earthaven community. More information.
Residential Site Fee:
Each neighborhood sets the price for becoming a member. If the neighborhood is a housing coop, this means 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 for the ECA and the HOA are determined annually before the beginning of the fiscal year (January 1). The ECA bills members directly for ECA dues and fees. HOA dues and fees are collected by the neighborhoods and paid over to the HOA. HOA fees include $132 a year for every full-size vehicle a member has at Earthaven ($60 for golf carts, motorcycles, and other small vehicles). The neighborhood itself will have fees to cover taxes, maintenance, bookkeeping, or other neighborhood expenses. There may also be use fees for neighborhood common facilities, such as the Hut Hamlet Kitchen and Bath.
HOA Special Assessments for Capital Projects:
The HOA has the authority to levy special assessments from time to time to fund capital improvements.
Annual Community Service Requirement:
ECA 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.
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 ECA Joining Fee or Commons Fee back?
If you leave within 18 months of starting provisional membership, part of the Joining Fee is refundable. The Commons 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 living 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 usually 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.
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 own a site, or can you rent?
It is possible to live at Earthaven 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 19 may live with the member without paying dues and fees.