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3 Reasons to Choose a Housing Cooperative Over Renting

Housing cooperatives in Park Forest were developed to assist war veterans in securing homes for their families at a fraction of the cost of purchasing and owning a traditional single family home. They were meant as "starter" homes for young families to develop equity in their place of residence, to be used later to assist in the down payment of a larger home down the road. The co-ops allowed families, during the mid 40's, to "get a leg up" so-to-speak in the department of financial security.

Proponents for cooperative housing highlighted the benefits of choosing a co-op over renting and single family homes. As was described, housing cooperatives were and are a great way to invest in your future without committing to a mortgage. They provide the freedom to make improvements inside your home without the expense of keeping up with repairs outside of your home. Unlike renting, housing cooperatives offer consistently low monthly fees that do not greatly fluctuate with the regional cost of living.

Below, we describe three main reasons why you should choose a housing cooperative over renting. When you are ready to commit, visit our Ash Street Cooperative office or contact us for more information.


Becoming a member of a housing cooperative is a great way to invest in your future. The upfront cost of purchasing a membership (one membership equals one home to live in) is far less than a traditional single family home. Once the initial payment for your unit has been paid in full, the unit is yours without additional "mortgages" or "costs" other than the monthly maintenance fees and the minor cost to keep up with the interior of your home (ie. painting when needed, air filters, etc...).

Once you choose to sell your unit, the money made from that sale is 100% yours. This money can be used to secure a single family home, invest in the stock market, pay for education expenses, or whatever you choose to do with it. The point is that paying for your unit upfront means investing in your financial security long term.

Renting, on the other hand, provides no financial security. Every rent payment simply fattens the building owners pocket and invests in his/her future financial security; not yours! So, which do you feel is a better option?


While renting, most owners do not allow their tenants to make improvements or upgrades. Even something as small as painting or hanging a new curtain rod is frowned upon and at times, charged against the tenant upon move out.

While our housing cooperatives do have some limitations (you can't relocate walls or install a pool in the livingroom), Members are free to make minor improvements as they see fit. When you are ready for a fresh look, you are free to paint the walls whatever color you desire. Want to have your hardwood floors covered with carpet? No problem. After a simple "Improvement Proposal Form", once approved, you are free to hire a licensed professional to get the job done to your liking - something a rental unit would not allow the freedom to do.


In most states, owners of rental units are free to set whatever rental price they wish. Once your lease expires, they can increase the rent to whatever they determine they want to raise it to. As a renter, you have very limited recourse for a landlord who ups your rent dramatically with just one month notice. Yikes!

Ash Street Housing Cooperative, however, maintains low, consistent monthly fees that cover the cost of running the cooperative without gauging its members for personal corporate gain (which can sometimes be the case with rentals). The monthly fees are voted on by Board Members who are voted into office by the members of the cooperative. It is a diplomatic system of checks and balances that gives every member a voice and a vote in how their membership and cooperative is handled. Compare that to the system of renting and you can easily see why choosing a Housing Cooperative is a far better choice!

Are you ready to join a housing cooperative? Contact Ash Street Cooperative today, the friendliest cooperative in all of Park Forest, to learn about how YOU can ditch renting and become a member today!

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