What is the Co-op?
The co-op is a membership based entity that controls and guides all aspects of the projects within its scope. Members pay a membership fee (as with most co-ops) and contribute a token amount of labor to the co-operative tasks. Since it is a co-op, all the assets are membership "owned". That means that the ultimate project of the co-op, the space habitat, is owned by members. Therefore a "home" is built for each member and they can take up residence in it upon completion.
Real estate laws in many countries prohibit or significantly restrict how real estate is sold, especially prior to the construction of the property. By selling a membership in a co-op, we circumvent this issue in that we are not selling you a property but you have "use/ownership" of a "property" as defined within the bylaws of the co-op. Your membership is like a share. You own part of the entity that is the co-op and all of its holdings. You are given certain entitlements with your membership and one of them is a home aboard the habitat upon completion.
What are the benefits?
Besides being an owner in the assets of the co-op, you have several other benefits. For starters, you get access to and right to the use of the co-ops Terran holdings. The co-op secures 20% of all funds received in real estate such as a hotel in Mexico perhaps. As a member you would be entitled to a limited stay there free and a reduced rate for extended stays. Your 10hour labor contribution each month could be subbed out on a contract. This could result in a small revenue for your labor. Also, if the co-op requires more of your time than the prescribed 10hrs/month, you could qualify for financial compensation for your extra efforts. As the cooperative earns profits, an annual dividend is returned to the membership.
Habitat Life advantages
First, there is no costs for anything on the habitat. That is, once you move in to the space city, all your needs are free except for your 10hours a month labor requirement. You will be living in a carefully controlled and monitored environment that is virtually free of pollution. The politics is 'true' democracy in that anyone can vote on any issue that is not time critical.
The society and social structure is one of access and achievement. Everyone has access to any facility and is encouraged to foster their dreams and talents.
How much does it cost?
A $250,000 mortgage at 3% per year for 25 years has a payment of about $1200per month. Of course, with the traditional "home" purchase you get to live in your home while you pay it off. So, what is a reasonable cost for a membership (home) in the eyes of the co-op and yet still affordable to you? We have to keep in mind that you will continue to incur housing costs until the habitat is complete and thus our membership payments must be affordable to the average mortgaged family.
In most areas of North America, it is reasonable to expect to pay in excess of $100,000 for a home and the mortgage on that would be about $475/month. Therefore, it would also be reasonable to expect to pay comparable for a home in the habitat. Keeping in mind that you cannot live in the home till it is built, we have determined a value a little below the reasonable level in an attempt to make it affordable.
A membership in the Space Development Co-op is payable in a lump sum or in monthly installments. We are not in the business of bankrupting people and for that reason, if you are on payments and cannot make a payment, that payment is simply added to the end of your term at no further penalty*. Having a bad year, is also not an issue as there is no limit as to how many payments you may defer, those payment are added on to the end of your term. Keep in mind that you cannot move in to your completed habitat home until your membership is paid in full. A membership is fully transferable and can be sold. The new owner of a transferred membership will be required to complete any financial commitments your membership has outstanding. A membership extends to all the members of your immediate family and one generation prior or of your descendants. Until occupation of the habitat, only the principal owner of the membership or a person of their choosing is required to contribute to the labor pool.
A membership in the co-op and ultimately your home on the habitat costs:
$15,000 lump sum or payments of $50/month for 25 years
*Some membership privileges may be suspended on accounts that are repeatedly deferred as per the bylaws of the co-op. All co-op members are required to contribute the prescribed 10hours labor per month regardless of payment status or options.