We have partnered with HomeSight to be the preferred lender of the new Housing Cooperative program at Othello Square, the community development project underway in the Othello neighborhood in South Seattle. The new Limited Equity Cooperative loan program (or Co-Op loan) will provide financing for residents in the Housing Cooperative program. With this partnership and program, Othello Square residents will have access to affordable residential ownership.
Workshops for the new Limited Equity Cooperative loan program are currently offered virtually. Learn more at homesightwa.org.
What is a Co-Op Loan?
A Co-Op loan is a limited equity cooperative loan. This means it is a residential ownership model that allows you to purchase a share in the development instead of the individual unit. Think of it like being a Verity Credit Union member—if you have an open account with us you also have a share in the company and same goes with a Co-Op loan. If you purchase a share in the building, not only are you entitled to one unit, you also have a say in the decision making of the building. When it comes to re-selling your share, there is a limited amount of funds you can sell it for to maintain the affordability.
- Stable housing payments
- Homeowner tax deduction
- Equity building opportunity
- Limited liability
- Community control
- Cultural diversity
- Leadership skill development
- Democratic and civic participatoin
Co-Op vs. Condo
They are different! To be able to buy into a Co-Op, you need to first be approved by the existing development board. This makes the difference as everyone in the community already has a say in who is able to join.
Want to learn more? Register for a workshop with HomeSight!Register for a workshop
HomeSight x Verity
HomeSight is a local nonprofit organization that works to preserve and promote economically and culturally-diverse communities through affordable residential ownership, business development and community advocacy in the South Seattle neighborhoods.
HomeSight and Verity have partnered to offer this limited equity cooperative opportunity in the new U-Lex (pronounced oh-low) building in Othello Square, the same building as our newest branch – coming in 2024. So even if you don't live in the U-Lex building, we'll be there in your neighborhood, a trusted financial partner for all of life's journeys.
Frequently Asked Questions
Limited Equity CO-OPS
What does it mean to live in a CO-OP? A housing cooperative or "co-op" is a type of residential housing option that is actually a corporation whereby the owners do not own their units outright. Instead, each resident is a shareholder in the corporation based in part on the relative size of the unit that they live in.
What is different about buying into a CO-OP vs getting a mortgage on a condo? To buy into a co-op, you must be approved by the co-op board. The approval process is often extensive, and may require interviews and character references, in addition to your employment, financial, and credit history. Co-op boards can refuse a prospective buyer for any reason, so long as it doesn’t run afoul of anti-discrimination policies.
What is the Othello Square Project? New Affordable Residential CO-Operative (CO-OP) coming to the Othello Square Campus in 2024.
Can I find information online about Othello Square? Yes, the webpage is https://homesightwa.org/othello-square/
How many Limited Equity CO-OP units are available for sale at Othello Square? There will be 68 units available for sale.
What types of Limited Equity CO-OP units are available at Othello Square? 1-3 Bedrooms, 1-2 Baths, 579-1017 Sq. Ft.
Can units be rented out? The bylaws in the governing document spells out rules for the co-cop. The purpose is to provide affordable residential ownership to income qualified families. Renting your unit will be prohibited.
Can changes be made to the units? Minor changes such as paining and fixtures are permitted. Any changes that require structural changes or permitting will require written CO-OP Board approval before work can be started.
Where can I find more information about the Othello Square Units for sale? Check out this website: https://homesightwa.org/u-lex-cooperative-housing/
Will Verity have a branch at Othello Square? Yes, Verity will be opening a branch in the U-Lex building (D) in 2024
Where is the Othello Square U-Lex CO-OP building? Prime location across from the Light Rail in Southeast Seattle at 7343 Martin Luther King Jr Way S. What does U-Lex mean (pronounced oh-low)? It means “gather” in the Lushootseed, the language spoken by the Coast Salish tribes.
When is the project going to be completed and ready for occupancy? The building is projected to be complete March 2024.
Verity Preferred Lending
What loan products are available to buy in? We are offering fixed rate loans secured with the CO-OP shares.
Can I refer to a CO-OP loan as a mortgage loan? No, the term mortgage implies the borrower owns the property being financed. A CO-OP loan is a stock/share secured loan in the CO-OP Corporation.
What loan terms are available? Loans over $50,000 will be eligible for 15, 20 or 30 year terms. Loan amounts less than $50,000 can be set up 10, 15 or 20 year terms.
What is the Limited Equity CO-OP product rates? Verity will be using 5.25% for the qualifying rate. The actual rate will be determined within 60 days of the loan closing in March 2024. (Rates cannot be locked in until loans are requalified in January 2024)
How does someone apply for a CO-OP loan? Schedule an appointment with the HomeSight Homeownership Center by calling 206.760.4205 or email at email@example.com
Is there an income qualification for the U-Lex CO-OP at Othello Square? All income earned from permanent full-time household members over the age of 18 will be counted and cannot exceed 80% of AMI. (Refer to HomeSight counselors for more details)
What is area median income (AMI)? The AMI is calculated on an annual basis for each metropolitan area and Non-metropolitan County, making adjustments for household size and other factors. Different housing programs use different percentages of AMI, such as 80% of AMI as maximum income limits for admission.
What is the King County AMI for 2021? Households in King County, WA have a median annual income of $102,594, which is more than the median annual income of $65,712 across the entire United States.
Are there other fees to consider on-top of the CO-OP payment? Monthly maintenance fees that will cover shared building expenses such as garbage, landscape, maintenance etc. There is also a building carry cost fee that is used to make payments on the buildings blanket mortgage.
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