Choosing a confesseur

Wait, without a doubt.

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Hi guys,
Just a quick note to say that i finally managed to find a solution and will be joining @Celine_D at the meeting with confesseur today at 5pm (online). We will have a separate call before to discuss the details & content of the call.

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Reporting on today’s meeting with Jean-Pierre. I instinctively liked him a lot. He seems kind, wise and unassuming.

The meeting started by recapping the confesseur process. With respect to Mark’s version, Jean-Pierre emphasized three things:

  1. Team of two. Brutopia actually had two confesseurs. He himself acted as the main one, but a second person, member of the group, with less financial experience than he, was the backup.
  2. Evidence. Part of the process is to show to the confesseur documents that prove the solvency of the member: extrait banque, extrait de patrimoine mobilier, etc.
  3. A delicate matter. He is aware that this process can be triggering, and recommends a delicate touch: confidentiality over full transparence, in-person first meetings, etc.

Answers to our questions:

  1. Are you doing this as a volunteer or as a paid service? In the latter case, what is your fee?

Jean-Pierre sees this as volunteering. He would ask the group to make a small donation to a foundation dedicated to cancer research.

  1. Languages?

He is native to French, but can be the confesseur in Dutch and English as well.

  1. What information do you need in order to do your viability check?

See above: information on cash and other assets that can be liquidated, and the relative supporting documents like extrait banque, extrait de patrimoine mobilier, etc.

  1. Do you prefer to see people in person or online? Where, how would it work logistically? How often would you be willing to do this? One household a week or so?

Definitely in person for the first meeting, and ideally with two confesseurs to make it feel less like an exam. He suggests to use the same method as Brutopia did, which was a sort of clinic: make 4-5 one-hour appointments in the same day. They borrowed Stekke & Fraas’s meeting room, which he reckons we could still do. This is doable pretty much always, except on Tuesdays. He is also going to be traveling in October and November.

After we have @Celine_D and @ugne’s report, we can move on to creating a proposal on the process!

Hi @reef-finance,

For the sake of transparency: I sent an email to Mark today to ask some further questions about the timing of the confesseur process. Alberto and I realised that we are not fully clear about when we should do it, and how precise the data on the cost of the units should be. I’ll keep you posted once I get an answer.

Here is a link to our report on the meeting with Marcel Heymans, drafted by Ugne : Nextcloud

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Hi reef-finance,


The short answer we received from Mark is “Yes, do it as soon as possible, if need be based on estimated prices. And then do a second round just before the moment of the purchase.”

Full reply

Below is a machine-translated (corrected) copy of question and answers.

1) At what stage did you hold the confesseur process in Brutopia (or in the other groups)? Was that at the very beginning, or rather just before you started looking for a site?

“The confesseur seems useful to me after a common and private program has been decided to which a probable budget can also be linked + it is clear where the site should be looked for. Then an important step has already been taken and it would be a good time to confront everyone with their financial possibilities.”

2) If it was rather in the beginning:
  • On the basis of what financial cost data did you hold the confesseur process?
  • Or also: how can someone ever know what he/she/they can afford if we do not know what our budget looks like, the exact price per m² and the “fourchette” / “accordéon” in function of the sales value?
  • Or also: should we wait for a more precise estimate, or can we start the process with the estimate of S+F (3500 euros / m² (with finishing and parking)?

"You can’t help but work with a theoretical budget. So start from the current market price in Brussels, but then everything included. If the market price has been determined, a group can also decide to stay below that by 20%, which of course has an impact on the program or location of the site.

This theoretical market price is an average price which means that once the site has been chosen the possibility is examined whether a fork in the price is possible. For example, if you buy a beguinage, everyone has exactly the same home and a fork is not possible. At this stage, it is only possible to work with “rough” figures, but these are good enough to confront everyone with the financial reality.

It is a good exercise to find a financial balance between the private and joint programme. This balance can also be made clear with simple examples: based on the current desired program, a 2-room apartment of 90m2 has a private cost of X€ and a common cost of Y€. If I have a budget that is only the amount X€ I might be able to settle for 70m2 or a more limited budget for the community. Of course, the latter is only possible if everyone agrees with this.

This exercise must be made before you begin the search for a site. This is because there is no time for such discussion when the site is found. This theoretical exercise can be seen as a benchmark. Everyone knows that if a site is purchased that is more expensive than this “benchmark” after completion, cuts will have to be made in the private or /and common program."

3) If it was rather towards the end: How, then, can we make an early assessment of whether our resources correspond to our wishes?

“I am therefore in favour of a relatively early check (see.1) of the finances because this brings reality into the project. A second test is of course necessary at the time of purchase. There it is important that only those people buy that we know can also handle this financially.”


Hello Albert,
I am not also receiving email notifications

Hi @reef-finance ,

Following our meeting with Marcel and Alberto’s with Jean Pierre, plus Mark’s answer to Lie’s questions, could we have an online meeting to discuss what we do next? It seems we would need to organise ourselves quickly, decide on confesseur or even confesseurs’ choice and start filling the agenda with meetings, correct? Or do we have to wait till 15 Sep to report and decide then? Just to be clear on the process. Thanks

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That would be @reef-finance’s next team meeting. Unfortunately, we need to reschedule now (see). Malaz, Céline, do you want to meet at my place (5 mins walk from Brutopia) before the meeting with the architects (if you are even coming to that meeting)?

I’ll come to the meeting with the architects, but I can’t make it earlier.

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Hello @reef-finance, I created a draft for the confesseur process. It is here:, in the “Financial viability” folder of Team Finance. Could you revise and hopefully finalize while Celine and I are gone?

I moved to the same folder also the report from the meeting with Marcel Heymans (thanks @Celine_D and @ugne ).

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noted & thanks, @alberto ! & Safe trip!

Hello @reef-finance,

I read Alberto’s draft and as far as I can see it looks good to go.

Would you be willing to present this document as a proposal at the next plenary meeting on 29 September?

For The Reef I think it would be a big win if we could move on with this, plus we also don’t have any other points for the plenary meeting of the 29th, so it would be really great if this could work out.

Can you please let me know?

Thanks a lot!

Hi @reef-finance , hi @Lee ,

I agree that Alberto’s draft doc looks good & it would be indeed great moving forward, but i won’t be able to attend the online session on the 29 Sep, as that night i leave to London to see my sister. Could anybody else from the team take this task (presenting)?
Thanks in advance!


Hi @ugne,

Thanks for your reply.

My concern was that within there may have been a need in the Team to continue the discussion, but at the same time I think it’s important to not overcomplicate things that can be simple.

So unless @Mas and @Celine_D see a major stumbling block that I am not aware of, I would propose to put the document on the agenda of the plenary on the 29th, counting on Alberto and/or Céline to take care of the presentation?

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Architect estimation, round one

Hello @reef-finance! I have been made aware that the discussion on the confesseur process is going to be the centerpiece of the plenary of the 29th – it is urgent to kickstart it, and we have no other topic for that plenary. So, two things need to happen:

  1. The team needs to approve the document. It obviously works for me, and Ugne has approved it. We need the approval (with modifications, if necessary) from Céline and Malaz ASAP.
  2. We need to find someone to present. We know Ugne is not available. I do plan to participate in the plenary, but @Lee and I will be on an island off the coast of Sicily, and we might have good Internet or not. We cannot even test it in advance, because it will be our first day there! So, it is risky for me to be the presenter. That leaves Céline and Malaz: is one of you willing to present the document?
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Hello @reef-finance ! I read the document.
About @alberto 's comment on the last paragraph: Marcel Heymans actually recommended having someone from The Reef go to Immotheker first (not after the confesseur process), to introduce the project to them and ask for general advice.

I agree with the other parts of the proposal.

@Mas would you like to present this to the plenary? If not, I’ll do it.

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Indeed, but his recommendation, as I recall it, is to do it as a group. So, in practice, this would not influence the process for individual Reeflings.

Great! I’ll still be there.