Second-home shoppers can buy a piece of luxury with help from Pacaso – Daily News

on Sep2
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Whitney Curry is in the business of making it simple for families to co-own a second home.

And not just the right to use time inside one.

“With a timeshare, that’s what you’re purchasing, you don’t own the underlying real estate. With Pacaso, you do,” said Curry, chief marketing executive at the San Francisco-based proptech startup. The company was launched by former Zillow executives Austin Allison and Spencer Rascoff in October 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic as homebuyers went on a shopping spree.

The company buys and then resells high-end second homes to a consortium of buyers in desirable locations worldwide, from coastal Orange County and Northern California’s wine region to as far away as Spain’s southern Costa del Sol. On average, there are six owners but no more than eight per luxury property.

Co-owners schedule their visits through a proprietary app, which is their only point of connection, and are prohibited from renting out their time as a short-term vacation rental.

Pacaso manages all aspects of the co-ownership, from paying the bills to housekeeping. The homes come turnkey with stylish interiors and furnishings. Co-owners pay a monthly recurring fee for LLC oversight, support and technology.

We try to think about both the home being luxury and having a luxury experience with how the fit and finish of the home comes together so when you show up, you’re able to relax and create memories with your family in your home that you own,” Curry said.

Be it a swanky new La Quinta home with a walled-in zero-edge pool for $510,000 a share, a rustic Lake Arrowhead home with a slip boat dock on the shore for $543,000 a share, or a minimalist Santa Cruz home near the water for $799,000 a share.

Want to upgrade or sell? After a year, co-owners can choose to sell their property through a real estate agent or Pacaso.

“You sell at a price that you set for your choosing,” Curry said. “The home is listed for sale on the MLS or a popular real estate portal, and people can search and shop for it just like they would a whole home.”

Southern California News Group recently caught up with Chief Marketing Officer Whitney Curry via Zoom to discuss Pacaso. The conversation has been edited for space and clarity.

Q: Can anybody afford a Pacaso?

A: Pacaso is focused today on luxury real estate. The price point of that varies by market because each market’s median price point is different. Some communities we operate in, like Palm Springs, where you see listings starting in the threes, and then you have other markets where it’s really expensive, like in Aspen or Vail, where you may see ownership opportunities closer to $1 million.

Q: Pacaso has gotten some resistance and pushback from residents in places like Napa County. They likened these homes to timeshares. Can you talk about how Pacaso has dealt with pushback?

A: It is very common for new concepts to face resistance because they’re new. There is an educational opportunity to communicate what our business is and how we support and work with the community.

Pacaso is not a timeshare. Pacaso is a real estate co-ownership. We help families co-own a home together in an LLC.

LLC co-ownership is extremely common, and in some markets where we operate, there are already 10 to 12% of homes that are already owned in an LLC and are already being co-owned. This is a common way to own real estate as a primary and secondary home.

Q: Has it affected the sales of properties in those towns?

A: Owners and our neighbors are happy to have Pacaso in town. One of the key reasons they’re happy to see Pacaso and our owners is that, typically, second homes are mostly vacant. With Pacaso, we can deliver consistent occupancy. We have a 90% home utilization rate. In contrast, most second homes are used roughly 10% of the year.

So when we’re able to talk through some of these misconceptions — Pacaso is not a short-term rental, there’s just a small group of families who are going to be enjoying the home and be a part of the community — the vast majority of the time, we’re able to operate peacefully and deliver a lot of value into the community.

Q: Does Pacaso have plans to expand into new markets?

A: We have a buyer-led expansion strategy. We’re interested in hearing from buyers about where they’d like to see Pacaso expand next. When you look at the map of where we have listings today, those are places where buyers have been telling us for the last nearly two years that they want to have a second home.

We recently launched Cabo in response to demand from many folks in L.A.

Q: Do co-owners ever argue over when they get to use the house?

A: It’s a myth people want to use the home at the same times. Within the ownership group, there is a lot of difference in the usage patterns. Some people will have kids and care about school schedules, and some don’t. Some people prefer the peak season, and others prefer the off-season because there’s less traffic. So, there’s the natural ebb and flow of the ownership group that has been surprising to me personally.

Q: What’s the average length of stay?

A: A little over a week.

Q: Do you own a Pacaso?

A: Pacaso does not operate in Washington today, and I look forward to when we do. I have two little kids, so with the logistics of carting them around, having a drive location is preferable for me versus having to fly everyone a handful of times each year.

Whitney Curry

Title: Chief Marketing Officer

Organization: Pacaso

Hometown: “I’m one of those rare people who actually is a Seattle local. I have not left. I married an awesome guy whose family is also local, and then we had kids. Now we’re positioned right between all of the grandmas, so we’re never leaving.”

Her mom turned her onto real estate: During middle school, Curry’s mother went to work in real estate sales.

“She had such a passion for helping people find a home and find a home that met their needs. Being a field salesperson didn’t appeal to me, but the category did, and what I now have the language to describe as marketing.”

From Zillow’s first intern to marketing exec: “When an opportunity presented itself for me to intern at Zillow, which at the time was a super-small start-up in Seattle, I thought, ‘Oh, this could be an interesting way to combine my interest in real estate with technology and marketing.’

Curry moved up the ranks to director of brand marketing for Zillow until 2019. After 12 years, she left in search of a new challenge.

“Two other former execs at Zillow were feeling similarly and were planning their exit. And so we left together and founded Kingston Marketing Group. They’re still operating today. But while I was there, I decided I was really missing being in-house, and so, when the opportunity presented itself to me to be full-time in a company and to be able to dedicate all of my thoughts to one client and one specific customer problem to solve, I jumped at the opportunity to be at what is now Pacaso.”


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