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Situated in the mountains of northern Utah, the small town of Park City is home to big things, including the largest ski area in the U.S. and the renowned Sundance Film Festival. Its scenic locale, recreational access and quaint downtown have made it a popular choice for second home buyers looking for a small-town feel with no shortage of activities and dining options.
That’s where David Lawson comes in. David leads the Lawson Team in Park City — the top-performing Engel & Völkers team in North America, with over $115 million in sales in 2020 — and says about two-thirds of his buyer clients are looking for second homes.
Bringing new opportunities to second home buyers
As a 35-year resident of Park City and with more than two decades in real estate, David knows the local market. When he learned that Pacaso was looking for partnerships in Park City, he was interested right away. Having worked with Zillow, David was familiar with Pacaso founders Spencer Rascoff and Austin Allison and their track record of real estate innovation. “That background was enough for me to know that Pacaso was going to be something special.”
David is also aware that the majority of second home owners stay at these properties for a small fraction of the year. “Most people use their second homes four to five weeks a year, maybe six. I had one client who only came out for 10 days each Christmas — that was it for the whole year.”
The ability to offer clients an option that better matches their use of the home is very appealing to David. “When you have a buyer, you should give them all the opportunities out there,” he says. He doesn’t feel like he’s trying to sell buyers on the concept, because the value is clear: “They can buy a $5 million house for $625,000 — who wouldn't want that? I tell them they can use it 80-90% of the time they want and only pay one-eighth of the price. It just makes sense.”
Expanding options for co-ownership
While the co-ownership model is new to some agents, it’s familiar territory for David. As a sought-after vacation home destination, Park City real estate includes a variety of resort timeshare and fractional ownership opportunities, and David has represented many buyers seeking this option.
Knowing firsthand the benefits of fractional ownership, David is excited to see the market open up to include a broader variety of homes that appeal to buyers looking for one-of-a-kind properties like those offered by Pacaso.
“What’s best for the client,” says David, “is to give buyers all of the different opportunities. I believe Pacaso has solved a problem with second home ownership, and we need to share that with our clients. And when we do, they love it. Even if they don’t buy, they know that we’re trying to help them in their decision-making process.”
Generating leads and sparking referrals
David saw benefits from his partnership with Pacaso almost immediately. “Pacaso has really impacted my business in a positive way,” he says. “In the first week we sold two one-quarter shares and a lead that resulted in a $5 million sale.”
He acknowledges that co-ownership isn’t for everyone — some buyers want to be guaranteed all of their preferred dates every year, in which case David is happy to show them properties available for whole home purchase. For many buyers, however, the co-ownership model is ideal for their needs.
Either way, being able to present multiple options to his Pacaso leads is a boon for his business. “In addition to the three sales that we’ve already had, we have two properties under contract for people that want full ownership. We have about a dozen inquiries that we think will buy Pacaso or full ownership. It is amazingly good for us. We’re winning all around.”
The future of second home ownership
In a market like Park City, where second homes account for a significant percentage of sales, David sees Pacaso as a potentially transformative model. Buyers want options that suit their needs, and Pacaso is well-positioned to provide a new and right-sized way to own a second home. Meeting the needs of the client is David’s core philosophy: “We focus on the customer. If you always do what is right for the client, in the end you win.”
Based on his partnership thus far, David feels confident that Pacaso shares this philosophy, and sees their entry into the market as a benefit to the industry and customers alike. “We are fully engaged in the Pacaso program,” says David. “I believe Pacaso is going to change the way people buy second homes in the next two, five, 10 years and beyond. We are so excited.”
Watch this video to hear more about why David loves working with Pacaso.