How Pacaso created a new approach to second home ownership
Published Date: January 5, 2023
Pacaso started with one guy achieving his personal goal of owning a second home. That guy is Austin Allison, tech entrepreneur and now CEO of Pacaso.
“I felt like I’d achieved a dream,” recalls Allison, who grew up in Cincinnati and built his first company, dotloop, there. “I wanted to make that feeling accessible to more people.”
Allison shared his excitement with former Zillow CEO, Spencer Rascoff. The pair had hit it off when Rascoff’s Zillow acquired Allison’s dotloop, an online platform to manage property transactions. They began brainstorming ideas for startups that would combine their shared passions for property, travel and tech innovation. They gravitated toward the concept of making second home ownership more achievable for more people, of helping people reduce waste by not buying more home than they’ll use, and enabling true ownership with far fewer hassles than traditional buying options. Their plan was to launch Pacaso in a handful of destination markets with a website full of robust listings in each market, then expand over time.Then came Covid-19. Its emergence shifted those business plans and quickly revealed how much home meant to people.Pacaso’s leadership team pivoted, based on new behaviours, needs and preferences of people across the country. People were less inclined to fly to a second home a few times a year. Instead, they were driving an hour or two from home for relaxing weekends and remote-work weekdays at their second homes. Inventory in second home markets, large and small, has quickly become even more constrained as demand has increased, leaving many would-be buyers priced out. So instead of simply tapping homes in traditional second home markets, the plan shifted to “Pacaso everywhere.” The idea is simple: Instead of simply sourcing listings and guessing which places would resonate, we would ask people within easy reach of major cities which homes we should turn into a Pacaso. If people see a property for sale that they love, we’ll help them buy the amount that’s right for them by creating a property-specific limited company with a maximum of eight owners. Those co-owners enjoy their fully managed Pacaso because we take care of scheduling and maintenance. Plus, many buyers can afford a property in a higher price bracket than they could buy as an entire property. So that’s how we came to be. But you may be wondering about where we came up with the name Pacaso. Sounds a lot like a pretty famous artist, doesn’t it? That’s not a coincidence. We are inspired by Pablo Picasso’s revolutionary thinking and by the way he challenged norms in early 20th century art. He is credited with co-creating Cubism, in which individual elements of everyday people and things are rearranged and put together in groundbreaking and innovative ways. That resonated with how we’re approaching second home ownership. We decided on Pacaso to honour Picasso's legacy of innovation.