Pacaso lets buyers balance flexible ownership with community connection
Published Date: January 6, 2023
Before becoming Pacaso owners, frequent travelers Byron and Elizabeth hadn’t thought much about buying a second home — at the time, they didn’t own their primary residence, and they enjoyed seeing new places. While they liked exploring different towns along the Northern California coast, it took planning. “We were spending a lot of time and energy finding places to stay,” said Elizabeth. They had several friends in St. Helena, a Napa Valley town within an easy drive of their Bay Area home, and they visited the area fairly often. They had toyed with the idea of buying property there, but it didn’t seem like a realistic option. “It’s really hard to find properties in St. Helena, and a full-time second home wasn’t in the cards,” said Byron. But then an interesting opportunity presented itself: Some friends of theirs, Jay and Michael, had decided to “sell down” part of their St. Helena home to Pacaso. The home, known as the Poolhouse, was Pacaso’s first property, and Byron and Elizabeth had fond memories of the times they’d spent there in the past.
Seizing the opportunity
Being able to buy a share of the Poolhouse seemed like a stroke of good fortune. “Owning a whole second home was a barrier financially, and it didn’t make sense for us when we considered the maintenance and upkeep for a place where we wouldn’t spend that much time,” said Byron. Co-ownership with Pacaso seemed like an ideal option — they already knew and loved the home and the area, they wouldn’t have to worry about any maintenance headaches, and the ability to right-size their ownership provided the flexibility they craved. “We like to travel a lot and didn’t want to have to spend all of our vacation time at a second home.” Most importantly, it was financially attainable, with the help of Pacaso’s financing option. “Financing made it possible and kept costs down to a reasonable amount. It balanced out to about what we pay for the average weekend a month we spend on a short family trip, or less than what we would spend on a vacation rental.” Still, it was a new model, and they needed to feel assured that it worked for their needs. “Once we understood the transaction and how everything worked, we felt comfortable and it was really a no-brainer at that point,” said Byron.
Time in their Napa home
Having young children — 3-year-old twins — hasn’t dampened Byron and Elizabeth’s interest in travel, but it has changed their perspective on second home ownership. “We really like the feeling of ownership over a vacation rental because we get to spend time in a place where we can make memories together. The kids look forward to coming here, and they understand that it's our Napa house and they get to play in the pool and see friends who live up here,” said Elizabeth. And that sense of connection and consistency is unique to ownership, said Elizabeth. “We feel like we’re part of the community even though we’re part time. You don't get that familiarity and memories at a rental or a hotel. You have a nice time, but there’s nothing sentimental or special.” Sometimes those memories are part of the flow of daily life, like meeting up with local friends to watch their son’s Little League game at Crane Park. Other times they are moments to cherish, like celebrating the twins’ birthday at their Pacaso with both sets of grandparents who they hadn’t been able to see in over a year. And best of all, creating memories doesn’t come with any added stress. “Owning our Pacaso is effortless,” said Elizabeth. “We don’t have to do any extra planning or work, and we know the house will be the same as when we left it. It’s turnkey ownership, and we just show up and enjoy ourselves — we don’t have to worry about the details.”