Pacaso Rethinks How to Own Your Dream Home

For Pacaso founder and CEO Austin Allison, starting a company that had community at its core was integral to his mission. Sure, Pacaso would be a business which allowed individuals and families to purchase second homes at a fraction of the price, but it was about something more to him — something more personal.

“The idea really was sparked about 10 years ago when my wife and I purchased a second home in Lake Tahoe,” Allison tells me. “That second home really changed our lives in a positive way. It turns out when you buy a home, whether it’s a primary or a secondary home, you’re not just buying a piece of real estate, you’re buying a second community, a second group of friends, a second life in many ways.”

And so Pacaso was born—a company that facilitates home ownership, with a twist. Because he found that second homes were so often underutilized, sitting empty for as many as eleven months a year, this new company would be focused on shared ownership.

“When you think about it on a usage basis, [second homes] are bad because they starve the local housing market of inventory, which drives up home prices,” Allison says. “It starves local businesses because owners aren’t using the home year-round, so the local coffee shops or bike rental places struggle to survive in the off season.”

a living room with a fireplace

Courtesy Pacaso

Pacaso’s Creek’s End property.

a room with a table and chairs

Courtesy Pacaso

Pacaso’s Desert Ridge La Qunita property.

In 2020, he left his executive position at Zillow and put into motion a business model that allowed multiple people—as many as eight individuals or families—to purchase a fraction of any given Pacaso property. With properties currently in over 40 destination markets including Napa Valley, California, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the homes are sleek, modern, and beautifully curated while still feeling incredibly warm and welcoming.

One of the most appealing pieces of Pacaso’s mission was the elimination of the hassle and headaches that so often come with home ownership. The team at Pacaso manages everything. “Once an owner buys through Pacaso they don’t have to worry about who’s going to pay the bills, who’s going to coordinate the vendor repairs, what’s going to happen if the air conditioner breaks—the owners just get to enjoy the home.”

a living room with a large glass ceiling

Courtesy Pacaso

With affordability not getting better in the foreseeable future, Pacaso’s business hopes to grow, and reach people looking for their forever homes. “When you have a home that you can call a happy place, it’s a life-changing privilege, right?,” Allison asks. “It’s so much different than showing up at a hotel or staying at somebody else’s home. There’s something that’s special about owning a place that’s your home that you frequent over and over and over again.”

Headshot of Andrea Cuttler

Andrea Cuttler is the Entertainment Director of Harper’s BAZAAR , where she oversees all things film, television, and celebrity. When she’s not watching her DVD of Indian Summer for the 27th time, you can likely find her at one of the same three restaurants in the West Village.