If you’ve recently overheard someone raving about their Pacaso, you might have envisioned a prized piece of modern art. While the company’s name was influenced by the legendary painter, this Pacaso is modern in a different kind of way.
Co-founded by former Zillow executive and Napa resident Austin Allison, Pacaso is a service that helps buyers co-own a second home. The idea is simple: Give more people an opportunity to achieve second homeownership, and help ensure second homes are being utilized rather than sitting vacant most of the year.
So, why “Pacaso”? Allison said the name was inspired by the artist Picasso’s use of cubism: “It’s about bringing together these individual pieces to create a beautiful whole, and that’s what Pacaso does through co-ownership.”
Co-ownership isn’t a new concept — it’s been around for decades, especially in sought-after locations like Napa Valley. But most people have taken a DIY approach to co-ownership by pooling resources with family or friends to purchase and share a second home, either in an LLC or a less formal arrangement. It may be practical and cost-effective, but it can also be a challenge to set up, a hassle to manage, and difficult to resolve disputes when personal relationships are at stake.
That’s where Pacaso steps in. Pacaso sets up an LLC for a home, coordinates buyers, and takes care of the ongoing demands of homeownership, like paying the bills and maintaining the lawn. Pacaso provides the service, but the co-owners own 100% of the property. And ownership is the key concept — Pacaso serves owners only, who bring an “owner” mindset rather than a “vacation” mindset to the use and care of the home. Short-term rentals are prohibited.
A Midwest native, Allison first visited Napa during business trips to the Bay Area, and he was immediately hooked. The scenery, community — and of course the wine — kept drawing him back. “From the moment my wife and I stepped foot here, we dreamed of owning a home in the Valley. We are now fortunate to call this beautiful place home.” Allison believes Pacaso’s co-ownership model can foster community connections and provide a home away from home where owners know their neighbors, engage in local events and support area businesses, just like those who live there full-time.
He also sees the service as a win-win for the broader housing market. “Many second homes sit empty most of the year, which is painful to see when local affordable and workforce housing shortages are so acute.” Allison thinks Pacaso can help reduce competition for mid-range and affordable properties by giving second-home buyers a better option. Rather than purchasing a moderately priced whole home, Pacaso owners can purchase ⅛ of a higher-end home for the same price (and less hassle).
And, with owners utilizing their property year-round, local businesses win too. “We’re very intentional about working with local property managers, supporting local businesses, and promoting those businesses to the owners,” Allison said.