Millions of people dream of owning and enjoying a second home. However, the majority of these vacation havens sit unoccupied for 10 to 11 months a year. To solve this dilemma, Austin Allison and Spencer Rascoff of Zillow created Pacaso, a service to expand second home ownership. 

Ten years ago, Allison, Pacaso’s CEO, and his wife became second homeowners in Lake Tahoe. They fell in love with the area, made new friends, and truly felt a sense of belonging in the community. However, as much as they cherished their second home, they saw some serious issues with traditional second-home ownership models. 

“The homes were only occupied a small percentage of the year, which felt like a waste. I knew there had to be a better way to make owning a second home more practical and accessible for families while benefiting their communities,” Allison says.

That’s how the idea of Pacaso was born. By consolidating second-home buyers into fewer luxury homes, Pacaso aims to unlock many benefits for buyers, owners, and communities.

Model of the Future

Allison sees co-ownership as the future for second homes. “Frankly, I think it’s the future for almost any underutilized asset class that produces waste.”

He adds, “75 percent of people above a certain income threshold aspire to own a second home. Most cannot afford or justify owning the whole thing because the average usage is only five weeks per year.” 

Co-Ownership in a Relaxed California Lifestyle

Pacaso properties are found in 40 global destinations—from Cabo and Calistoga to Maui and Miami Beach. Recently, I spent a few days experiencing the Pacaso co-ownership model in one of their standout homes, a stunning canal-facing property on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California, Balboa Promenade.

Balboa Island’s coastal village atmosphere is a perfect mix of charm and sophistication, with an abundance of boutique shops, cafés, and restaurants along Marine Avenue. Parking on the island is limited, and traffic can be congested, but you’ll never need to use your car, as the area is entirely walkable and well-suited for biking. You’ll find boutiques, family-owned restaurants, and small markets on nearby Marine Avenue. And a short ferry ride will carry you across the harbor to the Newport Beach peninsula.

Standout Features and Design 

Pacaso’s Balboa Promenade offers luxurious amenities and unique features, making it an ideal retreat for families and friends.

One of the standout features of this home is the extensive stonework, including multiple stone-paved patios, creating a tranquil atmosphere that feels like a charming home in the south of France rather than Southern California. 

The home has multiple areas to unwind and embrace the island’s casual atmosphere. Though directly facing the canal where people stroll by throughout the day, the property strikes just the right balance of privacy and views. I am particularly drawn to the atrium, which features mature olive trees, an outdoor fireplace, and the perfect spot for morning coffee or evening conversations. 

With multiple decks and the cozy atrium, private kayaks, and perfect weather, I spent a fair amount of my time indoors; however, from the great room to the game room, the home is designed perfectly for entertaining indoors. It is equally able to accommodate large gatherings with wide open spaces and yet also segmented into intimate spaces for relaxed conversations or time alone with a book. 

The home’s interior design has many standout features. The great room’s wood beamed ceilings and cozy fireplace exude warmth and charm, and its multiple windows open to the waterfront views. 

The fully-stocked dream kitchen, with high-end stainless-steel appliances, separates the formal living and dining space from a relaxed family room with doors to that side atrium patio I spend so much time in.

Upstairs, the primary suite is a private oasis with a fireplace, French doors leading to a charming deck, and an ensuite bathroom featuring a soaking tub, two-sink vanity, and a tiled shower (pictured below). I feel like I am in a luxurious hotel every time I enter this space.

A huge benefit is the home’s location. Though Balboa Island is a desirable destination, getting on and off the island can be tricky. However, this property offers easy access on and off the island through the semi-private alley directly from the two-car garage to the Balboa Bridge. 

Photo credit: Adobe Stock / Newport Coast Media

Stress-Free, Turnkey Second Homes

My arrival at Balboa Promenade is turnkey. I don’t need to worry about packing a beach towel or where I will get my morning espresso—everything is there. And, if something is missing, the property manager is a text or phone call away. It comes fully furnished and professionally decorated, so you only need to unpack and start enjoying your new home. Because, as Allison says, owning a second home should be a stress-free and enjoyable experience.

“Our focus on taking out the hassles and headaches associated with property ownership allows our owners to live in the moment and fully embrace their time at their second home,” he says.

One of the main differences between Pacaso and traditional real estate ownership models is that Pacaso is a co-ownership model where buyers purchase a share in a property rather than owning the whole property outright. Pacaso also offers a fully managed owner experience, which reduces the hassle and makes second home ownership more accessible by lowering ownership costs. 

“Many of our owners refer to their Pacaso as their ‘happy place.’ We take great pride in our commitment to owner satisfaction,” Alison says. “By creating a community of co-owners who share a love for these beautiful homes and neighborhoods, we strive to make sure that every owner has a positive and rewarding experience with Pacaso.”

Over 40 Luxury Homes

Whether you prefer a relaxed Southern California vibe or a vibrant Miami lifestyle, through Pacaso, you can own a share of a second home from 1/8 to 1/2 and experience real estate ownership in any of its 40+ luxury retreats.

Learn more about Pacaso’s Balboa Island property at 305 Grand Canal in Newport Beach, California.