Who doesn’t dream of owning a property by the sea or a house nestled in the mountains? For many potential vacation home buyers, however, that dream is out of reach. This is why some real estate pros offer an alternative: joint ownership. By buying only an eighth or a quarter of a home’s equity, buyers can reduce costs and share ownership responsibilities with others.
Tech startups, such as Pacaso, SecondShare and Fractional, an investor-focused solution, help real estate professionals negotiate co-ownership deals between groups of buyers, which may be family, friends or even strangers.
SecondShare claims that co-ownership could reduce the initial cost of owning a vacation home by 75%. “A lot of people can’t afford the vacation home they’d like to own,” says co-founder Patrick Duncan. “For those who can, it is often not profitable to own the entire property when they will only be using it for part of the year. Condominiums could be the future of vacation home ownership.
Josh Dotoli, founder and director of Compass’ Dotoli Group in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, recently pitched the idea to one of his buyers. Using the Pacaso platform, his client purchased a quarter of the shares of a waterfront home. The purchase of the house would have cost $5 million, but the client bought a share for $699,000. “Our client got everything he wanted at a price he was happy with,” says Dotoli, who added a section to his brokerage’s website dedicated to condo opportunities.
Real estate professionals are an essential part of condo transactions, says Marnie Blanco, vice president of industry relations at Pacaso. Companies rely on agents to promote the idea of co-ownership and to represent buyers who enter into these arrangements. Pacaso claims that 89% of its buyers are buying a second home for the first time, proof that co-ownership opens up possibilities for a new group of buyers. Agents earn a commission when they represent each individual buyer in a condominium agreement.
When they pitch the idea of timeshare, Pacaso, SecondShare and their competitors realize they first need to clear up an ambiguity: they don’t sell timeshare. Timeshares sell time or are essentially long-term leases, not collective ownership or part of real estate. The co-owners participate in the capital. Owners can publicly sell their stake in a Pacaso or SecondShare property after one year of ownership.
Tech startups know they need to promote this new class of ownership to bring more people onboard. To do this, Pacaso partners with real estate brokers. Recently, she partnered with Engel & Völkers to sell condominiums in Park City, Utah; Aspen and Vail, Colorado; and Malibu, California, among others. Pacaso also worked with the Real Estate Standards Organization to help establish condominium as a property subtype in RESO’s 2022 Industry Standards Data Dictionary.
“With RESO’s definition of condominium as a type of property and our continued work to partner with leading brokerages, we are further cementing condominium ownership as a common buying decision,” Blanco said. “We are helping real estate professionals tap into a new group of buyers, those who have always dreamed of owning a second home but were priced too high or weren’t ready to commit to it. together.”
Learn more about three growing condominium real estate startups:
After launching in 2020, Pacaso quickly achieved “unicorn” status as a tech startup with a billion-dollar valuation. In 2021, its first full year of business, the company sold 400 units at properties owned by Pacaso.
How it works: Pacaso buys a luxury vacation home through an LLC, then sells ownership shares, oversees management and maintenance, and coordinates the owners’ time use and payments. It is present in 35 markets in the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom, with plans to expand to 30 new markets in 2022.
Real estate shares: Buyers must buy a minimum of one-eighth of a share, which allows them to spend 44 nights a year in the house.
About the houses: Pacaso homes are often valued at $1 million or more, located in second home hotspots, and professionally designed and furnished.
How to fund: Buyers can finance up to 70% of the purchase price. A minimum deposit of 30% is required. Pacaso offers competitive rates with banking partners.
For real estate pros: Agents earn a commission for referring buyers. Pacaso also works with buyer’s agents on the homes he buys.
Founded in 2021, SecondShare offers condo-as-a-service for virtually every home in the United States
How it works: It is a platform that can be used to arrange condominium transactions and manage property and ownership details. Co-owners can be matched when purchasing rental properties or use the service to purchase equity shares of a property for their exclusive use.
Real estate shares: Condominium for vacation rentals is typically sold in quarter shares, with a maximum of 50%, to allow each owner more than 21 days of annual use while leaving enough weeks to generate rental income at short term. Owner-only condominiums are typically sold in one-twelfth shares, allowing up to four weeks of property use for each owner.
About the houses: The company can arrange joint ownership of virtually any home.
How to fund: Buyers can finance up to 70% of their purchase with cash, a personal line of credit, or financing available through SecondShare’s finance partners.
For real estate pros: SecondShare pays commissions to listing agents and agents representing buyers in a condominium transaction.
Fractional, a member of the National Association of REALTORS® REACH 2022 cohort, facilitates investment opportunities.
How it works: Users can create or join existing investment proposals. Once a property generates enough interest and financing, Fractional will make an offer on the property and then form an LLC to distribute the shares among the owners. Fractional manages co-ownership agreements and administrative tasks and distributes rents between owners. Fractional is primarily in Georgia, Texas, and Florida, but can support properties in any location in the United States.
Real estate shares: The minimum investment amount is $5,000.
About the houses: Condominium investment opportunities are available for residential and multi-family real estate, including single-family homes, duplexes, or entire apartment buildings.
How to fund: Fractional’s lending partners provide short-term and long-term financing. Interest rates and down payment amounts vary by location, type of property and type of loan.
For real estate pros: The company works with agents to close purchases.