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Pacaso Deep Dive: The Pros and Cons of Fractional Ownership

luxury home with pool

Fractional ownership is gaining some appeal for real-estate investors but are platforms like Pacaso worth the risk?

Author: Martin Lundgren

Recently, multiple clients of Northern Lights Advisors have asked for insight into Pacaso, a company that has garnered attention for redefining how individuals can invest in and enjoy second homes. As financial advisors, we believe it’s essential to examine the pros and cons of fractional ownership when considering this real estate investment option so you can make informed decisions when diversifying your portfolio.

Let’s dive in!

What is Pacaso?

Pacaso is a real estate platform that facilitates fractional ownership, allowing individuals to co-own high-end properties without the full financial commitment of sole ownership. Through platforms like Pacaso, investors can purchase shares in luxury residences, gaining access to premier locations and amenities while benefiting from professional property management and maintenance services. 

This model can not only make luxury real estate more financially accessible but also provide flexibility in scheduling stays, enabling co-owners to enjoy the perks of a second home without the typical burdens associated with property ownership.

Sounds intriguing, right? Let’s start with the good stuff: the pros.

Pros of Pacaso Fractional Ownership

Exploring the advantages of fractional ownership with Pacaso reveals a spectrum of benefits, including access to upscale properties, diversified investment portfolios, professional management, shared costs, and flexible usage options.

Access to High-End Properties

Pacaso opens the door to luxury real estate that might otherwise be financially out of reach. Through fractional ownership, you can enjoy the benefits of owning a share in a high-end property, complete with all the amenities and in a location of your choosing.

Diversification of Investment Portfolio

Real estate has long been considered a stable and valuable component of a diversified investment portfolio. Pacaso allows you to add real estate to your investment mix without the burden of sole ownership. By diversifying your holdings, you can potentially reduce risk and enhance overall portfolio performance.

Professional Management and Maintenance

One of the key advantages of Pacaso is its commitment to providing professional management and maintenance services. This means that you can enjoy the benefits of property ownership without the day-to-day hassles. Pacaso handles property management, ensuring your investment remains in top condition.

Cost Sharing

Fractional ownership with Pacaso enables you to share the costs associated with property ownership. From property taxes to maintenance expenses, the financial burden is distributed among co-owners, making high-end real estate more financially feasible for a broader range of investors.

Flexibility and Convenience

Pacaso offers flexibility in scheduling your stays, allowing you to use the property when it suits your schedule. This level of convenience is particularly appealing for those seeking a second home experience without the commitment and costs associated with full-time ownership.

Cons of Pacaso Fractional Ownership

Amid the appeal of Pacaso’s fractional ownership model, navigating potential drawbacks, such as limited control and usage, disputes among co-owners, market risks, high entry costs, and dependency on Pacaso’s overall success, is crucial.

Limited Control and Usage

Who gets the mansion for Christmas or the Fourth of July? While fractional ownership provides access to high-end properties, it also comes with limitations on usage. Co-owners must adhere to a predetermined schedule, and the flexibility to use the property may be constrained, especially during peak seasons.

Potential for Disputes

Remember having roommates? Shared ownership can lead to potential disputes among co-owners regarding scheduling, property usage, or decision-making related to the property. Establishing clear communication channels and rules is crucial to mitigate such conflicts.

Market — and Neighborhood — Risks

Real estate markets can be unpredictable, and the value of your investment may fluctuate. Additionally, selling your share in a Pacaso property might be subject to market conditions, potentially affecting the liquidity of your investment.

Another consideration is how will your neighbors respond to having a fractional owner in their midst? While vacation spots such as popular skiing towns or beach locations may be more open to creative house-sharing neighbors, it’s safe to assume more traditional neighborhoods may resist your home’s multiple occupants and go out of their way to cause you trouble. 

High Entry Costs

While fractional ownership allows you to share the financial burden, the initial entry costs can still be relatively high. Co-owners are required to cover not only their share of the property but also associated fees, making it essential to evaluate the overall cost-effectiveness of the investment carefully.

Dependency on Pacaso’s Success

Your investment is inherently tied to Pacaso’s success as a company. Any challenges or disruptions faced by Pacaso, whether financial or operational, could impact your investment. We cannot stress how important it is to do your due diligence and closely monitor the company’s performance and financial health before deciding to use this platform.

Conclusion: How risk-averse are you when investing?

In weighing the pros and cons of fractional ownership with Pacaso, it’s evident that this model presents a unique — yet risky — opportunity for investors seeking a slice of the luxury real estate market. The advantages include access to high-end properties, portfolio diversification, professional management, cost sharing, and flexibility. However, potential downsides include limited control and usage, the risk of disputes among co-owners, market uncertainties, high entry costs, and, ultimately, dependence on Pacaso’s success.

As financial advisors, we recommend carefully assessing your investment goals, risk tolerance, and preferences before venturing into fractional ownership. While Pacaso offers an intriguing avenue for real estate investment, conducting thorough due diligence is crucial and considering how this approach aligns with your overall financial strategy. 

Should you decide to explore fractional ownership, maintaining open communication with co-owners and staying informed about market dynamics will be key to maximizing the benefits and minimizing potential drawbacks.

Northern Lights provides financial planning and investment management services as a fiduciary, fee-only, Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm. If you’d like to talk more about fractional ownership or other investing concepts, schedule a call with a Northern Lights advisor today.


The information in this article is not intended as tax, accounting, or legal advice. Read the full disclaimer here.