Pacaso is now offering pre-accessibility to new listings for a premium fee.

Pocket Listings vs VIP Early Access to Luxury Listings Ahead of Public Access

Legal arguments have gone back and forth for months and months concerning the legality of pocket (aka “whisper”) listings.  On the one hand, some argue that pocket listings are in direct opposition to antitrust/anti-competitive policies and, on the other, some argue that pocket listings are a service to their clients who want /need to maintain their privacy.  Whichever side of the argument you’re on, the fate of these policy disagreements is to be decided by the courts “some time in 2022 or beyond.”

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Meanwhile, Pacaso recently announced that its VIP buyers can now view new listings in advance of those listings being made available to the public.  Due to the fact that Stewart Rascoff is a co-founder of Pacaso and former co-founder and company leader of Zillow, this announcement could be a harbinger of things to come in the real estate industry.

What is Pacaso Access?

Pacaso, “the modern way to buy and own a second home,” is a platform that lists single-family homes in “top” second home destinations and/or resort communities for co-ownership opportunities.  Rather than owning “the right to use the property for a period of time,” Pacaso co-owners actually own the real estate asset as one of no more than eight co-owners.  As a co-owner of that property, those co-owners actually have access to any equity realized by that property at resale.

Pacaso co-owners can buy shares in the second-home property from 1/8 to 1/2 of a home under an LLC specific to that property.  The company employs local service providers (maintenance workers, interior decorators, program managers) to take care of the property.  The company also works with local real estate agents and pays them a 3% commission at a transaction close plus 500 restricted stock units.

Price Specifics of Pacaso Access

This just announced Pacaso Access app now offers VIP access to new listings 24-hours before those listings are made available to the general public.  The catch?  Pacaso Access is an exclusive VIP program benefit which costs $1,000, a one-time fee that also includes closing cost credits “tierred according to percentage of co-ownership.”

If a co-owner purchases a 1/8 share in a property, the buyer will receive a credit of $2,500.  A buyer who purchases a 1/4 share in a property will receive a credit of $5,000.  A co-owner who purchases a 1/2 share in a property will receive a credit of $10,000.

According to Austin Allison, Pacaso co-founder and CEO, “We built Pacaso Access into our app in direct response to feedback from buyers who want to be the first to learn about new listings.  By providing early access to new listings, Pacaso Access buyers are empowered with a leading edge in order to transact on our fast-moving homes.”

Pay-To-Play Access vs. Pocket Listings

Rather than not knowing who does and/or doesn’t have “early” access to highly desirable newly for-sale properties via pocket listings, more upfront, coveted early access to desirable properties via programs such as Pacaso Access may just avoid the “legal” problems associated with undisclosed, whisper listings.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Ember, Peter Thiel’s new venture and direct competitor to Pacaso, will “include” such a VIP pay-to-pre-public-accessibility to its second-homeownership clientele.

It will also be interesting to see whether or not pocket listings in general will simply transition to this VIP pay-to-pre-public-accessibility model throughout the real estate industry.

Your thoughts?

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