At Inman Luxury Connect in Las Vegas, executives from Pacaso and Avenue 8 discussed the changing models in luxury real estate sales, agreeing that customer experience remains key — despite buyers’ changing goals.
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Justin Fichelson and Michael Martin envisioned residential real estate differently.
That’s why they founded tech-forward luxury brokerage Avenue 8, applying a technology startup mentality with a proprietary mobile solution, salaried marketing employees, technology staff and even an editorial director.
Under Fichelson’s headshot on the company website, it reads: “As an agent, I was frustrated with the way brokerages operated. Avenue 8 is my way of changing that.” He backed up that thought onstage at Inman Luxury Connect in Las Vegas during A New Wave of Luxury Buyers: Business Models and Trends to Watch.
During a panel discussion that included Martin as well as Marnie Blanco, vice president of industry relations for luxury second-home platform Pacaso, Fichelson said the entire business world is changing.
“We’re in this tectonic shift right now, where we have traditional brokerage models that are being consumed or merging with other companies,” he said. “And we have this influx of new brokerage models coming out, and the pandemic massively accelerated that change.”
Fichelson and Martin launched Avenue 8 in March 2020, at what is considered the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, essentially on the cusp of measurable global change in business as well as in luxury real estate.
“Luxury has changed,” Fichelson said. “The idea used to be a massive estate. Luxury is now having another place to go on the weekend or multiple small places.”
His business partner agreed, saying that they’ve found customers who have a different relationship with assets.
“We understand the sophistication of the millennial real estate consumer,” Martin said. “Their relationships are multi-faceted.”
The group agreed that luxury, collectively, means something different today, and that includes fractional ownership. Pacaso’s model was born from a shift in what people wanted in a luxury home.
Blanco told the audience that Pacaso’s model overlaps with two kinds of buyers: those who can afford a $10 million investment but won’t use it much, and those who can afford the ongoing experience but not necessarily tackle the entire financial commitment.
“We don’t believe an empty house is a good house,” Blanco said.
However, for Pacaso, it’s about more than the benefits or pride of having a luxury …….