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.

Inman events are the best way to connect, learn and grow. Join us this week, Oct. 26-28, for Inman Connect Las Vegas, in-person or virtually. Then, continue to gain insights, strategies, and tactics to keep your business growing and make 2022 your best year ever with a full line-up of 2022 events! Save the dates, and register now

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 vacation home — it wants to change the process.

“The big thing is having a turn-key experience,” she said. “It’s the ongoing experience of not having to worry about the full management of the home, not worrying about the expenses or fees because those are all handled through Pacaso. Not having to figure out cleaning or maintenance or when you’re going to stay.”

Pacaso recently announced it will accept multiple forms of cryptocurrency, an adjustment in its transaction model that accommodates the rapidly rising — and at times sporadic — digital currency trends. Potential buyers asked about it, and the company listened.

The group also discussed the idea that to alter luxury buying for the better, brokerages need to help agents provide for their clients.

Avenue 8’s Martin told Luxury Connect attendees they believe that if a brokerage isn’t allowing agents to build success their own way, then it’s likely not the best brand under which to grow a business. He referenced the online, mail-to-order eyeglasses company Warby Parker when suggesting how agents need to treat clients.

But, he cautioned, brokerages need to be onboard, too.

“It’s important that whatever brokerage you choose that you’re appreciated and that you’re having fun,” he said. “It has to reflect how you navigate the world. We built a team to support that.”

The company also provides its agents with software that can scale with however they want to work. “When agents are working at their best, everyone wins.” Martin said.

Avenue 8 didn’t focus its software offering on the novelty of providing agent technology. It wasn’t trend-driven lip service or merely to compete with the increasing supply of in-house technology. It was rooted in meeting customer demands.

“The power of the brokerage in the agent’s pocket,” he said. “Not necessarily on the phone but on the go. Luxury is about service; we’re enabling that.”

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription