Parsons Villas, a Scottsdale-based vacation rental company focusing on luxury homes in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, closed on three new homes for $9 million, with another $2 million under contract.

Plans call for investing between $500,000 and $2 million to renovate each home, with the goal of having them ready by the end of the year, said Sean Parsons, founder and president of Parsons Villas.

“Working with the best contractors and designers in the Valley, I plan to up the level in the vacation home industry,” Parsons said. “Not only will these homes be timeless for the next 10-plus years, but revenue and overall value of the homes will be improved significantly. My plan is to acquire quickly, collect the peak-season income, and renovate over the summer months.”

He recently created a $30 million opportunistic real estate fund — called Parsons Real Estate Fund — dedicated to purchasing, furnishing and renting luxury short-term rental properties in the Scottsdale and Paradise Valley markets.

Lance Pederson has been selected to manage that fund.

In 2008, Pederson got his start in the sub-institutional real estate space managing a $65 million debt fund composed of private money loans backed by commercial real estate located throughout the Pacific northwest. In 2013, he founded a real estate administration firm that scaled up to more than $2.3 billion in assets under administration.

Founded in 2017, Parsons Villas now has 25 homes in the Scottsdale and Paradise Valley area. Nightly rental rates range from $800 during the summer up to $4,500 a night for larger properties during the winter, Parsons said.

“We want to get to $100 million in acquisitions in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley,” he said. “The big audacious goal is to take it worldwide.”

He’s already started that process by managing homes in Cabo San Lucas and Telluride.

“First we’ll go out and manage,” he said. “That’s how we gather data, and then we can cherry pick deals.”

Real estate in his blood

Growing up in Chicago, Parsons comes from a family that was in real estate for two generations.

His father was a custom homebuilder and also had built more than 1,000 apartment units in Chicago, where Parsons learned how to do apartment deals and new projects.

“Then the market fell out,” he said. “If I’ve got to start over it’s got to be somewhere warm.”

He checked out Tampa, Florida, before turning to metro Phoenix.

“Florida has a different type of labor force out there,” Parsons said. “Everyone at 3:30 p.m. starts drinking beers. It makes it difficult to get things done out there.”

When he moved to Phoenix in 2013, he started flipping homes in the 85254 Kierland area of north Scottsdale, where he flipped about 20 properties.

Then he ran into a Canadian cash buyer who said he was tired of paying $25,000 a month to rent these places.

That’s when Parsons decided to get into the vacation rental home business.

He happened to meet Barry Goldwater Jr. — buying a pool table from him — and they began working together, with Goldwater serving as director of government affairs.

By 2015, Parsons had his first three vacation rental homes and then started Parsons Villas in 2017.

Since then, they have formed the Arizona Vacation Rental Association.

According to the association, more than 10 million visitors used short-term rental properties for their stay in Arizona in 2020, contributing $350 million in tax revenue to the state and more than $3 billion in spending in 2020.

“We’re trying to be good players, working with neighbors, making sure we’re not destructors,” he said. “There’s a lot of bad actors not doing it professionally. We should be moving to licensure; weeding out a bunch of the competition, which will be good for us. We’re spending money and time trying to do the right thing.”

Angela Gonzales

Senior Reporter

Phoenix Business Journal

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