A New London-Based Business Is Disrupting The World Of High-End Second Homes

Founded and run by Jacob Lyons, Sonhaus enables buyers to own multi-million-Euro properties for a fraction of their market value. The high-end properties are dotted across Europe, in desirable second home locations, such as Marbella, Mykonos, Ibiza, the Algarve, and Mallorca. Led by a philosophy of “turn up and enjoy,” Sonhaus manages the entire process of owning a second home, from financing, administration, and insurance to local bank accounts and billing.

What was the problem you set out to solve in the luxury second home market? The two main challenges that come with owning a luxury second home are—the high upfront costs and the on-going cost and hassle of management and maintenance. Our customers wanted an alternative to hotels, sub-standard rental properties, and expensive second homes.

We also realised that most second homeowners neither can nor wish to spend more than a fraction of each year in their properties.

We revolutionized the market in three ways: we developed an algorithm that ensures every owner can visit on the dates they want, almost invariably; the owners undergo a rigorous screening process; and the homes are designed using the world’s most prestigious luxury brands: RH Contract (Restoration Hardware), Technogym, Bang & Olufsen, Hertz, and Gaggenau, just to name a few.

Sonhaus describes itself as “Europe’s largest tech-led luxury real estate company”—what does that mean? How does technology inform and impact what you do? Technology plays a crucial role in the customer’s experience. Owners can manage all their visits through the Sonhaus App—ensuring they almost always get the dates they want, that everything is prepared ahead of arrival, and that they can easily check on any billing or log any required maintenance.

Technology also powers the Sonhaus Marketplace, enabling owners to easily sell, rent or swap their ownership interests with other Sonhaus homeowners or third parties.

What is the model? How does it work and how is Sonhaus able to offer buyers the opportunity to own a multi-million Euro luxury home at a fraction of the price? Each property is bought by and owned within a company, a process that is managed by Sonhaus. Subsequently, Sonhaus oversees all the required design updates, so that the property is of an extremely high calibre. Once that is complete, each company sells eight shares to eight (or fewer) owners.

Who is the Sonhaus client? Owners come from all over the world. They vary from successful single and families looking for an alternative to hotel living, to retired couples who like to spend time abroad throughout the year, often during the quieter months. Add to that, we probably have a disproportionate following from within the worlds of sports, media, and entertainment.

Ultimately it is about the homes. Clients love the properties themselves, the exclusivity and the flexibility, as well as the amenities inside.

You currently list around 130 properties—how do you find and choose your properties? What makes a property the right fit for Sonhaus? The intersection of experience and location is key. We have focused on the continent’s most coveted destinations, including Majorca, Ibiza, Mykonos, Portugal, and Marbella.

We look for spacious properties, with a minimum of four bedrooms and bathrooms, a home office, an outdoor space, a big swimming pool, and a generous kitchen and living area.

What is your favorite property within your offering and why? Not an easy choice, but Villa Maera in Mykonos must be seen to be believed. It has an outdoor cinema and a view that’s nothing short of exquisite; it redefines movie nights!

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