Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 25th 2015 Contents OCTOBER 25 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | SBG5
up with Shane Correia, CEO, owner and
web architect at Trinidadrealtor.com, host
of the inaugural Real Estate awards, where
he expressed hope that the programme
grows from strength to strength and changes
public perception of real estate agents.
Q: Why awards for real estate?
A: I think the industry needed a
boost. People really need to under-
stand that these people are pro-
fessionals at what they do. I think the real
estate industry lacks that professional con-
cept out there. People have negative views
of real estate agents. We wanted to show
real estate agents in another light. The group
that we have under our umbrella, I think
are some of the most professional agents
in the industry. I think people give them a
bad rap. This sort of event showcases how
professional they are and that they are true
go-getters in the industry of real estate.
They are really hard working individuals,
doing one of the biggest the country, of any
country. You have millions in property being
sold through these people's hands and they
are very good at what they do.
Is Trinirealtor.com connected with
No. We are not connected with AREA in
anyway at all. We are our own individual
body. We've been doing this for 10 years
and we support proper real estate industry
professionals out there.
How were the award winners chosen?
We had a nomination process on our
website, where people could nominate real
estate agents then they could vote for the
final five nominees of the award. Some were
based on statistics on our website and some
of the awards are based on online voting,
which the real estate members or members
of the public could vote for.
How does Trinidadrealtors.com work?
It is a search engine for real estate in
Trinidad and Tobago. Once you practice real
estate in T&T, you can become a member
and list unlimited properties, unlimited pho-
tos, unlimited video. The general public goes
there and sifts through thousands of prop-
erties in different categories throughout
T&T. It's putting all the properties under
one umbrella, so people can find what they
want out of it.
How does this help the average person
looking for a house?
In my opinion, it gives the user the flex-
ibility of going to one location to find all
the properties available and giving them
options. I think in any business, the more
options for users the better. And not just
options, but options with photos, options
with video clips, so they don't waste their
time. You are in a society now that doesn't
have time to spare. You need to use a website
that will allow you to search for multiple
properties at any point in time and see
what's available out there, so that you limit
what properties you are going to look at. It
really helps the user by minimising the time
spent, exactly what they want to see is what
they are going to see on the website.
What do you see for the future of the
awards? How do you feel about the ex-
ecution and what do you see coming?
I thought it was really good. I am really
proud of my team. I think everyone we
brought on board for it did an unbelievable
job. I am really happy. I will do it annually.
We have to showcase real estate agents and
I think the doors will open for us automat-
ically. I think it is just us growing and making
it more enjoyable every year.
he has been in business with for 20, 30 and 40
He thought initiatives like the award show would
go a long way in fostering greater professionalism in
the industry. To this end, he said Terra has invested
heavily in the training of its staff. The company has
also become FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) compliant
and de Meillac said, while he is aware of the potential
for money laundering to happen within the real estate
industry, he himself has never experienced it.
He related a story to the Sunday BG, where in its
early days, Terra rented a property in Maraval.
"Two men came and paid for the property in cash,
two months rent in advance. Three, four days later,
there was a big shoot-out in the house. What hap-
pened was they kidnapped somebody and rented the
house to hold them.
"You could say they had bad money, but other
than that, it's something I've not experienced," said
de Meillac, who said that to purchase property through
Terra, certified cheques from a bank were required,
forms needed to be filled and throughout the process,
there were intermediaries such as lawyers, valuators
and the like.
He welcomed the Minister in the Ministry of Legal
Affairs, Stuart Young's intervention and his promise
at the awards ceremony to push for legislation gov-
erning the industry, saying that while greater regulation
was needed, he hoped that there would be more than
talk this time.
De Meillac also hoped that the awards would lead
to a change in general perceptions of real estate agents.
"A bad misconception is that real estate agents
push the prices of property up. We produce prices
by comparison to other things we know have sold,"
He also said, for the most part, T&T's real estate
market has been a "seller's market", with sellers setting
the highest prices they can, regardless of the advice
With the drop in oil prices, however, de Meillac
sees a shift to a more buyer-friendly market, with
some lowering of prices. He said the rental market
has softened to the point where prices are at the level
they were ten years ago.
"What has happened in the immediate term is
that a lot of expats that used to be here and not just
for BP and BG, but all the connected service com-
panies, have gone back.
"Where they would have been renting houses at
$4,500 US, those homes are now vacant. People are
now taking less."
He also thought people may be less inclined to
buy property, if they thought they were likely to earn
lower rental incomes from them.
Increasing mortgage rates may also represent an
opportunity and a threat as while money may become
more expensive to borrow to buy property, it has the
effect of depressing prices as well.
"But it will become more of a buyer's market
because people will want to sell, but won't get the
prices they want."
The Terra CEO doesn't think house prices will
decrease to 1985-1987 levels though.
The period represents one of the most severe reces-
sions in the country's history, where oil prices
decreased as well and predicted that property prices
"When I started in real estate, a house in Woodbrook
was $35,000. Now it is $3 million. Over that time,
the value went up and down, but the general trend
has always been upwards.
A family thing
De Meillac hopes his son Jean Paul will continue
after him in the business. He said he shares a close
bond with him, and his two other sons, one of whom
is involved in real estate in London and has worked
with Harrod's real estate division, the other, running
his own business in Colorado.
His wife, Linda, was also involved in real estate
for many years, before going into interior decora-
Continued from Page 4
Correira: Real estate
industry needs a boost
From left, Shane Correia with his wife, Sasha Headley-Correia, and Darryl Smith, Minister of Sport.
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