Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 6th 2014 Contents APRIL 2014 • WEEK ONE www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
CASE STUDY | SBG13
This case study is the start of a collab-
oration between the Sunday Business
Guardian and BARNEY PACHECO of the
Department of Management Studies at
the St Augustine campus of the Universi-
ty of the West Indies.
Dr Pacheco will provide the solution
discussion in next week's Sunday BG, but
we encourage students, marketing and
investment professionals and other inter-
ested readers to submit their own solu-
tions to Sasha's problem by writing to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or to
As Sasha Greene got off the phone with the
bank, she worried that her decision to buy
and run a small apartment complex six years
ago may have been a mistake. Sasha had pur-
chased the complex---which contained four
two-bedroom apartments---for $1.4 million
using $400,000 in personal savings and
financing the rest through a mortgage with
an interest rate of 6 per cent.
Although the fully furnished apartments
were located close to a major mall, golf course
and university, she had recently not been able
to attract tenants for two of the units.
Unless something was done to increase
occupancy and make the venture profitable
she might have no choice but to sell the prop-
Breezy Corner or Breezy, as it was commonly
known, was built in 2001 by a local family to
take advantage of the boom in the real estate
market in Trinidad. The property derived its
name from the strong winds that sometimes
blow in the area and the fact that it was built
on a corner lot.
The owners migrated in 2008 and sold it
to Sasha, a family friend. The four units in
the complex were similar in design, comprising
1,800 square feet of liveable space. Each unit
had a fully equipped kitchen, living room and
Each bedroom upstairs had a double bed
and attached balcony. A washing machine was
located in a small nook next to the shared
Sasha had initially decorated each unit with
high-end furnishings that would require little
maintenance and provide a quality feel to the
apartments. A high wall and electronic gate
provided secure parking for residents of the
When Sasha bought Breezy in 2008, the
boom in the property market in Trinidad had
just begun to slow and it was still a seller s
market. The last several years had seen a sharp
contraction in demand with a large number
of quality accommodations going unsold or
remaining vacant for extended periods of time.
Breezy therefore faced competition from a
number of sources.
Based on a scan of the local real estate list-
ings, Sasha was able to determine that there
were approximately 20 privately-owned apart-
ment complexes nearby offering units similar
in size and price to Breezy.
Mountain Bliss, on the other hand, was a
major development in the area. This complex
comprised several different-sized apartments
in large multistorey buildings. The complex
featured a basketball court and children s play-
ground. Monthly rental rates ranged from
$3,000 for single bedroom units to $7,000
for the larger apartments.
At the high end of the market, luxury apart-
ments and townhouses were available in a
variety of sizes and features. These were typ-
ically rented at higher prices than Breezy and
were often not advertised as widely as the
Sasha was not sure if these properties could
be considered competitors or not.
Marketing Breezy Corner
Sasha felt that the location of Breezy was
a major advantage and justified charging a
slightly higher price than average.
Initially, she had required all tenants to sign
year-long leases at a rate of $5,000/month
but, with the tightening of the market, she
had started allowing tenants to rent the apart-
ment on a monthly basis. She was currently
wondering whether a reduction in rates would
help her fill her unoccupied units which had
been vacant for the last three months. Another
option would be to raise the price for each
unit so that she could increase the revenue
from each rental.
The types of people who usually made
enquiries about the property varied widely.
The most common was families with younger
children who were attracted by the second
Sasha also received a fair number of e-mails
from university students who wanted to stay
in a place close to the campus. She was some-
times contacted by single working professionals
who wanted a secure place to live that was
accessible to shopping and recreational facilities.
While Sasha preferred to rent to the pro-
fessionals, she was not sure if she could com-
pete with the other more luxurious properties
those people might be attracted to. She was
also hesitant about renting to university stu-
dents since she was fearful of property dam-
In an effort to minimise costs, very little
promotion was done for Breezy. Most of the
enquiries came through the property s Web
site which Sasha had set up when she first
bought the property. While she had spent a
lot of time ensuring the Web site was well
laid out, it did not attract many visitors and
Sasha felt that Breezy simply did not stand
out from other Web sites when potential renters
The property was also listed in the telephone
directory although she had not paid for an
official listing in the yellow pages. At the start
of the school year, if all the units had not been
rented out, she would hang a sign outside the
main gate advertising the property.
A friend had recommended that she take
out ads in the daily newspaper which would
cost $1,200 per week. Another option was to
use a rental agency which would list her prop-
erty online and charge the equivalent of two
month s rent for each tenant they secured.
While Sasha knew there was more that she
needed to do to promote Breezy, she was very
mindful of the cost to do so.
This might require her to come up with
some creative approaches.
Case study: Breezy Corner apartment complex
• Which segment(s) of the market
should Sasha target?
• How should the apartments be marketed to
communicate value for those targeted?
or sell out
Sasha was currently wondering whether a reduction in rates would help her fill her
unoccupied units which had been vacant for the last three months. Another option would
be to raise the price for each unit so that she could increase the revenue from each rental.
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