To read this content please select one of the options below:

Should I buy a Caribbean condo during a pandemic? Valuing a real estate investment using cash flows

Louis Gattis (Department of Finance, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)

Publication date: 1 November 2022

Issue publication date: 27 March 2023


Research methodology

This case was a real-life situation faced by the author. Names were changed, so students would not know that the author was the protagonist. The case had been developed over several years as a capstone to the capital budgeting section of an MBA finance course and an advanced undergraduate course.

Case overview/synopsis

Trey and Lauren Gallo were considering the purchase of a vacation condo that also generated rental income. The current owners were willing to sell at a lowball offer of $605,000 as the pandemic entered its 13th month. The Gallos felt they needed to act fast to get this deal. However, the risks were extraordinary, as the pandemic had reduced rental income by 50% and borders had just recently closed. The case provides all data needed to compute rental revenues, capital expenditure, operational expenditures and financing costs. Students are expected to compute the NPV and IRR of free cashflows. Students will compute and evaluate the cost of capital using the condo’s projected debt structure, a choice of several proxy betas and a project risk premium. The case also uses extensive sensitivity analysis. This case differs from corporate capital budgeting problems because it evaluates both levered and unlevered cashflows, and the cashflows include savings from personal use. The case has been successfully used in MBA finance courses and advanced undergraduate finance courses. The case can be used as a capstone case for capital budgeting or a comprehensive exam in undergraduate, MBA and executive programs. The case questions can also be spread throughout a course to cover the topics of financial statement forecasting, free cash flows, capital budgeting, cost of capital and sensitivity analysis.

Complexity academic level

Earlier versions of this case have been used in an advanced undergraduate corporate finance course and MBA finance courses. The case is generally used as a capstone to the material on capital budgeting. Students should have already covered material on financial statements, loan cashflows, levered and unlevered cashflows, CAPM, proxy betas, weighted average cost of capital, NPV and IRR. This case is also appropriate for courses in real estate finance and personal finance.



Disclaimer. This case is intended to be used as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. The case was compiled from published sources.


Gattis, L. (2023), "Should I buy a Caribbean condo during a pandemic? Valuing a real estate investment using cash flows", , Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 137-165.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles