A net operating income, or NOI, is a calculation critical to the success of property owners, investors, landlords, and even property management companies! Not only does an NOI allow individuals to evaluate rental properties before purchasing them, but it also enables them to predict how an investment property will impact their overall bottom line.

This is especially useful for new investors or those with large portfolios. This article will define net operating income before discussing why it matters and how to calculate it.

What Is Net Operating Income and Why Is It Important?

First and foremost, net operating income is a calculation that allows investors to determine the profitability of a specific rental property over a period of one year. It’s important to remember that a property’s NOI can change year over year, so be sure to always calculate an NOI before making an investment rather than assuming an older NOI is accurate.

NOIs are important to investors because they can indicate whether an investment will be lucrative or not. Additionally, commercial lenders will use an NOI to determine whether or not they’re willing to offer a loan to an investor. 

The equivalent to an NOI in other industries is called “earnings before interest and taxes” or EBIT. It is important to note that net operating income is different from net income, which is defined as revenue after subtracting all operating and non-operating expenses.

Beige concrete house against a blue sky

Similarly, net operating income is not the same as gross operating income. In real estate gross operating income is the total potential income from a property after subtracting any income lost to vacancies.

What Is a Good NOI?

Which NOIs vary by property, there are ways you can determine whether an NOI is good or not. Generally, an NOI that is higher than the property price percentage is ideal.

How to Calculate NOI

Fortunately, the formula for calculating Net Operating Income is relatively simple. The formula is:

Real Estate Revenue – Total Operating Expenses = NOI

For example, if you own a property that earns you $200,000 a year and incurs $95,000 in operating expenses, then your NOI is $105,000. While this is a relatively healthy NOI, some properties won’t generate enough income to cover the property’s expenses. 

For instance, if your property earns $100,000 a year and your expenses are $120,000, you would have a net operating loss of $20,000.

Components of an NOI

There are two components that are used to calculate net operating income. They are as follows.

Real Estate Revenue

There are two parst to real estate revenue in an NOI, rental income and other income. Rental income is defined as the amount of rent a landlord collects from a rental property. When you calculate an NOI, you should assume the rental will be occupied 100% of the time. 

Real estate agent calculating an amount with a client

If you haven’t purchased the property yet, we recommend analyzing rental comps or other real estate tools to find its potential rental income.

Other income is any revenue you gain that isn’t from rent payments. This kind of income is often derived from paid parking spots, pay-per-use washing machines, or even vending machines in multi-unit properties.

Total Operating Expenses

Total operating expenses are the second variable needed to calculate an NOI. This variable includes far more factors than real estate revenue. In short, these expenses include all expenses required to maintain the rental property, regardless of whether it is occupied or not.

The factors you consider when determining operating expenses include:

  • Vacancies
  • Property taxes
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Property management expenses
  • Legal fees
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Utilities not paid by tenants

What Expenses Are Excluded from NOI?

When calculating an NOI, it’s crucial to determine which costs are associated with the investor and which are related to the property itself. Because an NOI is directly tied to the property, the below should not be included in the operating expenses.

  • Mortgage interest
  • Income taxes
  • Leasing commissions
  • Debt service
  • Property depreciation
  • Tenant improvements
  • Capital expenditures
  • Repairs for wear and tear

How to Improve Your NOI

There are a number of ways you can improve your NOI, and your bottom line. The most common ways to do so are:

White wooden cupboards in a modern kitchen

NOI Cap Rate

Capitalization rates, or cap rates, place an objective value on a property and make it possible to compare diverse assets. This is particularly useful for investors who are trying to decide whether to rent out a property or flip it for a profit. To determine a capitalization rate, you can divide your NOI by the total cost of the property.

Calculations That Use an NOI

In addition to capitalization rates, many other real estate calculations call for the use of an NOI. These include the:

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)

This ratio is used to determine whether a lender will finance a specific property. It considers the NOI in relation to annual mortgage debt services as a means to determine the potential cash flow of the property.

Return on Investment (ROI)

To calculate an ROI, divide your NOI by the purchase price of a property and multiply the result by one hundred to determine its percentage.

Cash-on-Cash Returns

This examines an NOI as related to an initial cash investment to aid investors in determining annual cash returns on a property.

Bottom Line

Whether you own a property or are looking to invest in one, you can use the NOI calculation to determine whether your investment is or will be lucrative. Making investment decisions can be difficult, even for seasoned real estate investors, so it’s always important to understand the current NOI of your investments.