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What Does Net Operating Income (NOI) Signify in Real Estate?

What Does Net Operating Income NOI Signify in Real Estate

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Comprehending the concept of Net Operating Income (NOI) is critical when exploring the world of real estate investments. It provides a financial measurement which gauges the profit generation potential of an income-generating property after excluding refinancing your mortgage payments, taxes, and depreciation with consideration to all operating expenses. Let us examine the NOI formula in further detail and how you can calculate it effectively.

The Formula for Net Operating Income

To arrive at the NOI figure, deduct a property’s operating expenses from its gross operating income. Therefore, the formula is as follows:

NOI = Gross Operating Income – Operating Expenses

Breaking down the NOI Formula

Each component of the NOI formula deserves particular attention, some more than others depending on the situation. Here’s why

How to Calculate Net Operating Income 

Understanding the intricacies of the subject property’s financials is necessary to determine NOI. The following steps are crucial: 

Gross Operating Income

If you take into account rents and other revenue sources such as laundry facilities or parking fees generated by the property, then it implies a total summation of the income. For instance, if a monthly rent per unit ($1,000) was found on a 10-unit apartment building, then the annual GOI would be valued at $120,000 (calculated as 10 x $1,000 x 12 months). 

Operating Expenses 

Maintaining and operating the structure come with specific associated costs such as property management fees, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and repairs. However, note that financing costs like mortgage payments should not become operative expenditures within the NOI computation process.

But there’s significance beyond these details –

Gross Operating Income and Its Value  

GOI in NOI calculations plays a critical role – being that it represents the maximum income capable of generation before accounting for expenses. But it would be best if you considered the associated operating costs, which provide accurate representations of a property’s true profitability. So, by analyzing NOI, investors make informed decisions about prospective investments and properties more effectively

Understanding Gross Operating Income in Real Estate 

To comprehend better the components that comprise GOI when exploring real estate investment, it is critical to examine its several factors – including potential rental income, vacancy and credit losses, other income sources, as well as operating expenses. 

Potential Rental Income

PRI represents the highest possible revenue that could be achieved if all available units were fully rented at market rates; for example, in ten-unit apartment buildings having $1,000 in monthly rent per unit would yield an annual PRI figure totaling $120,000 (calculated based on 10 x $1,000 x 12 months).

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Vacancy And Credit Losses

Because properties aren’t always fully occupied or collecting rent from every tenant, vacancy and credit losses must be accounted for. These losses represent income lost as a result of vacant units or nonpayment by tenants. For example, if a property has a 5% vacancy rate and a PRI of $120,000, the vacancy loss would be $6,000 ($120,000 x 0.05).

Other Earnings

Apart from rental income, properties may generate additional revenue from parking fees, laundry facilities, or storage units. This additional income should be factored into the GOI calculation. For example, if a property earns $5,000 more in parking fees per year, the total GOI would be $125,000 ($120,000 + $5,000).

Expenses for Operations

Operating expenses are the costs of maintaining and operating the property. Property management fees, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and repairs are among the costs. Keep in mind that mortgage payments and depreciation are not included in NOI calculations.

Investigating What Isn’t Included in Net Operating Income

It is critical to understand which items are excluded from the equation when calculating Net Operating Income (NOI) for real estate pending investments. Before considering certain financial aspects, the NOI figure focuses on a property’s potential profitability. In this section, we’ll look at the expenses that aren’t included in NOI calculations, such as debt service, income taxes, depreciation, tenant improvements, and capital expenditures.

Debt Service

Debt service refers to the principal and interest payments on loans used to finance a home, such as mortgages. Debt service is not included in the calculation because NOI focuses on the property’s performance independent of its financing structure.

Personal Income Taxes

Income taxes imposed on the property owner or the property itself are also not included in NOI calculations. This exclusion allows investors to assess the property’s profitability before taking into account personal or corporate tax liabilities.


Depreciation, or the decrease in the value of an asset over time, is another factor that is not taken into account in NOI. Depreciation is typically used as a tax deduction to offset income, but because it is a non-cash expense, it has no effect on the cash flow or operational performance of the property.

Tenant Improvements (TI)

Tenant improvements, or TIs, are modifications or upgrades made to a rental space to meet the specific needs of a tenant. These costs can vary greatly depending on the lease agreement and the tenant’s needs. TIs are not included in NOI calculations because they are typically considered one-time expenses and are not part of the property’s regular operations.

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Capital Expenditures

CapEx are large investments made to improve or maintain a property, such as replacing a roof or upgrading the HVAC system. CapEx, like TIs, is not included in NOI because these costs are considered long-term investments rather than regular operating costs.

Finally, knowing what is and isn’t included in NOI calculations is critical for accurately evaluating a property’s performance and potential profitability. Excluding these items from the NOI equation allows investors to compare properties more effectively and make more informed investment decisions.

A Practical Example of Calculating NOI in Real Estate

Let’s walk through a practical example of how to calculate NOI in real estate to fully grasp the concept. Consider a 10-unit apartment building with a $1,000 monthly rent per unit, resulting in a $120,000 annual Potential Rental Income (PRI) (10 units x $1,000 x 12 months).

Calculating Gross Operating Income (GOI) 

First, we’ll figure out how much money we’re making. If the vacancy rate is 5%, the vacancy loss is $6,000 ($120,000 x 0.05). Additionally, parking fees generate $5,000 per year for the property. As a result, the Effective Gross Income (EGI) is $119,000 ($120,000 – $6,000 + $5,000).

Operating Expense Calculation

The operating expenses, which include property management fees, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and repairs, will be calculated next. Assume the annual operating expenses are $45,000 in this example.

Determining NOI

Finally, the NOI can be calculated by deducting the Operating Expenses from the EGI:

EGI – Operating Expenses = NOI

NOI = $119,000 – $45,000

NOI = $74,000

As a result, the annual NOI for the property is $74,000.

Using NOI to Calculate Cap Rate

Net Operating Income is also an important factor in determining a property’s Capitalization Rate, or Cap Rate. The Cap Rate is a metric that is used to calculate the potential return on investment (ROI) for income-producing properties.

Divide the NOI by the property’s current market value to get the Cap Rate:

NOI / Property Value = Cap Rate

Assume the apartment building in our example is worth $1,000,000 in the market:

$74,000 / $1,000,000 = Cap Rate

0.074 is the cap rate.

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The Cap Rate is 7.4% expressed as a percentage. This figure assists investors in comparing the potential ROI of various properties and determining whether the investment aligns with their risk tolerance and investment objectives.

Pros & Cons of Using NOI for Investment Properties

While Net Operating Income (NOI) is a useful metric for evaluating the performance and profitability of income-generating properties, it is critical to understand its benefits and limitations.

Pros of Using NOI

Simplicity: Because NOI is relatively simple to calculate and comprehend, it is accessible to both novice and experienced investors.

Comparability: NOI allows for a more straightforward comparison of properties because it excludes financing costs, taxes, and depreciation.

Cash Flow Indicator: NOI provides a clear indication of a property’s potential cash flow, assisting investors in making informed investment decisions.

Cons of Using NOI

Excludes Financing Costs: NOI excludes mortgage lender payments and other financing costs, which can have a significant impact on a property’s overall profitability.

Ignores Non-Operating Expenses: NOI calculations exclude one-time expenses like tenant improvements and capital expenditures, which can also affect a property’s cash flow.

Static Metric: NOI is a snapshot in time and may not accurately represent long-term fluctuations in income or expenses.


It’s worth noting that NOI is similar to the corporate finance metric Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT). Both measures an entity’s profitability before accounting for financing costs and taxes. However, NOI is only applicable to real estate investments, whereas EBIT is more widely used to evaluate a company’s financial performance.

How to Improve NOI

Improving NOI can increase the value and cash flow potential of a property. Consider the following strategies:

Raise rents, reduce vacancies, or add amenities that generate extra income, such as laundry facilities or storage units, to increase revenue.

Reduce Expenses: Implement cost-cutting measures such as energy-efficient upgrades or renegotiating vendor contracts.

Effective property management can lead to higher tenant satisfaction, lower turnover, and lower maintenance costs.

Investors can make more informed decisions and maximize the potential of their real estate or home purchasing investments by understanding the pros and cons of using NOI for investment properties and exploring ways to improve NOI.