Net Operating Income, known as NOI, is a handy tool that helps real estate investors assess potential rental properties and foresee how they might affect your financial success. Whether you're a beginner real estate investor or someone with an extensive portfolio, understanding NOI is vital.

This tool helps real estate investors evaluate the potential of investment properties, so the property owner can choose the one that will be most profitable, and it also can help you make informed decisions.If you want to learn more about NOI, keep reading!

What Is Net Operating Income and Why It Is Important

Net Operating Income (NOI) is a fundamental metric when it comes to real estate investment. It serves as a yardstick to assess the profitability of an investment .

NOI is essentially the income generated from a property after deducting all of its operating expenses for a one-year period, but before accounting for extra costs such as mortgages. It is crucial in determining the potential income a property can generate.

What Is a Good NOI

Determining what constitutes a "good" Net Operating Income can vary greatly depending on the type of investment property and its location. A strong NOI indicates that a rental is efficiently generating income and managing expenses, while a low NOI could be a sign of potential issues and possible financial losses.

white enveloppe where its written past due with money on top of it

Generally, a good Net Operating Income should cover provide a positive cash flow. In other words, the NOI should be sufficient to pay for routine expenses, such as maintenance, property management fees, insurance, and property taxes, and still have a surplus.

How to Calculate NOI

The net operating income formula is a straightforward process. It involves subtracting the total operating expenses from the total revenue generated by a rental.

The formula to calcule Net Operating Income is as follows:

NOI = Total Annual Revenue - Total Annual Operating Expenses

Let's say the rental is generating a monthly income of $2,500 and has monthly operating expenses of $1,200. This means its annual income is $30,000, while its annual expenses are $14,400. Given the above formula, the property's NOI is $15,600, calculated as follows:

NOI = $30,000 - $14,400
NOI = $15,600

Components of an NOI

The Net Operating Income has two major components: real estate total revenue and operating expenses. To understand NOI fully, let's break down these components.

Real Estate Revenue

  • Rental Income: It is the primary source of revenue for most real estate properties. This includes lease payments from tenants. The calculation assumes that the property is occupied 100% of the time.
  • Other Income: Properties may generate additional income through sources such as parking fees, laundry facilities, or vending machines.

computer on a wood desk next to a notepad and a cup of coffee

Total Operating Expenses

  • Property Management and Legal Fees: Fees associated with property management and legal services.
  • Property Taxes: Local taxes imposed on the property.
  • Insurance: Costs related to insuring the property against risks.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: The maintenance costs of keeping the property in good condition.
  • Utilities: Expenses for electricity, water, and gas not paid by tenants.
  • Administrative Expenses: Administrative costs, such as office supplies and personnel.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Expenses for promoting the property and attracting tenants.
  • Property-Specific Expenses: This category includes expenses like snow removal, landscaping, and other fees specific to the property type and location.
  • Vacancies: If the property is not occupied fully during the entire year, the loss of income while the property is unrented will be considered an expense.

What Expenses Are Excluded from NOI?

Certain expenses are not included when calculating NOI. These typically involve capital expenditures and financing costs, as they do not directly impact the day-to-day operational profitability of the property.

Expenses excluded from NOI:

  • Mortgage interest and principal payments
  • Depreciation and amortization
  • Reduce operatin costs
  • Capital improvements or major renovations that increase the property's value
  • Any one-time or extraordinary expenses

How to Improve NOI

Increasing the NOI of an investment property can significantly enhance its profitability. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Increase Rental Income
  • Improve Occupancy Rate
  • Add Income Streams
  • Implement Cost-Saving Measures by Investing in Energy-efficient Systems
  • Negotiate Service Contracts
  • Optimize Property Management

NOI Cap Rate

The NOI Cap Rate is a concept that relates NOI to a property's market value. It's a useful tool for investors and appraisers to evaluate the value of a property in a market. The formula for the NOI Cap Rate is as follows:

NOI Cap Rate = NOI / Property Value

This metric helps investors understand the rate of return they can expect on a property without considering financing or taxes. A higher NOI Cap Rate typically indicates a more attractive investment opportunity.

Calculations That Use an NOI

Net Operating Income is pivotal in various financial calculations that real estate investors use to make informed decisions to reduce errors they might make. Some of these calculations include:

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)

DSCR assesses a property's ability to cover its debt payments. It is calculated by dividing the property's NOI by its annual debt service (mortgage payments and interest). A DSCR above 1 indicates the property generates enough income to cover its debt obligations.

calculator with money arround it

Cash-on-Cash (CoC) Returns

CoC return measures the return on the actual cash invested in the property. It's calculated by dividing the property's annual cash flow (NOI minus debt service) by the initial investment. This metric helps investors understand the cash return on their investment.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI evaluates the overall return on an investment, considering both income and property appreciation. It is calculated by considering the property's change in value over a specific period, along with the NOI. ROI provides a comprehensive view of the investment's performance.


Net Operating Income (NOI) is an indispensable concept in the real estate industry. It provides a clear picture of a property's financial health.

A good NOI is one that covers all operating expenses and generates a positive cash flow. Investors use NOI in conjunction with other financial metrics like DSCR, CoC Returns, and ROI to make informed investment decisions.

If you have more questions, contact our experts at Rockbridge Real Estate and we'll be happy to assist you.