How Much Profit Should You Make on a Rental Property?

Owning a rental property is an attractive opportunity for investors looking for income. Especially when interest rates are low, the idea of rental income coming in every month and the possibility of an investment property appreciating in value is a huge draw.

If you’re looking to jump into the rental property game, you may ask that big important question – how much profit should you make on a rental property? Don’t worry; in this guide, we’ll look at factors that will affect how much profit you can create and dive deeper into what a solid rental property profit can look like.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Consider Property Management When It Comes To Profit

Owning and investing in a rental property can be a risky and labor-intensive investment. Other passive income streams like REIT investments or savings accounts aren’t as risky. However, as any established real estate investor will tell you, they don’t produce the same reward as a real estate investment. 

Property Management

Make sure you set aside the time needed to take a hands-on approach to your investment properties. Obviously, property management companies could do this for you. 

However, property managers are expensive! You can do this yourself unless you want to take on many extra costs by hiring a property management company to handle the rental property. You have to be ready to screen tenants and manage repairs and any other necessary actions that may arise. 

You have to be sure you will be able to commit your time and effort to grow the cash invested. This is an often-overlooked factor in considering rental properties. 

Research Comparable Rents

Real estate investments are competitive in almost all areas. For rental real estate, you will find the monthly rent you can realistically charge by researching comparable rentals in your area. This will allow you to get an authentic look at how much money you can make from your property investment. 

When doing this research, keep in mind that you need to find out about vacancy rates. You can find plenty of articles targeting readers just like you for this. A great example is Zillow – a premier online real estate tool for both buyers and sellers. 

(If you’re buying in an area that has a high vacancy rate, you must be prepared for long periods when your rental property is vacant and not producing income).

Houses for rent

Project Ongoing Expenses

Make a list of operating expenses, like property tax, maintenance costs, insurance, utilities, monthly mortgage payment, HOA (homeowner association fees), and overall upkeep. 

Get as much detailed information as you can about what these numbers are for the property before you start making an accurate projection of what you’ll be paying. 

You can look up tax records, ask your insurance agent about the estimated cost of insuring the property and find out HOA fees pretty easily. 

Calculate Expenses

Factor in Repairs

Make careful notes of any repairs you have to make to get the place ready to be rented. Repairs can be extensive like a new HVAC unit or minor repairs such as repairing broken blinds on the windows. Get estimates on what these repairs/renovations will cost and if they will take a long time to complete. 

You will use these factors in the following steps to boost your net operating income. 

Go to the property’s seller and try to get the price down to allow for these costs, or ask the seller’s real estate agents to take care of these as a condition of the sale – if at all possible. 

Create a Cash Flow Projection

A detailed cash flow projection should look like this: the rent you can charge (you’ve looked at the comparables), the time needed to find a tenant (you’ve looked at the vacancy rate in the area), the ongoing expenses you researched such as property taxes, and the upfront costs (cost to get the place ready to rent). 

With the time it takes to rent the property and the extra costs involved in buying the property and fixing it up, you may face negative cash flow instead of positive cash flow. 

You have to make sure you have the liquid financial resources (actual cash that is readily available to you) to get you through this period. These factors make up your short-term cash flow projections

Now it’s time to make a long-term projection to see how long it will take your eventual positive cash flow to pay back your upfront costs. 

cash flow projection

Calculate Long-Term ROI

A return-on-investment (ROI) should compensate you for the risk financially, and the time you’ve put into this investment. Therefore, the ROI for the rental property should outperform others- like certificates of deposit and savings accounts mentioned above. 

The ROI is the bottom line when deciding what rental property to buy. By applying the factors listed above, you should be able to come to a realistic ROI figure.

If the numbers don’t add up, this is when you move on to a different property better suited for giving you that positive ROI. 

Projecting ROI

How To Optimize Your Rental Property Profits

Here are the specifics you need to know to maximize the profit you should make.

Hopefully, you have saved up a substantial down payment in anticipation of starting your real estate investing journey. Ideally, you want to put down 20-30% as a real estate investor. This will also serve you well when going getting approved for your loan.

The best way to save for your down payment is to pay off current high-interest rate debt such as credit cards and drastically reduce unnecessary living expenses. Also, ensure to check for ways to lower your mortgage payment, as that can end up helping you save quite a bit.

Get Pre-Qualified

These are the qualifications you will want to ensure are met to qualify for a loan. First, check your credit score. A 680 credit score is usually required, but all situations are different.

Next, a two-year job history – (self-employed individuals may have to prove history for longer), and finally, you’ll need to show a relatively low debt-to-income ratio. This is the amount of a consumer’s monthly gross income that goes towards paying debts.

Get a Home-Inspection

These can cost between $250 and $450. It is an expense that is well worth it! An inspection can point out any “red flag” items and, as mentioned above, can give you some negotiating power with the seller. Things that can be brought to your attention during a home inspection could save you thousands of dollars (or more) in the long run.

Rental Property Profits

Successful Rental Property Profit

By following the above suggestions, you should have a good idea of the amount of money you can make on a rental property. But, as you’ve probably learned, there’s a lot of number-crunching before you buy a property. 

There’s more to it than just looking at the property purchase price and net income! By doing this groundwork upfront, the rewards of what you can make on a rental can be substantial! 

An Example To Sum It Up

A great example of what you can make on a rental property is one whose market value is $225,000. If you take out a 15-year conventional mortgage with a 20% down payment, you must borrow $180,000. 

Every month your payment will be $1,578. If you are charging $2,500 in rent each month (with the seller paying his utilities), that leaves you $922 net operating income for taxes, insurance, unforeseen expenses, and profit! 

Get Stock Recommendations that 5X the Market!
Stock Market Investing LEARN MORE
Motley Fool Benefits
  • 2 Fresh Stock Picks Monthly
  • 20-Year Track Record of Beating the Market
  • Instant Access to Top Starter Stocks

Kevin Martin

Kevin is an ambitious entrepreneur that is obsessed with all things related to finance. From a young age, Kevin has always been involved with side hustles ranging from online selling to freelance work. Over the years, Kevin graduated from side hustles and started launching multiple online and offline businesses. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur who loves starting new businesses and exploring all things related to business and finance. He is constantly looking for new ways to save money, invest money, and create income streams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *