property investing

What Is Good Cash Flow On A Rental Property?

Questions about Good Cashflow on Rental Property?

Before plunging into rental real estate, ambitious landlords and real estate investors must understand how to calculate rental property cash flow. After all, cash flow is a rental real estate business's lifeline. Fortunately, estimating cash flow is less difficult than you might believe.

So, a friend of mine texted me and said, "Hello there, Brandon! I'm looking to buy a real estate investment that will provide between $100 and $200 per month in cash flow. Is that a good price? What are your thoughts?"

Many investors either invest in real estate for cash flow or do not invest at all. Why such a vehement statement? That's because cash flow is such a powerful influence in the rental property market. So powerful that cash flow is the primary source of profit from rental income.

Would you like to speak to a specialist? Book a complimentary discovery session by calling: (03)999 81940 or emailing

What Exactly Is Cash Flow?

Real estate cash flow is the difference between the rent received and the rent paid on an investment property. With that idea, figuring the cash flow is fairly easy:

Cash Flow = Total Rental Income – Total Rental Property Expenses

Essentially, cash flow informs a real estate investor whether or not his or her rental property is lucrative and how much money is made. A positive cash flow property, also known as a favourably geared property, generates more income than expenses. In contrast, negative cash flow properties have higher expenses than rental income. As a result, negative cash flow properties cost real estate investors money.

Let's take a step back and discuss cash flow before we get into how much cash flow is good for rental property. The difference between an investment property's rental income and expenses is referred to as cash flow. It basically tells a real estate investor if and how much money he or she is making. A positive cash flow investment property, also known as a favourably geared property, is one in which the rental income exceeds the expenses. A negative cash flow property is the inverse of a favourably geared property. Negative cash flow income buildings incur greater expenses than rental income, resulting in a loss for the real estate investor.

In the following paragraphs, we will investigate the factors that contribute to a healthy cash flow for a rental property. In the previous episode, we spoke about investing for cash flow and the numerous options that are available. However, what really constitutes a healthy cash flow?

To clarify, when we talk about cash flow being healthy for rental properties, we are referring to the amount of money that is left over after all of the expenses have been paid.

It is totally dependant on the investment, as well as the person making the investment. A more experienced investor with more capital will most likely want a better return on investment, whereas a new investor will most likely want to get their feet wet and learn about investment properties. An investor with more capital and more experience will most likely want a better return on investment.

One may make the case that real estate investors' ultimate goal is to have their businesses generate income only through passive means. Real estate cash flow has been responsible for the accumulation of fortunes by some of the world's wealthiest people. The vast majority of them started out as modest apartment buildings with many units, and over time they evolved into gigantic commercial complexes.

Understanding real estate cash flow allows real estate investors to grasp the various advantages of this investment vehicle. There are numerous ways to begin generating cash flow in real estate, but one of the most prevalent is through rental properties. Continue reading to learn how to make investments that will have your tenants paying your mortgage while you expand your portfolio.

How Is Cash Flow Determined?

As previously stated, cash flow is the difference between an investment property's rental income and expenses. The typical method for calculating cash flow is as follows:

Cash Flow = Total Rental Income – Total Expenses

To calculate the cash flow relative to the investment property, cash on cash return is used:

Cash on Cash Return = (Annual Rental Income – Expenses and Costs)/Total Cash Investment × 100%

An investment property calculator is the best tool a real estate investor can use to calculate cash flow. The alternative is to use manual spreadsheets, which are, to say the least, time-consuming.

An investor only needs to enter a few variables into an investment property calculator. It then quickly computes cash flow. The calculator's results can tell you how much cash flow is ideal for a rental property, but more on that later. Check out Mashvisor's investment property calculator for additional information on cash flow property analysis and investment property analysis.

How do you compute cash flow?

Calculating the cash flow of a rental property is a simple process:

  • Determine the property's gross income.
  • Deduct all property-related expenses.
  • Subtract any property-related debt service.
  • The distinction is the property's cash flow.

A property's gross rental revenue is the entire income from all sources before expenses or mortgage payments are deducted. Some properties, such as a single-family rentals, will have only one source of income: rental income. However, some rental properties, particularly commercial ones, may offer extra revenue sources such as on-site laundry, late fees, pet fees, or goods sales such as boxes or moving supplies.

Property expenses will vary depending on the type of property. Commercial properties with net leases may incur lower expenses than residential rental properties with gross leases.

What kind of rental cash flow should you aim for?

Every investor has unique financial objectives. Some people are content with an 8 percent return on investment (ROI), while others want a 15 percent or higher ROI. There is no magic figure that represents the ideal or correct quantity of cash flow to generate. After analyzing your financial objectives, it's typical to set a minimum cash flow per door or a minimum return requirement. When reviewing properties, this might assist you to eliminate those that do not satisfy your investment criteria.

Just make sure you consider the time investment you'll be making in evaluating, investing, closing, and managing the property. Your goal cash flow should be high enough to make your investments beneficial, but not so high that you can't find properties to invest in.

How Much Cash Flow Should a Rental Property Have?

When one understands how cash flow is calculated, it is immediately apparent that a positive cash flow represents a healthy cash flow. A rental property's profitability is directly proportional to the amount of cash flow it generates. To what extent, though, is it possible to exactly quantify a "healthy cash flow"? The answer cannot be reduced to a straightforward yes or no at this point.

The reality is that a wide variety of factors can have an effect on cash flow in the real estate industry. In order to get an accurate picture of what constitutes a good income flow from a rental property, we need to investigate the following aspects.


Location, location, and location are the three most important aspects to consider when purchasing real estate, which is probably something you've heard a thousand times already. This is especially important to keep in mind when looking for residences that generate cash flow. The rental income generated by a piece of real estate is strongly influenced by the neighbourhood in which it is situated. Many of the costs associated with rental properties, such as taxes, interest rates, and association fees, are comparable to one another. In addition, there are a variety of other factors at play in every region. For example, the short-term rental legislation in a region can restrict the amount of money that can be made through Airbnb due to the various licencing requirements and other limits. There is a possibility that rent control legislation in the region will limit the potential income from rentals. The traditional rental market is sensitive to the state of the neighborhood's economy (which can greatly affect rental income). The flow of cash will be influenced in various ways as a result of all of these factors.

Type of Property and Cost

The different kinds of properties each have their own standards for what makes for a healthy cash flow. It's possible that various kinds of real estate have varying potentials for bringing in money through rentals, and this variation comes from the number of distinct units that can be inhabited at the same time. Comparatively speaking, a single-family home does not have as many rental units as a multi-family rental property does. As a direct consequence of this, multi-family homes have a greater potential for positive cash flow than single-family residences do.

The price of the property is another key consideration. Investments in more expensive rental properties typically generate greater amounts of cash flow than investments in less expensive rental property. This is owing to the fact that you may generally expect a higher rental rate for a variety of reasons, such as bigger facilities, more room, or even a better location. The reason for this is that you can normally demand a higher rental rate.

Rental Methodology

Rental investing techniques, like property type, determine what constitutes excellent cash flow on a rental property. Airbnb rental strategies, for example, produce higher income flow than typical rentals.

Financing for Rental Property

The last option is financial support for rental properties. When it comes to cash flow, paying in cash or with a mortgage will have a significant influence. Should you choose to take out a mortgage, the interest rate you choose as well as the amount you pay towards your mortgage each month will have an effect on the amount of money you bring in each month. You should use a cash flow calculator for investment properties so that you can have a better understanding of the whole impact of the type of financing you choose, but more on that later!

Calculating Cash Flow

Investors that are familiar with calculating cash flow will find it much easier to discover a rental property's genuine potential. However, you do not need to be an expert to calculate rental property cash flow on your own; the process is pretty simple as long as you have the necessary data. To calculate cash flow, simply subtract all of your expenses from all of your income. Because income and expenses are, at best, generalizations, here's a more extensive explanation of how to evaluate a home's cash flow potential:

  • Add All Of The Revenue: To get started, figure out how much rental income you estimate to earn over the course of a year. Examine local comps (similar properties) in your market to see how much you may potentially rent out the home for each month. As long as the comps are pulled correctly, comps will be the greatest technique to calculate rental income in a given area. You can also contact area Realtors or property management organizations to get an idea of how much your potential rental property would rent for. Take that monthly revenue and multiply it by 12 to get your annual income.
  • Subtract All Expenses: Next, take the rental income and deduct any expenses you anticipate incurring. Include the rental revenue used to pay the mortgage on the rental property here. Include everything from property and income taxes to maintenance charges and anything else that will reduce your profit margin. The obtained figure represents the subject property's cash flow.

While this equation is easy, it only works if you have done your homework. Declaring that you will remove expenses is one thing; actually doing so accurately is quite another. Countless factors must be considered, not the least of which is the need to complete the project effectively and in a way that benefits the investor.

The Most Common Cash Flow Detractors in Rental Properties

One of the most critical tasks in determining cash flow is estimating the expenses associated with your investment. You must be aware of all prospective costs in order to appropriately break down expenses. Even missing one of these items can have a significant impact on the cash flow of your rental property.

The following are some of the most frequently overlooked monthly rental property expenses:

  • Utilities: The majority of prospective rental property owners are aware of the essential utilities that come with purchasing a home. A rental property is unusual in that you may only be responsible for a handful of them. Before you begin your calculations, you should conduct market research to determine which ones are usually to pay for. Cable, power, and oil-based heating should be the responsibility of your tenant. However, landlords are not uncommon in paying the water and sewer costs. Depending on the market, you may have to make some concessions and include some utilities in order to earn the best rent possible.
  • Property management is a common first step for many novice investors. This works until they realize they don't have the time, inclination, or skills to execute the task properly. Whether or whether you are considering property management now, you must include this in your cash flow forecast. The standard cost is roughly 10% of the monthly rent received. By including this in your estimates, you can use property management if your firm grows to the point where you can no longer handle properties on your own.
  • Repairs: Even if you have the best tenants, minor issues will arise that require your attention. Toilet clogs, appliance repair, and faulty garbage disposals all arise from time to time. It is recommended practice to set aside one month's rental income as reserve cash for potential repairs.
  • Seasonal expenses are likely the most usually neglected category of spending. Seasonal expenses vary according to the market. You should create a snow removal budget in places that are influenced by snow. You should also consider grass care and preventative maintenance for your fireplace, central air unit, and furnace. Finally, any marketing costs incurred to attract new renters must be factored in. Even though these will not occur every month, they must be factored into your annual budget.

What Is a Good Cash Flow for a Rental Property?

To classify a good cash flow is to commit oneself to subjective judgment; what one investor considers a strong cash flow, another may utterly disregard. Good cash flow is purely circumstantial. One thing is certain: all investors strive for positive cash flow. Positive cash flow indicates the possibility of profit. In fact, the higher the positive cash flow from an investment property, the better.

With that in mind, most investors should strive for a certain percentage return on their real estate investments. While returns vary depending on the exit plan, most investors aim for a six to twelve percent return.

Would you like to speak to a specialist? Book a complimentary discovery session by calling: (03)999 81940 or emailing

To Summarize

Making money from your rental properties' cash flow can be a wise investment. You may be able to pay off any mortgages and generate equity in addition to cash flow. Remember that when it comes to real estate cash flow, precisely assessing your rental property income and expenses is the key to success.

In most cases, a property is considered to be negatively geared if it generates a yield of less than 5% after the owner has paid all of the property's expenses and interest.

Depending on how expensive the home is, a return on investment that falls somewhere between 7% and 8% is typically considered neutral to positive. When the value of the properties is about one hundred thousand dollars, the percentage range may not be sufficient to produce a positive cash flow. However, until you reach $500,000 or more, a positive cash flow will almost surely be provided for you if you maintain a return of 7% or 8% on your investment.

If you have a tenant and are collecting rental money without paying huge fees and expenses, then you have a good chance of having a positive cash flow from the property if the yield is greater than 9 percent.

In general, keep a close eye on your expenses because the information presented here is merely a basic recommendation. To compute the rental yield, you may also utilise a free gross rental yield calculator by searching the internet for "gross rental yield calculator." This will bring you a variety of results.


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