3 Quick Ways to Increase the Net Operating Income on Your Multifamily Property

by | BiggerPockets.com

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When it comes to property management, the rule of thumb says expenses take up around 50% of your income.

Read that again.

Around 50% of your rental income will go directly to the expense column.

It may not happen with the first property or the next — but as you grow, the expenses eventually add up across your assets (repairs, new roofs, vacancies, and so forth).

It goes without saying: The way you manage your properties can make or break you as an investor. Of course, with commercial investments, your NOI is directly tied to your valuation (and your equity!), making effective management even more crucial.

Beyond raising rents — which has been covered here — what are some effective ways to unlock profits? Here are three quick tactics that will boost your portfolio bottom line.

3 Quick Ways to Increase the Net Operating Income on Your Multifamily Property

1. Rent Collection Over Property Management

If you’re currently paying 10% of your gross rental income, that’s a big chunk of your profits going to a property manager. And let’s face it, for smaller multifamilies, the margins are so low, the property managers will not handle everything for you (despite what they say).

And often the estimates will come in at a rate that makes you scratch your head. (Examples: $150 vs. $25 for a small lawn, $2,000 vs. $125 for coolant, and the list goes on.) At just 10% of $2,500 per month, the margin’s got to come from somewhere. Yes, it happens.

Instead, establish a network of vendors and handymen who can handle emergencies at decent rates. Then simply spend 3% on rent collection. Or even better, handle it yourself using software. Which leads us to…


Related: 5 Amazing Benefits Multifamily Investments Offer (That Single Family Homes Don’t)

2. Property Management Apps

Real estate tech is all the rage. Whereas before you needed an elaborate accounting and infrastructure system to track and monitor the performance of your portfolio — including income, vacancies, expenses, and so on — there is now sophisticated software out there that literally makes it manageable from your phone.

Popular ones include Cozy (a free service), AppFolio, or Buildium (to learn more about Buildium, click here), the latter of which charges $45/month on up to 20 units.  

In other words, if your 10-unit apartment building generates $10,000 in monthly NOI, your property management expense drops from the standard 10% to 0.45%.

With your equity directly tied to your bottom line, not only do you save over $10,000 a year, the added NOI boost could boost your property’s value by six figures.

Let’s do the math:

  • $120k in gross annual income
  • 40% in expenses
  • $72,000 NOI
  • A 8% cap rate

Property value: $900,000

Now let’s redo the math, shaving off the 9.55%:

  • $120k gross annual income
  • 30.45% in expenses
  • $83,460 NOI
  • 8% cap rate

New property value: $1,043,250

In other words, you just added $143,250 in equity. You’re welcome.


Related: 6 (More) Hidden Costs That Blindside Multifamily Investors

3. Auction Off Expenses

And speaking of tech and software platforms, there are ways to get materials for rehab — or even just minor touch-ups — at competitive prices. Literally.

I recently got a tip about a platform called Ventract.com (which still looks like it’s in its beta mode), which lets you post your job and collect bids for the project, ranging from materials and gigs.

I recently had a recent flooring issue at renovated triplex — fueled by this summer’s insane humidity — causing a nuisance known as “wavy floor.” My property manager (naturally) sent me a jaw-dropping quote, well into the thousands.

Random Craigslist contractors had better deals but still a little higher than I would’ve liked. So I said, “What the hell,” posted the project anonymously.

Long story short, I ended up paying $700 — well below the $5,000 I was quoted.

Any tips I missed?

Leave them in the comments below!

About Author

Philip Michael

A native of Denmark, Philip came to New York in 2014 with $79 in his PayPal account. In 2015, he joined Bisnow Media (the largest commercial real estate news source in North America) and helped lead them to a $50M sale as National Editor and Director of Content Strategy. Founder of NYEG, a real estate & VC company with $80M in the development pipeline, Philip and his team are currently developing a series of historic projects, including the first black-owned high rise in Jersey City, the first smart home development in Jersey City's McGinley Square, and the first voice-controlled student housing building in Philadelphia. Philip is the best-selling author of Real Estate Wealth Hacking: How To 10x Your Net Worth In 18 Months and an expert columnist for Forbes, Black Enterprise, Entrepreneur and others.


    • Donal Murphy

      I’d be careful with services like that. I signed up for Thumbtack to pick up some side jobs doing PC repair, and everything was way below what it should reasonably cost. It made me suspicious of the quality of work you get. I knew there was no way I could do the jobs at those prices.

      There is a service that basically lets you put down a “retainer” for a handyman or plumber or someone like that an supposedly gives you a good deal.

  1. Chad Hale

    Thanks for the article. It is always good to evaluate ways to save money.

    A couple of thoughts
    If a property manager is not doing what they say they would for the agreed upon fee, find a new one.
    Good property managers do much more than simply collect rent. Everyone will place a different value on things like: tenant selection, adhering to fair housing laws, keeping current with laws, collecting late rent, enforcing property policies, liability protection via PM, emergency handling, personal involvement in running a property, evictions, etc. So a PM may or may not be worth it…

    I like some of the newer techie portals (task rabbit for example) for finding more cost effective labor/solutions. Just be aware of getting what you pay for, a short band-aid fix versus a long term solution. Also an uninsured worker is fine until something happens and you are held liable (right or wrong).


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