Net Operating Income (NOI)

The total income of a property less the total operating expenses and losses from vacant premises

What is Net Operating Income (NOI) in Real Estate?

Net Operating Income (NOI) in real estate is the total income of a revenue-generating property less total operating expenses and losses from vacancies. The NOI helps investors determine the profitability of the property when making an investment decision. However, the calculation of the NOI excludes expenses relating to taxes, depreciation, amortization, and other capital expenditures.


Net Operating Income


The total revenue generated from the property includes all possible revenue streams from the property. The real estate properties’ main income comes from the rent of the premises. However, additional revenues can be derived from parking fees, vending machines, laundry machines, and other services on the premises.

The total operating expenses (subtracted from the total revenue) come from the regular operation and maintenance of the property, excluding any capital expenditures. The operating expenses include costs, such as fees charged by the management, insurance, fees charged for legal services, utilities, janitorial fees, and general maintenance repairs.

Capital expenditures are included in the operating expenses. Capital expenditures are those improvements that the owners of the property decide to make either partially or wholly in the premises, i.e., replacing an air conditioning system.



  • Net Operating Income (NOI) in real estate is a financial metric used by real estate professionals to help determine the value of an income-generating property.
  • NOI helps real estate investors in differentiating between a good investment opportunity from an otherwise not worthwhile investment.
  • The calculation of the NOI does not take into consideration taxation, depreciation of property, interest paid on borrowings, and amortization.


Net Operating Income vs. Net Income

The net operating income is the revenue generated from the daily operations of the property minus the operating expenses. The total revenue taken into consideration excludes additional earnings from investments outside the property. The total operating expenses exclude additional expenses outside the regular running of the property, such as taxes, interest paid to financiers, and other capital expenditures.

On the other hand, net income is the last figure obtained after all expenses are subtracted from the total revenue. The total revenue includes all channels of income, including all operating income, investment income, interest from loans offered, etc. The costs deducted include capital expenses, taxes, and all operating expenses.


Capitalization Rate vs. Net Operating Income

Capitalization rate (cap rate) and NOI go hand in hand in helping an investor make investment decisions in real estate. Together with NOI, a cap rate is used to evaluate the value of an property. It assists the investor in estimating a valuation more accurately than conventional methods. The cap rate, therefore, is the net operating income divided by the estimated market value of the property.

Cap rates, as well as the NOI, are crucial components to investors as they are historical benchmarks to help estimate the value of a property, especially in the initial stages of the investing process. They enable comparisons of investments to help the investor make informed judgment and decisions.

The cap rate also ensures owners focus on understand their operating costs in detail and take proper actions to reduce any unnecessary expenses, as every dollar added to NOI will increase a cap rate calculated property valuation.

Describing a cap rate as good or bad is relative to the geographical location. Investors cannot compare cap rates obtained from different regions but should use comparable cap rates for similar type properties in close proximity. For example, two similar cap rates where one is from a high-end urban location is different from a rural one even though they are similar type properties.


Maximizing NOI

Maximizing the net operating income translates to an increase in profitability, which is the basic goal of the business. Since NOI is used in evaluating the financial health of a business, the higher it is, the better for the business. It also helps in pinpointing probable patterns in the business over a period of time.

To maximize the NOI, the owners should cut expenses, reduce vacancies, and increase rental rates. Cutting expenses can mean minimizing to the lowest possible costs. Strategies to achieve cost reductions may include outsourcing labor, minimize waste, reduce electricity charges and optimize maintenance costs.


More Resources

CFI is the official provider of the global Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To keep advancing your career, the additional resources below will be useful:

  • After Tax Operating Income (ATOI)
  • Capital Expenditures
  • Income vs Revenue vs Earnings
  • Types of Depreciation

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