Data Collection and Income & Expense Analysis of Apartment Buildings

Data Collection and Income & Expense Analysis of Apartment Buildings

Here is the first post in many to come on analyzing residential income properties. This is directly from my course on property valuation and analysis.

Learning Objectives of this Post on Analyzing Apartment Buildings and Residential Income Properties: Data Collection and Income & Expense Analysis

  1. Identify sources of data
  2. Describe the components of an income & expense sheet
  3. Understand how to arrive at Net Operating Income (NOI) from Gross Scheduled Income (GSI)

The first step to accurately determine the market value of a real estate investment is a solid program of data collection and analysis. Each property will have its own unique considerations

All should at least begin with:

  • Property type
  • Overall condition of the improvements
  • Type of construction
  • Neighborhood analysis
  • Overall market conditions
  • Income and expense analysis
  • Legal requirements, zoning etc
  • Comparable property data

This list is broad in scope, but it’s a good foundation for the data collection plan. The data collected from the market on comparable type property will be used to determine the appropriate capitalization (CAP)  rate and make market comparisons in a later step. Unsure of what a Cap Rate is? Check out my blog post that explains everything you need to know about this powerful valuation metric.  The next step is the actual collection of the data.

Data Sources

The data required for the analysis is obtained from many of the same sources as the information used in residential sales.

  • Owners records
  • Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Costar, Loopnet, Commercial Agents & Property Owners, Public records
  • Census data
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Local Housing Authority
  • Appraisers
  • Trade associations
  • Local Council of Governments
  • Tax assessment records

This should give you an idea of a few of the possible sources of data and the steps to begin the data collection process. Once the data has been collected the next step is the analysis of the data.

The Operating Report (Profit and Loss Statement)

When analyzing a real estate investment, we begin with an existing operating statement, also known as a profit and loss statement. The operating report will consist of both income and expense items attributable to the property. In the first step of the analysis, we will only be concerned with the cash income and expense of the property. We will consider depreciation and other non-cash benefits in a subsequent calculation.

Gross Scheduled Income

The gross scheduled income is the amount of money that the property would produce on an annual basis if it were fully occupied. Included in gross scheduled income would be any income attributable to the property from non-rent sources.

What types of sources can be included for determining gross scheduled income?

These sources could include income from laundry and vending machines, parking and storage fees, as well as other owner operated concessions.

When analyzing the gross income, consideration is given not only to the existing rents being charged, called contract or current rent, but also economic or market rent, which is the rent the property would command if it were available for rent in the current market. An adjustment can be made to the gross income if the market indicates that market rent differs from the actual rent. If such an adjustment is made, that should be plainly noted on the operating statement (see loss to lease).


Vacancy & Collection Losses and Effective Gross Income

The chief component in the calculation of effective gross income is the vacancy and collection loss rate. Most properties are not expected to remain fully rented for the entire period of ownership. When a tenant vacates, often there is at least some rental income lost during the turn over period due to repair or remodeling time. In addition to this consideration, one must face the reality that there may be a situation where a tenant becomes unable or unwilling to pay rent as agreed. In this circumstance there will be some rental income lost.

The vacancy and collection loss is usually expressed as a percentage of the gross annual rental income. There are several generally accepted methods for determining the amount of the vacancy and collection loss

  •  Historical data on the subject property
  • Published figures for the community
  • Market analysis

Other places to get historical operating data is

None of these things by themselves will probably give you a 100% complete picture but combining different resources the picture will become much clearer.

Historical data and market analysis are perhaps the most accurate, because typically published figures for the community are an average, and may not be representative of the property you are analyzing. Once the appropriate rate has been developed, the loss is subtracted from Gross Scheduled Income to derive at Effective Gross Income.

Gross Scheduled Income $12,000
Vacancy and Collection Loss (5%)  (600)
Effective Gross Income   $11,400

Gross Operating Income

To figure the gross operating income you go through the following steps:

Gross Scheduled Income
– Vacancy & Credit Loss
= Effective Gross Income
+ All Other Income (garage rent, laundry income, vending, etc)
= Gross Operating Income

The figure derived from this process is what we will call rental income. This is the actual income received after taking into account vacancy and credit loss against potential income.

Other income can come from a variety of sources. In apartments, it is quite often laundry, but it could be rental on furniture for furnished apartments, garages, etc.

The resulting figure of gross operating income is all the income left over after subtracting out the above mentioned items. It is your actual income in hand before expenses. Therefore it is a very important number.

Operating Expenses

The next step in the analysis process is to determine the total operating expenses for the property. Like income, expenses will be analyzed on an annual basis. The investor will do a detailed analysis of the expenses of a given property, so it benefits the practitioner to have done a thorough analysis in the beginning.

It is important to carefully analyze all categories of expenses to accurately portray the financial condition of the property. There are different categories of expenses, depending upon the type of property you will be analyzing, however all expenses are segregated into two basic categories, fixed expenses and variable expenses.

What are three fixed expenses and 10 variable expenses?

Fixed Expenses

A list of typical fixed expense categories will include

  •  Property taxes
  • Insurance
  • Landscaping and service contracts
  • Any expense that does not change from month to month

What determines a fixed expense is the fact that the expense will not vary in response to changing levels of occupancy.

Do not include mortgages as part of operating expenses!Mortgages are not part of operating expenses and are categorized elsewhere.

This group of expenses is not difficult to document for your analysis, but be careful to consider the fact that these expenses may not be the same for a new owner; i.e., the building insurance may go up and most likely the real estate property tax may be reassessed upon transfer.

Real Estate taxes can be one of the largest expenses so make sure to calculate any new tax increase or decrease in your analysis.

Variable Expenses

This category of expenses is much longer, and categories to consider will vary depending on the type and size of the property under analysis. This category will include all of the expenses necessary to maintain the income stream of the property and to provide agreed upon services to the tenant. To attempt a comprehensive list of all expense categories for all types of properties might be impossible and, certainly, is beyond the scope of our study. We will discuss the more common types of expenses in some detail, remembering that each property has unique characteristics and may include its own unique expense categories.

Off-Site Management

Many properties will be managed completely by off-site personnel. The cost of off-site management is determined and subtracted as an expense of operation. It should be noted that a management expense is a valid deduction from income even if the owner is managing the property. There are many firms specializing in this field; they usually charge between 4% and 10% of the rental amount.

 Payroll On-Site Personnel

Resident management is used when the day to day activities of the property require constant supervision. A resident manager is sometimes given free or reduced rent. If that is the case, you must include the managers unit rent in gross scheduled income, then enter the amount of free rent as an expense. In California, if a property has 16 or more units it is the law to have a resident manager on site.


This would be for other management costs. For instance, office and administrative expense, performance bonuses paid to an on-site manager, and any health insurance or retirement plan contributions would be listed here.

Taxes – Workers’ Compensation

Whenever there is an employee, there are various taxes the employer is responsible for. Among these are: Social security tax, unemployment tax, as well as local, state and federal income taxes. These taxes are payable by the employer, and in addition, the employer is required to withhold some amount from the employee’s pay and forward it to the IRS.

Repairs and Maintenance

This is the total amount of repairs and maintenance necessary for the year. This would not include any money spent on capital improvements. A capital improvement is any improvement which substantially increases the useful life of the property. If you find a property which has not had any maintenance expense in the recent past, you will probably find a trade off in the overall condition of the property.


This is probably the most difficult portion of the operating statement to complete accurately. This information is most easily obtained from the owner. NOTE: If the owner is paying the utility bills and is then reimbursed by the tenant, the full utility cost will be listed here and the amount reimbursed to the owner would be listed as other income (this is referred to as R.U.B.).

Accounting and Legal

This is the amount for the bookkeeping required on the property. It will include any amounts paid for payroll reporting or for monthly profit and loss statements. This should also include any legal expenses associated with evictions, drafting of leases, etc.

Advertising, Licenses and Permits

Many larger properties will have ongoing advertising expenses. At the very least there will be some cost at each vacancy. This includes the amount spent for advertising, as well as any licenses or permit charges; e.g., city business license, pool inspections, and/or housing code inspections.


This might include supplies for the vendors mentioned previously: Bug spray, batteries for smoke detectors etc.


That’s right! There should always be a category for those expenses too insignificant to warrant their own category. This would include any additional expenses which were not accounted for elsewhere in the analysis.

 Contract Services

These are services which are supplied by outside vendors not already accounted for under fixed expense categories. These are additional services such as maintenance contracts, design services, appraisals and as many others as necessary.

Here is a list of the more common expenses in alphabetical order. Some of them we list without explanation because they are rather obvious:

  • Accounting and Legal expense
  • Advertising
  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Licenses and permits
  • Miscellaneous and other expenses Property Insurance
  • (Property) Management
  • Payroll and Workers Compensation
  • Real Property Taxes
  • Repairs and Maintenance
  • Services
  • Sewer
  • Supplies
  • Telephone
  • Utilities (Such as the electric bill)
  • Water

Total Operating Expenses

This is the total of the expenses calculated. This is not to include vacancy or credit losses. Remember that what we are attempting is to give as accurate a picture as possible of the property’s financial condition. The property’s value will be dependent upon the ability to produce income, so it is important to be as accurate as possible in estimating both income and expenses.
The total operating expenses are now subtracted from the effective gross income.

Effective Gross Income $11,400
Total Operating Expenses (4,500)
Net Operating Income $ 6,900

Net Operating Income (NOI)

The net income that a property is capable of producing will be one of the first indicators of the worth of an investment. Later when we begin to apply the capitalization rate to the property, the NOI will be used to estimate total investment value.

The calculation of the net operating income does not take into consideration the effect of any potential financing of the property. This may seem odd at first, but in consideration, it will not take long to realize that the property should have a value that is completely independent of any financing that an investor might use to acquire that property.

Measure NOI correctly in order to properly value property

NOI is arrived at as follows:

Gross Operating Income
– Operating Expenses
– Capital Expenditures
Net Operating Income

Sales Proceeds

The sales proceeds that come from divesting yourself of a property are as follows:

Sales Price
– Selling Expenses
= Net Sales Proceeds
– Adjusted Basis _
= Taxable Gain
– Depreciation _
= Capital Gain / Loss


Data Analysis

Having discussed the income and expense analysis in detail, we will concentrate on the balance of the data and other considerations. The property will be analyzed for the following:

  •  Income quantity
  • Income quality
  • Income durability
  • Special risks

All of these considerations will be compared to other investments available in order to determine the appropriate rate of return and measures of value for the property being analyzed.

Test Your Knowledge: Data Collection and Income & Expense Analysis Questions

1. What is the chief component in the calculation of effective gross income?

2. How do you come to Effective Gross Income?

3. Circle the following that are considered an operating expense:

Property taxes Insurance The owner’s income taxes
Mortgage debt service Payroll taxes Utilities
Property maintenance

4. How do you arrive at NOI from Gross Operating Income

5. How do you arrive at the capital gain / loss from the sales price?

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San Diego Multi-Family Deal Maker Of The Year Winner

San Diego Multi-Family Deal Maker Of The Year Winner

Winner of the San Diego Business Journal Top Real Estate Deals of 2014

“My team represented the owner and closed the deal from multiple offers, at the full asking price of $4.7 million. That selling point was one of the highest recorded price-per-unit sales in Golden Hill.”

I was honored and humbled when I recently won the prestigious San Diego Business Journals Deal Maker of the Year Award for best Multi-Family with the sale of El Dorado Manor in Golden Hill and also won for the top Retail Deal of the Year for the sale of the San Ysidro Swap Meet.

I wanted to take few moments to share with you the details of the apartment transaction in hopes that it will provide you with some ideas for transactions you may be involved in.  The deal presented was the successful sale of a 22 unit multi-family property located just east of downtown San Diego in the Golden Hill neighborhood. My team represented the owner and closed the deal from multiple offers, at the full asking price of $4.7 million. That selling point was one of the highest recorded price-per-unit sales in Golden Hill.     

This story began in 2005 when I originally teamed up with the Seller for a project to put a subdivision tract map on the property.  The Seller’s original plan was to either develop the property himself or sell it as a package to a condo conversion specialist. That plan was dealt a challenge when the City of San Diego was served with a lawsuit by a private group whose aim was to stop Condo Conversion projects.


Front shot of the 22 unit golden hill apartment building for sale

With over 180 projects across the city paralyzed by pending litigation, I swiftly assembled the team necessary to start a non-profit 2014-07-10_21-35-13foundation providing legal leadership to all the affected property owners.  The Foundation’s actions soon gathered many of the Owners together and successfully removed them from the lawsuit.  However, the larger issue was a lack of defined and realistic civic regulation covering this type of real estate transaction.

EL Dorado logo

logo that was created as part of the marketing campaign

I employed the resources of the foundation to continue its mission beyond this first success. The involvement of all parties – City, Owners, Realtors, and Citizens – was the key to the creation of new condominium conversion regulations for the City of San Diego.  My continued involvement in the lawsuit conversations and its successful resolution meant that condominium conversion would continue to be one of many sources of affordable home ownership for San Diegans.

Unfortunately, the delays encountered in addressing the lawsuit prevented the owner of the Golden Hill property from selling at the most opportune time, at the peak of the market for this property type.  Not to be dissuaded, I continued to meet regularly over the years with the Owner, analyzing market trends and data. Incorporated into this strategy was attention to the existing tentative condominium map so that it did not lose value through expiration.

Golden Hill Apartment SummaryIn 2012 and 2013 the meetings included a new, thorough financial analysis. The Owner and I focused on three viable scenarios for the property:

  • Owner to proceed with the Condominium Conversion himself
  • Owner and Agent (Myself) to enter into a joint venture to complete the Condominium Conversion
  • Owner to sell the property as it existed (multi-family apartments).

Additionally, my research addressed these issues:

  • Tax basis and tax consequences for the Owner
  • The potential tax liabilities of the Owner doing the Conversion directly
  • The value of the property in a 1031 exchange as  condominiums or as apartments

After 10 + years of ownership, trading out this property in the Owner’s portfolio would require a very attractive replacement and the confidence that I would be able to locate it.  Our carefully considered conclusion was to list the property as an apartment building with the still-viable tentative condominium map included in the transaction.

With the Owner’s blessing, I selected an ambitious price point, which was the highest per unit price of any listing in Golden Hill.  This created a fresh challenge – overcoming resistance to the number by clearly illustrating the supporting values.

Through my research of current and historic rents in the desirable neighborhood, I revealed support for aggressive pricing, indicating viable prospects for the property.  A detailed list and photographs of comparable buildings in the area was compiled to show buyers what was being offered to apartment seekers at that price point.  Additionally, I invested in large-scale, photo-realistic renderings of the 2404-c-street-039_webproperty, illustrating its potential for renovation as a condominium project able to compete with pricier options in nearby Downtown San Diego. Packaged into a video format, the information was easily communicated to potential Buyers and their Realtors. This action enlarged the pool of potential buyers, with more agents and clients able to understand in visual terms the scope of possibilities and value being presented.

C Street Rendering

a rendering that was made for the marketing of the apartment building


The historic high price point per unit was supported and accepted, evidenced by the reception of multiple offers on the property.  My persistence throughout a 10-year relationship and innovation created value and resulted in a successful transaction at full asking price for the Seller. My understanding of all facets of the transaction was invaluable in assisting the Buyer’s agent in compilation of the multitude of documents into a comprehensible format for the Buyer.

A final level of complexity had to be negotiated. The transaction needed to be completed within a specific one-week window of opportunity.  The ability to do this in coordination with the Buyer’s Broker allowed the Buyer to fulfill the requirements of their 1031 exchange at the same time the Seller did the same for their 1031 transaction. Additionally the sale was carefully timed so that the Seller avoided a significant pre-payment penalty.

Follow the link for the full marketing package

Link to property website

Stay tuned for our case study of The San Ysidro Swap Meet which we won Deal Maker of the Year for.

Stayed at a Holiday in Express and now I am teaching Real Estate Investing

Below is an outline of the event I will be putting on tomorrow at the Double Tree in San Diego at hotel circle. Through cliff notes, youtube, wikipedia and staying the night at a holiday inn express really helped me out

For those of you who can’t make it or are unsure what it is about I am pasting the outline here. The lines are fill ins we will discuss and I plan on it being pretty interactive. May even throw in a cold call to a property owner to see if they will sale. Hope they don’t yell at me!

Click here for information on the event

gabhart investments, Inc


Investing & Generating Wealth with Apartments


  1. I. Introduction

  1. II. Apartments, Office, Industrial, Single Family Houses Ohh my!!!

  • Why buy
  • Why Sale
  • Why Wait?
  • ______________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________
  1. III. Figuring it all out and where to go from here…

v  Pick a niche & create a plan

  • Basic business plan

ü  Questions to ask yourself

  • Experience
  • Type of property
  • Where are you going to buy
  • Size
  • __________________________________________________________________
  • Coinage$$$ and where are you going to get it?
  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________
    • Investors
    • Know the rules
    • I am not an attorney nor even that smart so get an attorney but here is what I do know
    • ________________________________________________________
    • ___________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________
    • ___________________________________________________
    • How much of a deposit do you have?
    • Lenders
      • Who should I go to a bank or broker?
      • ____________________________________________________________
      • Risk tolerance
      • Team
        • Attorney
        • Accountant
        • _________________________________________________________
        • ________________________________________________________
        • ________________________________________________________
        • ________________________________________________________
  1. IV. Developing Expertise

v  Geographic knowledge

  • Drive all the areas you are buying in
  • Barriers to entry?

ü  __________________________________________________________________

ü  __________________________________________________________________

ü  ________________________________________________________

ü  ___________________________________________________________________

ü  ______________________________________________________

ü  ____________________________________________________________

ü  ___________________________________________________________

v  Past sales transactions

  • Where to get information
    • Agents & their companies
    • Public records
    • ___________________________________________________________
    • ___________________________________________________________
    • ___________________________________________________________
    • ___________________________________________________________
    • ___________________________________________________________
    • ___________________________________________________________
    • ___________________________________________________________
    • ___________________________________________________________
    • Oh yeah watch out for…

ü  Data is based on pro-forma (projections)

ü  ________________________________________________________________

  • Price trends

ü  Are prices moving up or down

  • Are actives selling for more or less than the solds?
  • _______________________________________________________________
  • _______________________________________________________________
  • Call agents to get insight

ü  Months/Years of inventory

  • Here’s how
  • Rental market

ü  Know your rents!

  • Survey

You will find other deals this way

  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________________________
  • Property management companies
  • Local apartment owners associations
  • ____________________________________________________________
    • Craigslist
    • _______________________________________________________
    • Know the expenses of type, age and location of buildings

ü  Same as above

ü  __________________________________________________________________

  1. V. Now you’re an expert what’s next? FINDING THE DEALS

v  What is a deal?

v  _______________________________________________________________________

v  _______________________________________________________________________

v  _______________________________________________________________________

v  Finding off market or pocket deals

  • Go straight to the source – owners

ü  Tracking them down

ü  __________________________________________________________________

ü  __________________________________________________________________

ü  Costar

ü  _________________________________________________________________

ü  _________________________________________________________________

ü  _________________________________________________________________

ü  _________________________________________________________________

v  Shortlist & rank properties

  1. VI. Ok so you’ve found a deal what’s next?

v  Analyze

v  Let’s take some deals

  1. I. Getting the Cash

v  Whether a lender or investor they want to know _______

v  Creating a proposal

  • Introduction & cover page
  • Executive summary
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • Property specific

ü  Investment details

  • Address etc.
  • Purchase information
    • Price
    • Units
    • ______________________________________________________________
    • Financial information
      • Down payment
      • __________________________________________________________

ü  Executive summary

  • Acquisition costs
    • Purchase price & costs
    • Investment – cash
    • ______________________________________________________________
    • Investment information
      • Purchase price
      • Price per unit
      • __________________________________________________________
      • Income, expense & cash flow
        • Gross scheduled income
        • Vacancy and credits
        • _____________________________________________________
        • _____________________________________________________
        • Debt service
        • Cash flow before taxes
        • Debt service
        • Financial indicators
          • Cash on cash return
          • IRR
          • _________________________________________________
            • ____________________________________________
            • Operating expense ratio

Executive Summary

v  Property description

v  Property details

  • Construction
  • Age
  • Style
  • ______________________________________________________________________
  • ______________________________________________________________________
  • Income & expense statement
  • Property metrics

ü    CAP Rate

ü   _____________________________________________________________

ü   _____________________________________________________________

For the most updated information & news on real estate & Gabhart Investments go to our facebook & twitter pages

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New Funds Fuel Investment on Crittenden

About two weeks ago I was contacted by Cindy Tullues the reporter for Crittenden who publishes numerous well respected reports including The Apartment Report TM .

Crittenden was interested in reporting on the growing number of small firms like ours who were putting together funds (syndications) and wanted to know what made them tick.

I was actually unaware the article came out until I received an email from an interested investor expressing interest in our venture this morning and it has only been one day since publication!

Below is a summary of the most recent article I was quoted in. The summary of the article talks about  many of the big investors are on the sideline or only looking for Class-A assets leaving great opportunities for the smaller entrepreneurial companies putting together syndications.

New Funds Fuel Investment on Crittenden.


Expect a growing number of investors starting to go on the offensive again this year by raising and utilizing fund resources to opportunistically shop for assets across the country.  A large cluster of bigger institutional funds are taking a temporary hiatus, leaving the arena open for smaller investment vehicles priced below the $30M mark to make their move. Look for such firms including JVM Realty Corporation, JDT Holdings LLC,Gabhart Investments Inc. (GII) and KC Venture Groupto fish around for market-specific deals using discretionary cash coffers.

As the availability of for-sale product continues growing this year, bet on more capitalized entrepreneurial funds to pop up and take advantage of good pricing. Most will cash out or look for an exchange at the end of the hold period.  Don’t be surprised to see the majority of smaller funds modus operandi jump on distressed plays that can yield tantalizing returns. On the other side, count on select larger funds from players like Bell Partners to remain active and shop for Class-A/B complexes, while Boston Capitalcloses on a mega tax-credit fund and is already hard at work on a succeeding fund of nearly $300M.

The article goes on to state that it is no surprise these funds are favoring apartments as a safe risk adjusted return. Because of this buyers are trying to raise money to take advantage of these opportunities. Especially with the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA providing such attractive apartment financing at such low rates.

The discounts these funds are seeing are on average 15% to 25% and are focused on older Class-B and C products in historically good markets. Most of these deals are penciling out with IRR’s of at least 20% (we are shooting for 25% over a 5 year period).

The report also mentions that on the other side larger capitalized buyers typically chase after quality Class-A product. This is what I am seeing also.

We were the smallest fund on this list (for now).

Gabhart Investments looks to raise an aggregate $2M investment vehicle to acquire between 60 and 200 units in recession-beaten locales such as Arizona, Las Vegas and California’s Inland Empire. Expect the equity to be raised within six months and be fully committed over a 12-month period. The fund continues to look for JV partnerships and qualified investors putting in $50,000 – $500,000. President Curtis Gabhart hopes to pay cash for the deals and eventually refinance them and recycle the capital. He looks for an IRR in excess of 20% and a three- to five-year hold. Count on Class-B to -C distressed.

The ranges of these Real Estate funds were anywhere from 2-25 million in equity and were in many different markets throughout the U.S. including, Florida, Texas, Phoenix, Las Vegas and others.

Our apartment acquisitions will be primarily within a 3 hour drive or flight from San Diego which will include Phoenix, Las Vegas, and The Inland Empire. In addition we feel that San Diego will have some select opportunities towards the end of this year and through 2011 & 2012. In addition to apartments we will also seek other complimentary opportunities like 1-4 unit flips while we are in that market which will give us better efficiencies and economies of scale and build stronger and better relationships with the locals.

This new fund will expand on the recent success we have had buying and flipping REO single family homes. Currently we have more investors than inventory and this will allow us to expand the opportunities for us and our investor partners.

I will post our business plan soon that we are using for the 1-4 unit single family homes and for the new apartment venture. To learn more about what goes into developing a private placement memorandum (PPM) you can read a previous post by clicking here.

For the most updated information & news on real estate & Gabhart Investments go to our Facebook & twitter pages

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