Calculating Returns on Real Estate Investment Property

When I calculate returns for my real estate investment property here in Kansas City I am usually worried more about what my equity return is than any other issue concerning returns.

What do I mean by Equity Return?

Quite simply, the money that you have tied up in the real estate investment. For instance, in your first year your equity will be:
  • Your down payment.
  • Any difference between what it’s worth and what you paid for it.

A couple of years later (say the 5-8 year window I talk about for trading in/up your real estate investments here in Kansas City) you equity will be:

  • The difference between what you sell it for minus what you owe (including your down payment).

So keep in mind you’ve had principal reduction going on (unless you went with an interest only loan, which could have been a good strategy depending on your situation) in conjunction with appreciation to raise that equity.

Here in Kansas City when you first purchase an investment property I would encourage you to make sure you are getting at least an 18%-22% return on your equity investment. But as you can probably figure out 6 years later that equity investment return will probably have been reduced by as much as 7%-10%.

Why? Because your accelerated depreciation has been exhausted on most facets of the personal property in the rental property and the percentage of net equity to value has steadily dropped, therefore lowering your leverage.

Knowing how you measure what a successful real estate investment property is provides you with the fist step in knowing whether or not that particular house is the right house for you and your investment property portfolio.

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