Multifamily Operating Expenses: A Complete Guide

Multifamily Operating Expenses: A Complete Guide

Multifamily operating expenses are the essential costs associated with running and maintaining an apartment building that generates rental income. These expenses are deducted from your gross rental income to arrive at your Net Operating Income (NOI). NOI is a key financial metric that helps investors understand the profitability of a property.

Understanding the operating expenses of a multifamily rental property is vital for success. Going in with no effort or commitment to the property can leave you in a very difficult place with a great financial loss. Here is a guide to briefly summarize the operating expenses of a multifamily investment:

What are Multifamily Operating Expenses?

Want to generate rental income? These are the regular costs you must consider before your investment. It takes money and lots of time to manage and maintain a multifamily rental property so it can generate income. These are the regular costs associated with managing and maintaining a multifamily rental property:

Property Management

These include the costs of employing a property manager or your own time spent on management tasks. Property management requires day-to-day maintenance on various aspects of the property. With factors such as size of property, location, property amenities and services, property management requires time and money. Consider hiring a property management company to assist you in providing quality and efficient care. Most companies charge a percentage of the rental income which is typically 4% to 12% or more.


To ensure tenant satisfaction, utilities are extremely important. Electricity, water and sewer, gas, heating and cooling, trash pickup, internet and cable, and many more utilities are all to be considered when investing in multifamily properties. These utilities are essential for keeping tenants happy and comfortable. Depending on the property, basic utilities are included in the monthly rent.

Maintenance & Repairs

Regular upkeep is necessary to keep the property nice and the tenants happy. Routine upkeep can include painting, landscaping, appliance repair, plumbing, and more.


You can’t control everything and insurance is important to save you from financial crisis in the case of an emergency. Property insurance, liability insurance, and possibly flood or hazard insurance can be a safety net.

Property Taxes

Taxes levied by the local government on the property value are a guaranteed expense that you must consider.

Marketing & Advertising

You need to fill up your property with tenants to make a profit. Marketing and advertising can get the word out about your vacancy filling. Quality pictures, listed amenities, and details can persuade people to check out if your property is the best fit for them.

Administrative Costs

These encompass various expenses related to managing and overseeing the property. These costs are essential for ensuring smooth operations and compliance with regulations.

Hiring and paying office staff, such as on site staff, property managers, leasing agents, and more fall under this category. Legal and professional fees, accounting, tenant screenings, and so much more are also to be considered.

Be cost effective!

While some expenses are fixed, there are still ways to save some money:

  • Stay proactive in maintenance: Regular maintenance can prevent bigger issues from cropping up later.
  • Invest in Energy Efficient Upgrades: Investing in energy-saving appliances and lighting can reduce utility bills.
  • Vendor Selection: Compare quotes and negotiate with vendors for better rates.

Typical Operating Expense Ratio

The ratio of operating expenses to gross operating income (GOI) typically falls between 35% and 50% for multifamily properties. This can vary depending on factors like location, property age, and management style.

By understanding and controlling operating expenses, you can maximize your return on investment with your multifamily property.

Owning a multifamily property can be a lucrative investment, but it's crucial to understand the ongoing costs involved. This guide is designed to help you identify multifamily operating expenses, what they are, how to manage them, and how to keep your investment profitable.

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