Allowance For Vacancy And Income Loss

Definition of "Allowance for vacancy and income loss"

Naomi  Campbell real estate agent

Written by

Naomi Campbellelite badge icon

Coldwell Banker Residential

For real estate investors, the vacancy and credit loss is a way to determine a property’s potential for profit. This value is determined by subtracting the losses brought by vacant units and non-payments for rents from the gross potential income. The gross potential income is the full potential of income from a rental property if all the units are rented and rent payments are met. From that value, an investor can take out the vacancy and credit losses to understand the gross operating income (GOI). 

A landlord incurs vacancy and credit losses because apartments or offices are unoccupied, and tenants fail to pay the rent due. This value can be compared to other similar properties and gives investors the possibility to see if their investment is as profitable as others. To determine the vacancy and credit losses requires actual experience to be taken into account from the property as they can affect a property’s gross potential income.

What is the potential for income loss?

Any investor that purchases a rental property will want to keep it rented throughout the year. This isn’t the most realistic expectation; however, there are many reasons for renters to move out. What is essential is to be able to limit the time between one renter moving out and the next one moving in. Many issues can affect that timeline:

  • Condition of the property - whether it needs painting or other repairs before a new renter can move in.
  • Marketing - the best way to solve a problem is to be proactive - advertise in advance.
  • Market health - lack of demand for rentals is something that an investor can not change; this is why choosing where to invest is important.

What to do to limit income losses?

An investor can influence vacancy and credit loss. As mentioned above, a proactive approach works. In the case of vacancies, something to take into account is constant advertising. Waiting for a rental to be empty will lead to a longer wait time with a vacant unit. If, however, the investor keeps promoting their property and says that there are no vacancies when calls come in, they can also say that when a vacancy opens, they will let the person know. A few more calls to deal with is better than having an empty unit for an undetermined amount of time. Like that, they have a list of prospective renters available for when vacancies will open.

Another way to limit the time of vacant units is to have the materials needed for potential renovations. Paint and other common materials can be on stock for when they are necessary. Like that, when the need comes, the resolve is on hand.

Regarding credit losses, the most important factor is credit checks and renter screenings. Make sure the potential renter has the income to be able to afford the rent and check their background. Get references from former landlords and check their credit score history. Evictions can take time and add to the loss. During the eviction period, the renter might still live on-site and not pay rent as the state establishes eviction procedures and timelines. Make sure what these are according to your state.

How Vacancy Allowance works

Vacancy allowance is a criteria taken into account when a real estate rental makes its projection for cash flow expectations. The allowance itself depends on the type of rental property, the market situation at the time, and supply/demand in the market.

Calculating vacancy allowance can be done by deducting it from the potential gross income. Units that are not rented are subtracted from the PGI determined from past data and the market at the time. No set formula exists for vacancy allowance as it depends on the property type and its appraised value.

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