# Unveiling the Role of Cash-on-Cash Return in Investment Analysis

Apr 1
17:25

2024

James Kobzeff

Cash-on-Cash return is a pivotal metric for investors, particularly in the realm of real estate, offering a straightforward comparison of profitability across various investment opportunities. This article delves into the intricacies of Cash-on-Cash return, examining its definition, advantages, limitations, and why it's a favored tool among property investors. We'll also break down the formula used to calculate it, supplemented by practical examples.

## Understanding Cash-on-Cash Return

Cash-on-Cash return, also known as the equity dividend rate, is a financial ratio that compares the annual before-tax cash flow (CFBT) of a property to the initial cash investment made to acquire it. Essentially, it represents the percentage of cash income earned on the cash invested in a property.

This metric is particularly popular in real estate investing because it allows for quick and easy comparisons of profitability between different investment options. For instance, an investor might weigh the first-year return of a real estate investment against the yield of a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at a bank. If a property offers a Cash-on-Cash return of 7.6% while a CD yields 3%, the investor may lean towards the property investment.

### The Formula and Its Components

To calculate Cash-on-Cash Return, use the following formula:

Cash-on-Cash Return = Annual Cash Flow / Cash Investment

Let's dissect the components:

1. Annual Cash Flow: This is the cash flow before tax (CFBT), not to be confused with cash flow after tax (CFAT). It's calculated by subtracting the annual operating expenses and debt service from the annual rental income.

2. Cash Investment: This encompasses the total initial cash outlay required to purchase the property, including down payment, loan points, and various closing costs such as escrow, title fees, appraisal, and inspection expenses.

### A Real-World Example

Imagine you're eyeing a six-unit multifamily property with the following financials:

• Monthly rent per unit: \$1,000
• Annual operating expenses: \$28,800
• Down payment: \$126,000
• Loan points: \$2,940
• Monthly loan payment: \$1,956
• Closing costs: \$2,100

First, calculate the annual cash flow:

Gross Scheduled Income: \$72,000 (6 units x \$1,000 x 12 months) Operating Expenses: -\$28,800 Net Operating Income: \$43,200 Mortgage Payment: -\$23,472 (\$1,956 x 12 months) Annual Cash Flow: \$19,728

Next, calculate the cash investment:

Down Payment: \$126,000 Loan Points: \$2,940 Closing Costs: \$2,100 Total Cash Investment: \$131,040

Finally, calculate the Cash-on-Cash Return:

\$19,728 (Annual Cash Flow) / \$131,040 (Cash Investment) = 15.06%

## The Benefits and Limitations

While Cash-on-Cash return offers a quick snapshot for comparing investment opportunities, it does not account for the time value of money, meaning it doesn't compound or discount cash flows over time. Therefore, it's limited to assessing an investment's first-year performance only.

Despite this, Cash-on-Cash return remains a valuable indicator, especially when used in conjunction with other financial metrics for a comprehensive analysis. It's crucial, however, to rely on accurate and complete property data when conducting your evaluations.

## Making Informed Investment Decisions

When faced with investment choices, such as between a 3% T-Bill and a rental property offering a 15.06% Cash-on-Cash return, a thorough real estate analysis is essential. While the property may seem like the superior option initially, a deeper dive into additional key returns and measures is necessary before making a final decision.

Remember, the reliability of your analysis hinges on the credibility of the data you use. Always verify the information provided by sellers or agents and calculate all figures with precision.

For further insights into real estate investment analysis, consider exploring resources like the National Association of Realtors or financial education platforms such as Investopedia.

In conclusion, Cash-on-Cash return is a fundamental tool in the investor's arsenal, offering a lens through which to view the immediate profitability of potential investments. By understanding and applying this metric effectively, you can pave the way for informed and successful real estate investment decisions.

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