ReSET Blog
Blog · March 15, 2023 · AUTHOR: Stanley Bawalan

Keywords You Should Know Before Investing in Real Estate

Investing in the real estate market can be a profitable venture, but it's essential to familiarize yourself with basic real estate terms to better understand how the market works. This article will cover essential real estate terms that you need to know to converse with professionals and other investors and gain a better understanding of the market.

Cash flow is a financial metric that indicates the amount of money generated or consumed by a business or individual during a given period. 

A positive cash flow occurs when cash inflows exceed cash outflows, while a negative cash flow could result in financial difficulties. To calculate cash flow, you can use the formula: Income – Expenses.

Equity refers to the ownership interest of an individual or entity in a property, such as a home or investment.

This is calculated as the difference between the market value of the property and any outstanding debts or loans secured by the property. As equity increases, it provides more financial flexibility and options, such as borrowing against the equity or selling the property for a profit. The value of equity is Total Asset Value – Total Liabilities.

Appreciation refers to the increase in a property's value over time.

This could be due to factors such as economic growth, inflation, and changes in supply and demand. Essentially, it means that a property is worth more now than it was when it was initially purchased.

Cap rate is a metric that real estate investors use to determine the potential return on investment for a property. 

It is calculated by dividing the annual net operating income by the current market value of the property. A higher cap rate means a higher potential return, and it's an excellent tool to help you compare different investment options.

Gross rental income is the total amount of rental income a property generates before any expenses are deducted. 

This includes things like rent, parking fees, laundry fees, and any other sources of income from the property. You can calculate Gross Rental Income using this formula: Monthly Rental Income x Total Number of Units x 12 Months.

ROI or Return on Investment is a measure of how much profit you've made on an investment relative to the cost of that investment. 

A higher ROI is desirable, and it can help you decide whether to continue investing in a particular asset or look for a better opportunity. The formula for ROI is (Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment.

Depreciation is the decrease in the value of a property over time, which can be used to reduce taxable income. 

The cost of the asset is spread out over several years, reflecting the fact that it gradually loses value over time. You can calculate the depreciation expense using the formula: (Asset Cost – Salvage Value) / Useful Life.

Net Operating Income (NOI) is a measure of the income generated by a property after all operating expenses are deducted. 

This includes expenses like property taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and utilities. Basically, the higher the NOI, the more profitable the property is likely to be. You can compute NOI using this formula: Gross Rental Income – Operating Expenses.

Capital expenditures (CapEx) refer to the amount of money that a company or investor spends on long-term assets.

This includes property, equipment, or buildings. These expenses are not typically deductible in the year they are incurred, but rather are depreciated over time. You can calculate CapEx using this formula: Ending PP&E – Beginning PP&E + Depreciation.

A 1031 Exchange is a tax code provision that allows real estate investors to defer paying taxes on the sale of a property.

Well of course, as long as the proceeds are used to purchase another like-kind property. This allows investors to reinvest their money without being subject to capital gains tax.

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Capital gains tax is a tax on the profit you make.

This could be from selling an asset such as real estate, stocks, or bonds. When you sell an asset for more than you paid for it, you incur a capital gain, and you may be required to pay taxes on that gain. The tax rate for capital gains depends on your income and the length of time you held the asset before selling it.

Mortgage is a loan used to purchase real estate. 

The borrower typically makes monthly payments to the lender, which include both principal and interest. The lender holds the property as collateral until the loan is paid in full.

Amortization is the process of gradually paying off a loan through regular payments. 

Each payment is divided into principal and interest, with the majority of the payment going towards interest in the early years of the loan and more towards principal in the later years.

Title refers to the legal ownership of a property. 

A title search is typically conducted during a real estate transaction to ensure that the seller has the legal right to sell the property and that there are no liens or other claims against the property.

Closing costs are the fees associated with finalizing a real estate transaction. 

These may include fees for appraisals, inspections, title searches, and legal fees.

Zoning refers to the regulation of land use by local government.

Zoning laws specify how a property can be used, such as for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, and may restrict the height, size, or style of buildings in a particular area.


Real estate is a complex and constantly evolving market, and understanding the basic terminology is essential for success as an investor. By familiarizing yourself with these essential real estate terms, you can communicate more effectively with other professionals in the industry and make informed investment decisions.


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