Live Off Rental Income In 10 Simple Steps
You can live off rental income in 10 simple steps. Earning passive income from rental properties is not rocket science it just takes a little bit of dedication and some hard work. Find out the 10 simple steps thousands of investors have used to become financially free through the rental income their property provides them.
Rental income has the potential to provide you and your family with financial freedom. This means you have more passive income (income you don’t have to work for) coming in each month than you have in expenses. You can life indefinitely without every having to go into work again.
You cannot simply purchase any property and begin cashing in the rental income. You can only cash in the rental income when the rent is greater than the expenses of the property. If you are bringing in $1,600 in rent each month but spending $2,000 each month on the property then you will not be able to use the rent for lifestyle expenses.
The goal is to make your properties positive cash flowed. This is where your properties earn you more in rent than you have to pay in expenses. If you are earning $1,600/month from your properties and only paying $1,200/month in expenses then that property is positive cash flowed by $400/month. That is $400 per month that you can begin to live off.
How Much Do You Need To Live Off Rental Income?
Before we get straight into the steps you need to follow if you want to live off rental income you first need to assess your situation and decide on how much passive income you need in order to quit your job and live entirely off your rental income.
The easiest way I have found to do this is to simply do the following steps
a) Write down how much you are earning now?
b) Are you happy with this amount? If not what amount do you think you would be comfortable on (not rich but comfortable)?
c) Add 25% to that figure (eg. If you want to earn $100,000/year then add 25% making it $125,000)
d) Divide by 52 ($125,000/52 = $2,403/week)
You now know the exact amount of rental income you need in order to achieve financial freedom and begin living off your rental income.
How Many Properties Do You Need To Be Financially Free?
Now we need to work out how many properties you need in order to become financially free and live off the proceeds of your investments. For this task we are going to assume you have paid off all your mortgages and have no debt remaining on the loans.
i) Choose a rental income amount that you believe is achievable for the investment property you are likely to purchase (eg. For me it would be $350/week)
ii) Multiple this by 0.75 to take into account 25% of rental income as expenses on the property. My $350/week now becomes $262.50/week
iii) Divide the original weekly amount we calculated above (for me it was $2,403/week) by your weekly rental income figure we did in step ii). For me this looks like $2,403/$262.50 = 9.15
iv) Now round up to the next whole number. For me 9.15 rounds up to 10. So I need 10 properties earning $350/week now (with no debts) in order to leave my employment and completely live off my rental income.
1. Save Your First Deposit
Before you can move to the Caribbean and sip cocktails on the beach for the rest of your life you need to buy your first investment property. In order to by your first investment property you need to first save a deposit.
I have found that the #1 technique for saving your house deposit is to pay yourself first and then learn (or find a way) to live off the rest.Save a dedicated amount of money every single pay cheque and then live off whatever is left over or find a way to earn more money so you can survive the month comfortably.
The first deposit is always the hardest, then you have the ability to use cash flow and equity from your first investment property to help to purchase your remaining properties.
Read my post on saving for a house deposit for 20 ways you can save your deposit fast.
2. Buy Your First Investment Property
Now that you have a deposit you need to get out there and purchase your first investment property. Where possible you want to look for properties with high rental yields and high capital growth potential.
Remember that the end goal is to grow your portfolio and then have the properties pay for themselves plus some. You can then take that plus some and live off that income.
When buying your first property you way way to purchase your principle place of residency (PPOI) as you can often get the first home buyers grant which will help with some of the expenses of purchasing the property. You can always move out later, rent the house out and collect income from it.
I am a big fan of buying your PPOI first. This means you can stop paying rent (dead money) and if you are a hard worker you can improve the quality of the property by doing some renovations and then later rent it out for a higher rental yield. However, whether you buy your home or an investment property first is completely up to you.
3. Minimise Your Expenses AND Maximise Immediate Growth Opportunities
In order to live off your rental income you need to have more income coming in than you have going out in expenses. When you first purchase the property you may want to look for ways to minimise your expenses as much as possible so you can create cash flow opportunities sooner rather than later.
One major way to do this is to get an interest only loan. Instead of paying off principal and interest you only pay the interest. This lowers your monthly expenses considerably and allows time for rental income to grow to begin to pay off the principal.
You may also want to maximise your immediate growth opportunities so you can leverage into more properties. You can often add value to a house by doing some simple cosmetic renovations such as pulling up carpet to reveal floorboards, giving the house a quality coat of paint and doing a basic landscaping of the garden. This increased value can often be borrowed against to purchase more property.
Check out more tips of how to grow the value of your investment property.
4. Grow Your Rental Income
If you want to live off rental income then it is going to be extremely helpful to increase the amount of rental income coming in.
Rents naturally go up over time and there are things that you can do to increase rental income faster than standard market increases. The great thing about investment property is that your income will almost always naturally go up over time due to inflation but your major expenses, your mortgage, will stay the same.
This means you can see an increase in the income your property is bringing in without seeing a huge increase in your outgoing expenses. Even if your purchase a negatively geared property to begin with it can soon become positive as rent goes up higher than your mortgage and other ongoing expenses.
5. Create Positive Cash Flow
The aim of minimising our expenses and growing our income has all been with the goal of creating positive cash flow. This is where your income is greater than your expenses and you get to take the extra money and use it for your own purposes.
Some people take their positive cash flow and use it to pay down their mortgage, some people use it to re-invest in more property and grow their portfolio and others use it to help fund their lifestyle.
How you use your cash flow is up to you, but having cash flow is a great position to be in. It means that even if you lose your job your property will pay for itself (plus some).
6. Reinvest Using Equity And Cash Flow
Now that you have your first property and you are maximising its value and rental income as much as possible it is likely you will have the opportunity to reinvest some of the profit into more properties. It is very difficult to live off the rental income of just one property, so you will likely want to purchase more properties and grow your portfolio.
Find out more about how to own multiple properties. Always be careful not to over extend yourself and always maintain a comfortable risk level. Get professional financial advice before making any investment decisions.
7. Slowly Pay Down Debt or Keep Interest Only
Once you have grown your portfolio and you are experiencing an excess of cash flow it may be time to begin paying down the debt on your properties using the positive cash flow you have created. Over time as you continue to pay off your debt you will eventually get to a place where you no longer have a mortgage on the property and you will own it free and clear.
When this happens a major expenses will disappear almost overnight and your passive income will shoot up because you no longer have to make repayments.
Some people prefer not to use all the excess cash flow, they prefer to keep their properties chugging away with an interest only loan. This minimises your monthly cash flow expenses so there is more positive cash flow to use to reinvest or for personal reasons. Interest only loans do have the potential to provide tax savings as well but always speak to a professional tax advisor.
8. Hold For The Long Term
By holding your properties for the long term you allow them to appreciate in value and you get to take advantage of the income it is producing you for years and years.
Due to inflation, rents will almost always naturally increase over time (as long as supply and demand remain consistent). This increase in rental income improves your monthly cash flow situation.
Your major expenses (your mortgage repayments) will remain quite steady. There is some fluctuation with interest rates but unless you re-borrow the amount that you owe will remain consistent. If your income is going up faster than your expenses then you will naturally have more passive income that you can live off.
9. Protect Your Assets
When you own multiple properties and rely on their rental income to pay your day to day expenses you are going to want to protect them from disaster. One law suit could see you lose all 10 properties if you do not protect them properly.
Speak to a professional about protecting your assets. There are many ways to diversify your investments and to protect them from litigation and disaster using different legal entities. These become more and more important as your portfolio grows and your risk of litigation increases.
10. Live Off Rental Income
You have purchased multiple properties and got them into a cash flow positive position. You have either paid off your debts or are in a position that even with your debts you have enough money coming in to fund your lifestyle.
Now you can sit back and start living off your rental income. If you are earning more in positive cash flow than you are earning at your job you may even want to take an early retirement, quit your job and live entirely off the rental income of your properties.
It Is Possible To Live Off Rental Income!
It is 100% completely possible to quit your job and life off rental income. However, it does not happen overnight. It takes hard work, dedication and time.
If you want to live off rental income then you need to start taking the steps today in order to achieve your ultimate goal of financial freedom.
There was once a traveler who asked Aristotle how he could get to mount Olympus. Aristotle answered:
“Just make sure that every step you take is in the right direction.”
Ensure that you begin taking steps in the right direction today so that one day in the future you can retire off the passive income that your investment properties generate.