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Updated on
March 16, 2024

Capital Expenditures

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Expenses undertaken to add value to a real estate property. Capital expenditures can include renovation and upgrade projects, as well as equipment costs needed to make the improvements.

Capital expenditures (CapEx) are long-term investments made by real estate owners or investors to improve or maintain a property's value. These investments typically involve large sums of money and have a long-term impact on a property's ability to generate income.

Examples of capital expenditures in real estate may include significant upgrades to the property such as replacing the roof, HVAC system, and windows, or making structural improvements.

CapEx can also include purchasing or replacing major appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers, and adding amenities to a property such as a pool or fitness center.

Capital expenditures are different from operating expenses, which are the day-to-day expenses of running a property, such as utilities, cleaning services, and repairs. While operating expenses are typically deducted from rental income to determine a property's net operating income (NOI), capital expenditures are not.

Instead, capital expenditures are depreciated over time and deducted as a non-cash expense on a property's tax return. This depreciation expense can be spread over several years and can help offset some of the tax liability involved in owning real estate.

Why does CapEx matter in real estate?

Capital expenditures can significantly impact a property's value and income-generating potential. For example, if a property has an outdated HVAC system, it may be less desirable to renters or buyers, resulting in lower rental income or property value. By investing in a new HVAC system, the property owner can potentially increase rental income and the property's overall value.

However, it's important to note that not all capital expenditures will generate a positive return on investment (ROI). Some investments may have a minimal impact on a property's income or value, while others may require significant capital without providing a significant return. Therefore, property owners and investors evaluate potential CapEx projects and determine whether they will generate a positive ROI.

Capital expenditures are a crucial aspect of owning and investing in real estate.

By making strategic long-term investments in a property's infrastructure and amenities, owners and investors can increase its value and income-generating potential.

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