Gross income minus expenses is profit. The difference between what you pay each month on the mortgage for your rentals and the rent you receive should be positive each month. After all, if your goal is monthly income, then writing a check each month real estate profitsfor more than you take in puts your income plan in a quandary. There are three things however that can impact your monthly take-home that you have some control over.

The first is maintenance costs. Real estate investors are advised to keep a slush fund available to make need repairs as they happen that can range anywhere from a $49 sink disposal to a pricey furnace repair. Keep these maintenance costs to a minimum by making not just one but two initial inspections looking out for potential problems down the road. Fix what needs fixing and don’t put off repairs if at all possible.

Property tax assessments will also have a play. Different communities, counties and states have different property tax rates. Obviously areas with higher taxes mean more will be taken from your rent each month. Yes, your rental rates should take property taxes into consideration but don’t forget to review tax rates and assessed values.

Finally, the one thing that will really kill at cash flow is no rent. Not just a vacancy but from slow or non-paying tenants. Make sure you thoroughly vet your prospective renters by researching not just their credit and rental histories but verify how much money they make from their jobs. Individuals with solid credit, sufficient income as well as showing signs of stability make for the best tenants. When you find them, lock them up in as long a lease term as possible. The best way to make sure you cash flow is receiving cash in the first place.