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Passive Income: A Guide for Multifamily Real Estate Investors  

Rise48 Equity Platinum Level Finish in kitchen

Passive Income: A Guide for Multifamily Real Estate Investors

The pursuit of financial freedom and long-term wealth creation is a goal shared by many. Passive income streams are one powerful avenue towards achieving this goal. If you’re exploring real estate investments, particularly multifamily real estate, you have the potential to build lucrative passive income sources. This blog post dives into what passive income is, why it’s important, strategies for multifamily investors, and important tax considerations. 

This article covers key passive income topics such as: 

  • What is Passive Income? 
  • Passive Income vs. Active Income 
  • Examples of Passive Income 
  • Why is Passive Income Important? 
  • How Much Passive Income is Enough? 
  • Where to Invest to Get Passive Income 
  • How Does Passive Income Get Taxed? 
  • Create Passive Income Through Multifamily Real Estate Investments 

What is Passive Income? 

In simple terms, passive income is money earned with minimal regular effort on your part. It’s distinct from a traditional salary where you trade time for money. Passive income isn’t “get rich quick” – it often requires some upfront investment of money, time, or both. However, the long-term rewards can be substantial. 

Passive Income vs. Active Income 

Active Income

Active income is the most familiar form of earning it‘s the money you receive directly in return for the time, skills, and effort you invest. This encompasses any traditional job where you earn a salary or hourly wages, plus income sources like freelancing, consulting, or operating a business where your direct involvement drives the revenue. The core principle is that your income is directly proportional to the amount of work you put in. When you cease working, so does your influx of active income. 

Rise at Dobson Ranch interior unit
Passive Income

Passive income, on the other hand, provides a way to earn money with significantly less ongoing effort. While it usually requires an upfront investment of either time, money, or both, the key is that once you’ve established the income-generating system, it can continue to produce income with minimal additional work from you. It’s important to note that “passive” doesn’t mean effortless – you may still need occasional maintenance or monitoring. However, the allure lies in the fact that passive income streams aren’t tied directly to the number of hours you spend working. It has the potential to generate money even when you’re not actively engaged. 

The fundamental distinction between active and passive income revolves around the relationship between your time and earnings. With active income, you continuously exchange your time for money. Passive income, in contrast, leverages an initial investment of resources to create a system that generates ongoing returns with less continuous effort on your part. 

Examples of Passive Income 

Rental Properties

Owning and renting out properties (houses, apartments, commercial space) creates a steady stream of rental income. While some management may be involved (or you can hire a property manager), the income generation is largely passive after you’ve acquired and established the rental property. 

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) 

REITs are companies that own and operate income-producing real estate. As a shareholder, you receive dividend payments based on the REIT’s profits and may benefit from the appreciation in share price over time. 

Rise Biltmore pool in Phoenix, AZ
Dividend-paying stocks

Investing in stocks of established companies that regularly share a portion of their profits with shareholders provides a form of passive income. The dividend payments can be a reliable income source. 

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Online platforms allow you to lend money to individuals or businesses and earn interest on those loans. While there’s some risk involved, peer-to-peer lending can provide passive returns. 

Creating and Selling Digital Products

If you have expertise in a subject, you can package that knowledge into e-books, online courses, or templates. These digital products can be sold repeatedly with minimal ongoing effort, creating a passive income stream. 

Affiliate Marketing

Promote other people’s products or services on your website or social media. You earn a commission for every sale made through your unique referral link. 

It’s crucial to remember that even “passive” streams often require upfront work and research. It’s best to choose options that align with your interests and risk tolerance. 

Front lobby seating at rise at the lofts

Why is Passive Income Important? 

Passive income is important for several reasons. Firstly, it acts as a buffer against the limitations of traditional income sources. With a regular job, your income is capped by the hours you can work and your earning potential within that role. Passive income breaks this ceiling, allowing you to generate wealth without directly trading every hour of your day for it. This creates a greater sense of financial security, knowing you have income streams beyond your primary job. 

Moreover, passive income provides a path to greater freedom and flexibility. As your passive income grows, it reduces your reliance on your 9-to-5 job. This can empower you to pursue other passions, travel, spend more time with loved ones, or even embark on early retirement if your passive income sufficiently covers your expenses. 

Ultimately, passive income is a crucial tool for building long-term wealth. By reinvesting your passive earnings, you create a compounding effect that can lead to significant financial growth over time. This can help you achieve your big goals, whether it’s buying a dream home, leaving generational wealth for your family, or supporting causes you believe in. 

How Much Passive Income is Enough? 

There’s no single answer to the question of how much passive income is enough. It depends entirely on your individual circumstances and goals. Here’s how to determine what’s right for you: 

  • Lifestyle Costs: Accurately calculate your monthly and annual expenses. This includes necessities (housing, food, transportation), debt payments, and any discretionary spending on things like entertainment or travel. 
  • Financial Goals: Do you want to supplement your active income, retire early, build a large investment portfolio, or achieve something else entirely? Your goals will shape your target passive income figure. 
  • Risk Tolerance: How comfortable are you with relying on passive income? It’s often wise to have some guaranteed income from an active source, alongside your passive streams. 
  • Available Investment Strategies: The type of passive income streams you choose plays a role. Some might have higher risk/reward profiles or different potential income ceilings. 

It’s wise to consult with a financial advisor for a personalized plan. It’s also unlikely you’ll start with enough passive income to fully replace your active income, as building reliable passive income sources takes time. Finally, remember that “Enough” can be a moving target as your life and financial goals change. 

Where to Invest to Get Passive Income 

Multifamily syndications are a popular choice for investors seeking passive income in real estate. By pooling resources with other investors, individuals can participate in the ownership of large apartment complexes without the need for hands-on management. The sponsor, or deal organizer, handles all the operational aspects, while investors receive regular income distributions based on the property’s performance. This allows for a truly passive and scalable investment approach. 

For those desiring more direct control, owning and renting out properties such as single-family homes and duplexes presents the classic passive income opportunity. However, it’s important to be aware that this approach often requires ongoing management responsibilities. If that sounds like too much work, engaging a property management service can minimize your involvement, though it will eat into your profits. 

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REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) provide an alternative for those seeking exposure to real estate without becoming a landlord. These companies own and manage income-generating properties, offering investors passive income through dividends and the potential for stock price appreciation. REITs are an appealing choice for individuals who simply want to invest in a diversified real estate portfolio with a completely hands-off approach. 

Rise Oak Creek apartment in Bedford, TX

How Does Passive Income Get Taxed? 

It’s important to remember that even though it’s called “passive,” this type of income is generally still taxable. The exact way your passive income gets taxed depends on the source of income. Many types of passive income, such as rental income or earnings from a business you don’t actively manage, are taxed at your regular income tax rate, just like your wages from a job. 

However, some passive income sources enjoy special treatment. For example, profits from selling an investment held for over a year (like stocks or real estate) are usually subject to capital gains tax, which may have a lower rate than your ordinary income tax. Additionally, certain types of investment income may be subject to the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) at an additional rate, especially if your overall income is high. 

It’s crucial to remember that deductions can play a huge role in reducing your tax burden on passive income. You may be able to deduct expenses related to your income-generating activities. Always keep accurate records and consider speaking with a tax advisor to understand the full tax implications of your passive income streams and how to maximize your deductions. 

Advantages of Multifamily Real Estate for Passive Income 

Economies of Scale

One key advantage of multifamily properties is the inherent economies of scale. Compared to managing several single-family rentals, operating a larger multifamily complex often leads to lower per-unit costs. Expenses like maintenance, repairs, marketing, and even property management can be streamlined. This efficiency translates directly into higher profit margins and a stronger passive income stream. 


The demand for rental housing, particularly in high-growth areas like Dallas and Phoenix, is robust. Population growth, urbanization trends, and changing lifestyle preferences often contribute to a consistent need for multifamily housing options. This stable demand helps to ensure a reliable flow of rental income, minimizing vacancies, and strengthening your passive income potential. 

Appreciation Potential

In addition to the rental income, multifamily properties have the potential for significant appreciation. As property values in desirable locations tend to rise over time, an investor realizes capital gains when they sell their investment. This creates an additional stream of passive income on top of the rental revenue. 

Tax Advantages

Real estate investments, including multifamily properties, offer attractive tax benefits. Deductions for expenses like mortgage interest, property taxes, and depreciation can significantly reduce your annual tax burden. These tax benefits directly enhance the profitability of your multifamily investment, translating to greater passive income in your pocket. 

Tenant Diversification: Unlike a single-family rental, where a vacancy means a complete loss of income, multifamily buildings offer built-in diversification. Even with some vacancies, income continues to flow from other occupied units, reducing risk and smoothing cash flow. 

Value-Add Potential

Many multifamily investors focus on “value-add” opportunities, properties where strategic improvements and upgrades create substantial increases in rental rates and overall property value. This offers the potential for both higher ongoing income and significant capital gains. 

Professional Management

While smaller properties often involve self-management or hiring an independent manager, the scale of multifamily investments allows for hiring professional property management companies. These companies specialize in marketing units, tenant relations, rent collection, and maintenance, taking a tremendous workload off the passive investor. 

Create Passive Income with Rise48 Equity 

Building passive income requires strategic planning and investment, but the rewards can be transformational. Multifamily real estate, especially through syndicators, represents a compelling opportunity for investors seeking predictable cash flow and long-term appreciation. 

At Rise48 Equity, we specialize in identifying, acquiring, and enhancing multifamily properties in key markets such as Phoenix and Dallas. These two markets boast strong economies, population growth, and favorable demographic trends, making them prime targets for real estate investment. As a leading multifamily syndicator with over $2.15 Billion+ in total transactions, Rise48 Equity offers investors access to institutional-quality assets and a proven track record of success.  

Leasing office at Rise Biltmore in Phoenix, AZ

Our vertically integrated approach, supported by our in-house construction and property management teams – Rise48 Construction and Rise48 Communities, respectively – ensures seamless execution of our investment strategy from acquisition to disposition. By partnering with Rise48 Equity, investors can leverage our expertise, industry connections, and operational excellence to maximize their returns and achieve their financial goals.  

If you’re intrigued by the potential of multifamily investments as a path to passive income, schedule a call with Rise48 Equity to learn more about our current multifamily apartment investment opportunities. 


Rise48 Equity is a Multifamily Investment Group with local offices in Dallas, TX and Phoenix, AZ. “At Rise48 Equity, we provide opportunities for accredited and non-accredited investors to protect and grow their wealth and achieve passive cash-flow. Our team brings expertise to acquire, reposition and return capital to investors upon reaching our business plan. Through our research and strategically formed partnerships, we acquire commercial multifamily apartment properties, strategically add value to the properties, and create passive income for our investors through cash-flow and profits from sale.”

Since 2019, Rise48 Equity has completed over $2.15 Billion+ in total transactions, and currently has $1.71 Billion+ of Assets Under Management located in Phoenix and Dallas. All of the company’s assets under management are managed by Rise48 Equity’s vertically integrated property management company, Rise48 Communities.


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