dscr loan

What is a DSCR Loan and How Does It Help Your Business?

Ezra Cabrera | March 14, 2024


    Small business owners often struggle to secure financing due to strict requirements and lengthy approval processes from traditional lenders. Fluctuating revenue further complicates matters, making it challenging to predict cash flow accurately and discouraging lenders. This can leave entrepreneurs scrambling to cover expenses during slow periods.

    In this article, we’ll look into DSCR loans and how they can help your business. Whether you’re diversifying portfolios or starting out, understanding DSCR loans offers valuable insights and growth opportunities for your business.

    What is a DSCR?

    The Debt-Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) is a way to see if a business has enough cash to cover its debt payments. It's often calculated using EBITDA, a measure of a company's earnings, as a stand-in for cash flow. Depending on the situation, adjustments might be made to the calculation.

    In real estate and lending, DSCR is super important when deciding whether to give out loans. The basic formula is EBITDA divided by the yearly debt payment. For real estate, DSCR loan lenders usually want to see a DSCR of at least 1.25x. The higher the extra cash the property makes compared to its debt payment, the better the chances of getting a loan.

    In business, DSCR helps owners and investors understand if a company can handle its debt. It's a way to see if a business has enough cash coming in to pay its debts on time.

    What is a DSCR Loan? DSCR Loan?

    Business owners are turning to DSCR loans because they focus primarily on their cash flow rather than traditional factors like credit history or collateral. A DSCR lets you know if you can afford that loan.

    Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

    Instead of needing a strong personal income, lenders assess the investment property's net operating income (NOI). The NOI is the income generated by the property after subtracting all operating expenses (excluding the mortgage payment).

    Lenders will calculate the Debt Service Coverage Ratio by dividing the NOI by the total debt service: monthly payment (principal and interest) plus any other existing debts on the property.

    A higher DSCR ratio (typically 1.25 or higher) indicates the property generates enough income to comfortably cover the loan payments and other expenses. This gives the lender confidence in your ability to repay the DSCR loan.

    Pros and Cons of DSCR Loans

    Before applying for DSCR loans, you need to assess the pros and cons.


    • Easier Qualification

      DSCR loans prioritize property income, potentially providing financing opportunities for those who couldn’t qualify for traditional loans based on their personal income alone.

    • Flexible Terms

      These loans may offer more flexibility in terms of loan terms or lower interest rates compared to other investment property loans. This gives you the option that suits your specific financial needs.


    • Higher Down Payment

      DSCR loans typically require a larger down payment than conventional loans, which can be challenging for borrowers with limited funds.

    • Stricter Property Requirements

      To qualify for a DSCR loan, the property must meet specific performance criteria, like a high Debt Service Coverage Ratio. This limits options for people who don’t meet these standards.

    DSCR Loan Requirements

    DSCR loan requirements may vary depending on the lender you’re working with, but here are some of the key requirements you need to know about:

    Minimum Debt Service Coverage Ratio

    This is the most crucial factor that lenders check, and it typically ranges from 1.15 to 1.25. It means that the property’s NOI should be at least 1.15 to 1.25 times greater than the total debt service (including principal and interest payments).

    Credit Score

    While not the primary focus, most lenders require a minimum credit score of 640 to 680. A higher score can qualify you for better interest rates and terms.

    Down Payment

    The down payment requirement varies depending on the lender and property type but usually ranges from 20% to 30%. Some lenders may offer lower down payment options for strong borrowers with experience in investment properties.


    Be prepared to submit various documents, including property appraisals, rental agreements, tax returns, personal financial statements, and proof of income.

    How to Get a DSCR Loan?

    Here’s how to get a DSCR loan:

    1. Find the Right Lender

    Start by researching lenders specializing in investment properties and inquire about their DSCR loan options. Compare interest rates, terms, and minimum requirements to find the best fit.

    2. Prepare Your Documents

    Gather essential documents like property appraisals, rental agreements, tax returns, and personal financial statements. The lender will use these to assess the property’s income potential and your overall financial health.

    3. Understand the Underwriting Process

    Familiarize yourself with the underwriting process, which is the lender's thorough evaluation of your loan application. This assessment considers factors like our creditworthiness, property value, and projected cash flow to determine the risk of lending to you.

    4. Approval and Closing

    Once your application is reviewed and approved, you’ll move toward closing. This involves finalizing loan terms, signing documents, and arranging the down payment. Be prepared for potential adjustments to the loan amount based on the final underwriting assessment.   

    The Bottom Line

    DSCR loans can be a valuable tool for real estate investors and businesses seeking financing for income-generating properties. However, it’s crucial to understand the specific requirements and potential drawbacks before considering this option. It’s best to consult with a financial advisor and research different lenders to make an informed decision. 

    About the Author

    Ezra Neiel Cabrera has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Entrepreneurial Marketing. Over the last 3 years, she has been writing business-centric articles to help small business owners grow and expand. Ezra mainly writes for SMB Compass, but you can find some of her work in All Business, Small Biz Daily, LaunchHouse, Marketing2Business, and Clutch, among others. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in bed eating cookies and binge-watching Netflix.