Getting a dscr Loan? Here Are the Key Requirements You Need to Know

A debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) loan, also known as a “no doc” loan, is a type of commercial real estate loan that does not require personal income or tax return documentation from the borrower. Instead, eligibility for a DSCR loan is based solely on the projected net operating income (NOI) of the property.

DSCR loans are designed for real estate investors who want to purchase or refinance investment properties like apartment buildings, retail centers, hotels, industrial properties, etc. The key advantage of a DSCR loan is that it allows the investor to qualify based on the property’s cash flow alone, without having to disclose or document their personal finances. This makes DSCR loans ideal for those with complex tax situations or who want to shield their income and assets.

The main downsides of DSCR loans are the higher interest rates and larger down payments required compared to conventional loans. DSCR lending guidelines also tend to be stricter in terms of property types, locations, and occupancy rates. While DSCR loans offer more flexible qualifying, they come with tighter lending standards and less favorable terms overall. Thorough due diligence is required to ensure the property generates sufficient NOI to meet DSCR requirements.

DSCR loans fill a niche for real estate investors who want non-recourse financing that does not depend on their personal income or credit. The trade-off is higher rates and costs, but for those focused on property cash flow, DSCR loans can provide the desired financing structure. As with any commercial loan, working with an experienced broker is key to navigate DSCR guidelines and secure favorable loan terms.

DSCR Loan Qualifications

DSCR loan requirements for borrowers to qualify. Here are the key qualifications:

Credit Score Requirements

  • Minimum credit score of 620. Many lenders require 650+
  • No recent bankruptcies or foreclosures
  • Limited late payments on credit accounts

Income Requirements

  • Sufficient rental income from the property to meet DSCR requirements
  • Personal income is generally not considered

Property Requirements

  • Commercial or residential rental property
  • Existing property or new construction/rehab
  • Minimum property value varies by lender, often $100K – $500K
  • Property must generate sufficient NOI to meet DSCR requirements
  • Property should be in good condition with proper zoning

The property itself is the primary basis for qualification, rather than the borrower’s credit score or income. As long as the property generates enough net operating income to meet the minimum DSCR threshold, borrowers can qualify even with lower personal credit scores.

Calculating DSCR

The debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) is a calculation used by lenders to assess the ability of a property to generate enough cash flow to cover its debt obligations. It compares the property’s net operating income to its total debt service.

The formula for calculating DSCR is:

DSCR = Net Operating Income / Total Debt Service


  • Net Operating Income (NOI) is the property’s gross annual income minus operating expenses and vacancy allowance. This is the amount of cash flow available to service debt.

  • Total Debt Service is the total annual loan payments consisting of principal and interest.

To calculate DSCR, you first determine the property’s NOI. Then divide NOI by the proposed total annual debt service. The higher the DSCR, the easier it is for the property to cover its debt payments.

Lenders want to see a DSCR of at least 1.0 or higher. This means the property generates enough income to fully cover its debt obligations. A DSCR of 1.2 would mean the property generates 20% more cash flow than required for debt service. The minimum acceptable DSCR varies by lender.

The DSCR helps lenders assess the risk of a loan. It ensures the property can produce sufficient income not just today, but over the entire loan term. Properties with higher DSCRs are considered less risky for lenders.

Minimum DSCR Requirements

Lenders usually require a minimum debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) of 1.20 or higher for commercial real estate loans. This means the property’s net operating income should be at least 20% greater than the proposed loan payment.

However, minimum DSCR requirements can vary significantly depending on factors like:

  • Loan type – Conventional bank loans typically require a higher DSCR of 1.25 or more. Smaller private lenders may accept a DSCR as low as 1.0 for bridge loans or other niche products.

  • Property type – Multi-family and industrial properties generally require a lower DSCR than hotels, retail, and office buildings. Minimums range from 1.15 to 1.30 based on property use.

  • Loan term – Loans with longer terms often require a higher DSCR to ensure the property can support payments over time. A 20-year loan may need a 1.30 DSCR versus 1.20 for a 5-year term.

  • Location – Properties in economically stable areas with diversified local economies can qualify for lower DSCRs than those in volatile or seasonal markets.

  • Borrower’s credit/experience – Stronger borrowers may obtain approvals at lower DSCRs than new or higher-risk applicants.

  • Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio – Higher leverage loans necessitate higher DSCRs to offset risk, while lower LTVs allow more flexibility on DSCR.

  • Additional collateral – Extra collateral like cash reserves or pledged assets may enable lenders to reduce DSCR requirements.

The minimum DSCR represents a critical threshold for approval. Borrowers should target ratios well above the minimum to ensure they can comfortably support loan payments across changing market conditions.

Max Loan Amounts

The maximum loan amount that can be borrowed with a DSCR loan depends primarily on the property’s net operating income (NOI) and the minimum DSCR requirement set by the lender. Lenders will calculate the NOI of the property based on rental income, vacancy rates, operating expenses, and other factors.

The maximum loan amount is determined by dividing the NOI by the minimum DSCR ratio. For example, if a property has a NOI of $100,000 per year and the lender requires a minimum 1.25 DSCR, the maximum loan amount would be $80,000 ($100,000 / 1.25 = $80,000).

Some key factors that influence the maximum loan amount include:

  • Higher NOI allows for a larger loan amount, as there is more income available to cover the required debt payments. Maximizing rental income and minimizing expenses improves NOI.

  • Lower minimum DSCR requirements set by the lender enable a larger loan amount. Some lenders may offer lower ratios for lower-risk projects.

  • Interest rates impact the debt service and payment amounts, which indirectly affect the maximum loan size. Lower rates equal lower payments.

  • Amortization term influences payment amounts, with longer terms reducing payments. Longer terms may allow for larger loan amounts.

  • Fees, prepayment penalties, and other costs can reduce the amount that gets disbursed for the actual property purchase or project.

  • Loan-to-value ratios may also restrict loan amounts, if the lender requires sufficient equity invested by the borrower.

Overall, working to optimize NOI while securing favorable DSCR and loan terms from the lender are key to maximizing the borrowing potential with a DSCR loan.

Interest Rates

Typical interest rates for DSCR loans can vary quite a bit depending on market conditions and the specifics of the deal. Generally speaking, interest rates tend to be higher than conventional mortgages since DSCR loans are considered riskier for lenders. Here are some key factors that influence DSCR loan interest rates:

  • The applicant’s credit score and financial history – Borrowers with higher credit scores and a strong history of repaying debts can qualify for lower rates. Those with poor credit will pay higher interest.

  • Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio – Loans with a lower LTV ratio (a smaller loan amount relative to the property’s value) are seen as less risky and may have lower rates. High LTV loans can have rates 1-2% higher.

  • Debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) – Loans with a higher DSCR (more net operating income relative to the debt) are less risky for lenders. A higher DSCR can potentially mean a lower rate.

  • Property type – Loans for property types considered higher risk like hotels, gas stations, etc may have interest rates 0.5-1% higher than multi-family or office buildings.

  • Loan term – Shorter loan terms often mean lower interest rates since the lender’s money is at risk for less time. Longer terms tend to have higher rates.

  • Loan size – Larger loans generally receive better interest rates than smaller loans, all else being equal.

  • Lending market – When money is cheaper and more available, rates tend to be lower. When funds are tight, rates increase.

In today’s market, DSCR loan interest rates often fall somewhere between 7-12% for qualified borrowers. Shopping around with multiple lenders can help secure the lowest available rate.


DSCR loans typically have shorter terms than conventional loans, often ranging from 1-5 years. The exact term length depends on several factors:

  • The property type – Loans for multifamily properties or commercial real estate may have longer terms of 5+ years, while single-family investment properties often max out at 1-3 years.

  • Loan amount – Smaller loans can have shorter terms, while larger loans may need a longer period to pay back the principal and interest.

  • Loan program – Some lenders offer DSCR loans with longer 7-10 year terms, but this is less common.

  • Exit strategy – Investors with a short-term flip strategy may opt for a 1 year term, while those planning to hold long-term prefer a longer term to keep payments low.

  • Cash flow – Properties with higher net operating income can support a faster repayment and shorter term compared to lower cash flowing assets.

  • Loan to value ratio – Loans with a lower LTV generally allow for shorter terms, as there is less risk for the lender. Higher LTV loans often need a longer term.

  • Credit profile – Borrowers with excellent credit may qualify for longer repayment periods. Those with poor credit tend to get shorter terms.

  • Interest rate – Shorter terms often have lower interest rates, while longer terms have higher rates.

So in summary, typical DSCR loan terms range from 1-5 years, with the exact length dependent on the loan details, property, exit strategy, and borrower profile. Investors should choose a term that aligns with their investment timeline and repayment capabilities.


DSCR loans typically have higher fees and costs compared to conventional loans. Here are some of the common fees to expect:

Origination Fee – This fee pays for processing the loan and can range from 1-5% of the loan amount. The higher the loan amount, the lower the origination fee percentage.

Legal Fees – There may be additional legal fees to create and review loan documents. Expect $1,000 – $5,000.

Appraisal Fee – The lender will require a third-party appraisal of the property, typically costing $300 – $3,000 depending on the property value.

Loan Assumption Fee – If the property is sold or transferred, the new owner will need to pay this fee to assume the loan, often 1% of the loan balance.

Prepayment Penalties – DSCR loans often have penalties if you pay off the loan early, such as 5% of the remaining balance within the first few years.

Higher Interest Rates – Interest rates are usually 0.5-3% higher than conventional loans.

Higher Down Payments – Expect to make a down payment of 20-30% of the property’s value.

Higher Debt Service Reserves – Lenders require reserves equal to 6-12 months of debt payments.

Annual Recertification – Income and expenses may need verified annually, costing $500+.

Make sure to discuss these fees with the lender to understand the true costs. Shop around between lenders to find the best rates and terms.


To apply and qualify for a DSCR loan, you’ll need to provide the following documentation:

  • Personal financial statements – Lenders will want to review your personal financial statements, including bank statements, tax returns, assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. This gives them an overall picture of your financial situation.

  • Business financial statements – For investment properties, lenders will require financial statements for the business that owns the property. This includes profit and loss statements, balance sheets, tax returns, bank statements, and an accounts receivable aging report.

  • Property documentation – You’ll need to provide documentation on the property securing the loan such as the address, photos, occupancy details, copies of leases, and rent rolls. For commercial properties, an appraisal may be required.

  • Purchase contract – If you’re acquiring a property, provide a copy of the purchase agreement.

  • Construction budget and plans – For construction or renovation projects, submit detailed budgets, timelines, permits, and plans.

  • Identification – Lenders will require a copy of your driver’s license or other government-issued ID.

  • Entity documents – If owning property under an LLC or corporation, submit formation documents and operating agreements.

Having organized records and financial statements will help demonstrate you are qualified to service the debt obligations of a DSCR loan. Be prepared to submit all required documentation in a timely manner. The loan process can be delayed if any key information is missing.

Alternatives to DSCR Loans

DSCR loans are a popular option for real estate investors, but they aren’t the only choice. Here are some alternatives to consider if DSCR loans don’t meet your needs:

Conventional Loans

Conventional loans typically require a higher down payment, often 20-25%, and look at personal income and credit scores rather than just the property’s rent roll. While qualification is stricter, conventional loans often have lower rates and allow you to purchase owner-occupied properties.

Hard Money Loans

Hard money loans are offered by private lenders and have less stringent requirements than conventional loans. Rates are higher but hard money loans can fund projects banks deem too risky. The loan-to-value ratio is usually around 60-70%.

Private Money Loans

Private money loans are similar to hard money loans but come from individuals rather than companies. An investor may offer better terms than hard money lenders to earn a good return. Strong relationships and trust are key when seeking private funding.


Real estate crowdfunding pools money from multiple investors. The platform vets deals, manages the process, and takes a cut. Crowdfunding offers more flexibility than traditional loans but requires sharing equity and profits.

Home Equity Loans

If you have significant equity built up in a property, a home equity loan or line of credit can provide funds for real estate investments. Rates are often lower than other options, but you put your home at risk as collateral.

Partnership Equity

Bringing on a partner to invest capital and share risk can reduce the loan amount needed. Make sure to properly structure the partnership and formalize equity shares before moving forward.

DSCR loans provide an excellent option for real estate investors to purchase or refinance investment property. But for those who don’t meet DSCR requirements or want more flexibility, alternative financing methods are available. Examining all options is key to finding the right funding mix.

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