Investors Toolbox: DSCR

March 11, 2014


Depending on your strategy, the simple debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR) could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when taking a hard look at the financials of a property.


Defined: Debt-Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) is a ratio between the net income of the property and its total debt service (principal plus interest)


            Key 1: When you think DSCR, think cash flow when:


                        · Determining how much cash flow is available for paying the debt on a property

                        (i.e. For current property)


                        · Determining if another property can realistically manage the costs of its debt

                        (i.e. Tax Deferred 1031 Exchange)


                        · Determining how credit-worthy a lender would consider the property

                        (i.e. Choosing a new acquisition)


          Key 2: When calculating DSCR, first you need the following ingredients in your formula:


                       · Calculate the net income of the property


                       · Calculate the total debt service of the property, which includes principal + interest


          Key 3: Is the DSCR < or > 1?


                       · DSCR < 1 = negative cash flow


                       · DSCR = 1 is considered breakeven


                       · DSCR > 1 = positive cash flow


Let's look at some examples. 


Equation:      DSCR = Annual NOI/Total Debt Service {principal + interest}


Example 1: You, the investor, want to know if a new investment opportunity is in the black or in the red regarding the cash flow coverage of its loans.  The NOI is $500K, the  principal on the loan is  $450K and the interest is $100K.


                       DSCR = $500,000 / ($450K + $100K) = .91


With a DSCR of .91, this property is probably taking in less money than it pays out to its creditors. 


Example 2: You’ve gone to a commercial lender about securing a $500K loan to acquire a MHP with an NOI of $72,000.  The lender requires a minimum 1.20 DSCR for a property to be eligible for competitive financing. 


Commercial loan purchase price: $500,000

Interest rate: 10%

Term: Interest only

Annual payments (debt service): $50,000


                     DSCR =  $72,000 / $50,000 = 1.44


Cash flow generated by the MHP property will cover the new commercial loan payment by 1.44 times and exceeds this lender’s minimum DSCR  for competitive financing.








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