Debt Service Coverage Ratio: No-Income Mortgage Loan

Qualify for a home loan without using your tax returns with a DSCR loan program. As a real estate investor, you can avoid high rates and high points of private loans, lengthy approval processes, and strict lending criteria with a debt service coverage ratio loan, which is a type of no-income loan. Qualify for a loan based on your property’s cash flow, not your income.

Securing a debt service coverage ratio loan can help you expand your investment portfolio easier than ever before. Read on to learn more about what a DSCR loan is, how it works, and DSCR loan requirements.

What Is the Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)?

The debt service coverage ratio is a ratio of a property’s annual gross rental income and its annual mortgage debt, including principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and HOA (if applicable). Lenders use DSCR to analyze how much of a loan can be supported by the income coming from the property as well as to determine how much income coverage there will be at a specific loan amount. Lenders do not take into account expenses such as management, maintenance, utilities, vacancy rate, or repairs in the debt-service-coverage ratio calculation.

What Is a DSCR Loan?

A DSCR loan is a type of Non-QM loan for real estate investors. Lenders use a DSCR to help qualify real estate investors for a loan because it can easily determine the borrower’s ability to repay without verifying personal income. A DSCR can also make buying a house with low income more feasible. 

A DSCR loan is one of several types of home loans referred to as Non-QM loans. Non-QM loans provide potential borrowers with an alternative route to financing, which doesn’t require traditional income verification methods. A DSCR loan, in particular, makes it easier to show rental income that might not show up on your taxes due to deductions for legitimate business expenses.

A DSCR loan enables real estate investors to get a loan because it takes into account cash flow from investment properties rather than pay stubs or W-2s, which many investors do not typically have. Lenders use DSCR to evaluate a borrower’s ability to make monthly loan payments.

Deductions from properties may lower taxable income, making it hard for investors to prove their true income. Lenders use DSCR to determine whether someone can make loan repayments. Otherwise, many investors might struggle to meet the basic eligibility standards for real estate loans.

Since they don’t require pay stubs or tax returns showing minimum income levels, debt service coverage ratio loans are a great alternative for investors who claim many write-offs and business deductions.

How Does a DSCR Loan Work?

Because real estate investors write off expenses on their properties, some may not qualify for a conventional loan. The debt service coverage ratio loan allows these individuals to qualify more easily because they don’t require proof of income via tax returns or pay stubs that investors either don’t have or that don’t represent their true income due to write-offs and business deductions.

Real estate investors looking for home-buying tips should consider a DSCR loan because it’s ideal for properties you intend to rent out or otherwise turn into income-generating properties. From renting to a long-term tenant or operating a short-term rental business on Airbnb, there are many situations where a DSCR loan is a good option, especially if you don’t have W-2 income.

Some of the property types you can use a DSCR loan for include:

  • Single Family Residences (SFR), including single-family homes, condos, and townhomes.
  • Multifamily properties (2-10 Units).

Many real estate investors tend to use DSCR loans for rental income properties that allow them to open up new revenue streams. If you’re interested in purchasing or building a property and unsure about whether you can use a DSCR loan to do so, reach out to Griffin Funding. We can help you decide whether a DSCR loan is right for you.

Pros and Cons of DSCR Loans

As you determine whether a DSCR loan is right for you, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Below we go into more detail about the benefits of DSCR loans, as well as some of the drawbacks. 

Benefits of DSCR loans

DSCR loans are often easier to qualify for and offer a streamlined approval process because there’s no personal income or job history requirement. Advantages of DSCR loans include the following:

  • Accessibility: Your eligibility for a DSCR loan is determined by a single figure: your DSCR. Since lenders don’t consider personal finances, they’re more accessible to all types of borrowers, including novice and veteran investors.
  • Streamlined approval process: DSCR loans typically have a streamlined application and approval process, offering faster closing times than other types of investment loans. Since you don’t have to submit personal financial information, the application and underwriting process is straightforward, and approvals are typically much faster.
  • Unlimited cash-out: DSCR loans offer unlimited cash-out, which means you can continue taking out money when needed to cover expenses like repairs.
  • No limit on the number of properties: DSCR loans allow investors to purchase multiple properties simultaneously. With traditional loans, borrowers can’t purchase another property until they’ve paid off their existing debt. However, with DSCR loans, investors can purchase as many properties as they want to build their portfolios.
  • All types of rentals eligible: DSCR loans can be used for all types of rentals, such as short and long-term rentals and various properties, including single and multi-family homes. Additionally, you can use a DSCR loan for LLCs to purchase commercial properties for business purpose use.
  • Jumbo DSCR loans: Jumbo DSCR loans are ideal for real estate investors who focus on investing in high-end luxury properties. At Griffin Funding, we offer jumbo DSCR loans of up to $5,000,000. 

Cons of DSCR loans

Unfortunately, like all types of loans, DSCR loans have some risks and drawbacks that may not make them suitable for every borrower. The cons of DSCR loans include the following:

  • Large down payments: Most lenders require a large down payment of at least 20%, which may be higher than some conventional mortgages.
  • Higher interest rates: DSCR rates are typically higher because these loans are riskier investments for the lender. Additionally, the lender can require you to pay higher service fees; the higher your loan amount, the more those will cost.
  • Limited financing: DSCR loans offer amounts from $100,000 minimum to $5,000,000 maximum. If you’re purchasing multiple properties or an expensive property in an expensive market, these loans might not be right for you.
  • For rentals only: DSCR loans are for rental properties only, so they can’t be used for a primary residence or to fix and flip a home. Instead, you can only use a DSCR loan for a property that generates cash flow. If you plan to flip a home, you’ll need another type of mortgage loan.
  • Vacancies: It’s normal for rental properties to have vacancies every now and then. However, you’re not generating any cash flow if you have vacancies. Lenders don’t assess your ability to repay your mortgage if your property or units within the property are vacant, so you could end up getting deeper into debt if you’re not consistently generating cash flow.
  • Prepayment penalties: Most DSCR loans come with a prepayment penalty ranging anywhere from one to five years. You will get a lower interest rate in most cases if you opt for a prepayment penalty, however there are many different kinds of prepayment penalties so make sure to discuss the details with your loan officer.

DSCR Loan Requirements

DSCR loans have specific requirements that borrowers must meet to secure this type of loan. The key DSCR loan requirements include: 

  • DSCR as low as .75 accepted:  Typically, lenders require a minimum DSCR ratio, often around 1.25 to ensure that the property generates sufficient income to cover its debt obligations. However, Griffin Funding accepts DSCRs as low as .75. Griffin Funding will consider a no-ratio DSCR below .75 with a larger down payment.
  • Credit scores as low as 620: Borrowers’ credit histories and financial stability are evaluated, although credit requirements can vary depending on the lender and specific loan terms. 
  • Minimum loan amount of $100,000:  DSCR loans offer loan amounts ranging from $100,000 to $5,000,000, providing a flexible financing option for properties that range in cost. 
  • Appraisal: An appraisal is conducted to determine the property’s current market value and rental income.
  • Property type: DSCR loans can only be used for investment properties that generate rental income.

What Is a Good DSCR Ratio?

Many lenders will require a 1.25 DSCR to qualify for a DSCR mortgage loan. However, Griffin Funding allows real estate investors to qualify for a loan with a DSCR as low as .75 so that they can qualify with the cash flow of their property. Please note that interest rates are better on DSCR ratios of 1 or above and that a DSCR ratio of less than 1 requires 12 months of reserves. Real estate investors can increase the DSCR by choosing an interest-only loan and/or a 40yr term to maximize cash flow.

When considering what a good DSCR ratio is, lenders need to ensure that a borrower is able to pay back the loan.

Griffin Funding offers no-ratio DSCR loans below a .75 ratio with a larger down payment and excellent credit. It is possible to acquire negative cashflow investment properties if it makes financial sense.

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DSCR Formula Calculation

The debt service coverage ratio formula is the annual gross rental income divided by the debt obligations of the property.

Annual Gross Rental Income/Debt Obligations = Debt Service Coverage Ratio

  • To find your gross rental income, we take your annual rental income based on your lease agreement and the appraiser’s comparable rent schedule (form 1007) and use the lesser of the two. In some cases, if you can prove a twelve-month history of LTR or STR rental income, you can qualify off that rather than the appraiser’s market rent.
  • Next, you’ll need to find your annual debt. Your annual debt for loan qualification purposes equals the total annual principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and HOA (if applicable) payments. Annual Debt = Total Annual PITI payments.
  • Next, you’ll divide your annual gross rental income by your annual debt for your ratio. DSCR = Annual gross rental income/Annual Debt.

Please note that net operating income (NOI), capitalization rate (Cap Rate), cash on cash return (COCR), and return on investment (ROI) are not considered for DSCR mortgage loan qualifying purposes.

Example of Debt Service Coverage Ratio Calculation

A real estate investor might be looking at a property with a gross rental income of $50,000 and an annual debt of $40,000. When you divide $50,000 by $40,000, you get a DSCR of 1.25, which means that the property generates 25% more income than what is necessary to repay the loan. This also means that there is a positive cash flow in the lender’s eye.

Why Does DSCR Matter?

The debt service coverage ratio lets the lender know how to determine a borrower’s ability to pay off their DSCR mortgage. Lenders must forecast how much a real estate property can rent for so that they can predict a property’s rental value.

If you have a DSCR of less than 1.0, it means that a property has the potential for negative cash flow. DSCR loans can still be made on properties with less than a 1 ratio however they usually are purchase loans with home improvements, upgrades, or remodeling to be made to increase the monthly rent or for homes with high equity and potential for higher rents in the future. You also can potentially get the property above a 1.0 ratio with a DSCR interest-only loan.

How to Apply for a DSCR Loan

You need to find a bank with a robust DSCR loan program. Griffin Lending offers DSCR loans and has a history of qualifying borrowers at various income levels for small and large investment property loans.

Here’s an overview of how to apply for a DSCR loan with Griffin Funding:

  1. Fill out a loan application: Once you’ve chosen a reputable lender, it’s time to fill out a loan application. You can quickly apply for a DSCR loan through Griffin Funding using our online application, or you can call our office and have one of our Sr. Loan Officers fill out the application with you over the phone.
  2. Calculate your DSCR: Calculate the DSCR and fill out a rent schedule. The rent schedule validates the property’s fair market value, showing whether you can cover additional mortgage payments on a new property. Your DSCR will impact the interest rate that you qualify for. 
  3. Lock in your interest rate: After calculating your DSCR and reviewing your application, we will offer you an interest rate for your loan. You can lock in this interest rate as we proceed through the final steps of the loan approval process. 
  4. Get approved: Close the loan. You don’t need to bring proof of personal income or other information about your financial history. DSCR loan requirements are less stringent than traditional loans, making the closing go much faster.
  5. Loan is funded: Once the loan is approved, we will quickly fund it and deposit the loan amount into your account. 

Upon approval for our DSCR loan program, you’ll receive an estimate of the interest rate, closing costs, and monthly mortgage payments. Prepare to pay for an appraisal and undergo the underwriting process prior to signing the closing documents. The underwriting process includes credit report review, appraisal, rental income verification, title search, and a final underwriting decision.

DSCR No-Income Mortgage Loan Rates

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Where We Offer DSCR Loans

Apply for a Non-QM Investment Property Loan

Begin or continue building your real estate investment portfolio without the need for a hard money private loan. Our DSCR loans are an excellent mortgage option for new and seasoned investors to help you build your portfolio without mortgage challenges standing in your way.

Apply for a DSCR loan online today. Whether you are a first-time investor or an experienced investor investing in a long-term rental property or a short-term vacation rental, our DSCR loans have you covered.

Elevate your real estate investment game with DSCR loans and the Griffin Gold app. Gain complete financial control with a single dashboard that combines accounts, budgets, and more. Plan down payments, manage debt, gain a better understanding of mortgage statements, and explore specialized loan offerings like DSCR loans with Griffin Funding’s mortgage professionals.

Want to learn more about our non-QM loans before applying? Review the pros and cons of DSCR loans, Contact us online or call us at 855-698-1098 to speak to one of our experienced loan specialists.

Ready to apply for a loan? Contact us today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is a DSCR loan a hard money loan?

DSCR loans differ from hard money loans in several ways. DSCR loans tend to have lower down payment requirements and interest rates and are available at some local lenders, including Griffin Funding. Additionally, the loan terms are usually more favorable, which is a bonus if you need a longer loan term. Overall, DSCR loans tend to make a more attractive alternative to hard money loans for real estate investors.

What credit score is needed to get a DSCR loan?

DSCR loans do require decent credit scores. However, you can get a debt service coverage ratio loan with a score of 620 and above. Naturally, the higher your credit score, the better your interest rate and loan terms are likely to be.

What type of property can I purchase with a DSCR loan?

The DSCR loan makes it possible to buy income properties for either short-term or long-term rentals. You can even purchase a secondary residence if you can prove it will generate sufficient income.

For example, you can maximize rental income on a permanent residence through seasonal rentals and short-term stays. Listing the property on Airbnb, renting out rooms to long-term tenants, or renting out portions of the property for events are all ways to generate income to meet your debt service requirement.

Can I live in a home that I purchased with a DSCR loan?

No, DSCR loans are typically designed for investors and income-producing properties, not for primary residences. These loans are specifically structured to evaluate the property’s ability to generate income that can cover the debt service, making them more suitable for investment properties. If you’re looking to finance a primary residence, other mortgage options, such as traditional home loans, are better suited for that purpose.

What is the minimum down payment on a DSCR loan?

It is possible to get a DSCR loan with as low as a 20% down payment. However, if you want to minimize your total interest payments, consider making a higher down payment, resulting in a lower monthly payment.

What is the minimum loan amount on a DSCR loan?

The minimum loan amount for a DSCR loan starts at $100,000. Although our average DSCR loan amount is $350,616 we specialize in jumbo DSCR loans for real estate investors investing in high-end luxury investment properties.

Do DSCR loans allow for a temporary rate buydown?

Yes, you can use our temporary buydown calculator to determine your monthly payments on a 2-1 or a 1-0 buydown. Temporary buydowns are becoming increasingly popular among real estate investors acquiring investment properties.

Where is the best place to get a DSCR loan?

Not all financial institutions offer debt service coverage ratio loans. However, you can get a DSCR loan at numerous banks, private lenders, and credit unions. These lenders offer DSCR loans to buy investment homes and properties, construct new properties, or renovate properties you already own.

Griffin Funding is a top provider of DSCR loans with competitive terms and rates. We will take the time to get to know you during the discovery meeting, and our specialists will help you during every step of the application and approval process.

Why does a DSCR change over time?

The DSCR measures your ability to repay a mortgage loan at a given point in time. A higher ratio indicates more cash flow and a higher likelihood of repaying a new mortgage loan. However, if you take on new debt or the rental income on your existing properties increases or decreases, it can change your debt service coverage ratio for the better or worse.

As your real estate portfolio grows, you will have higher or lower cash flow at various times. This makes it important to time your application for a DSCR loan wisely.

Interest rates will also affect your ability to repay a new loan. Higher interest rates increase monthly expenses and lower DSCR. Alternatively, lower interest rates can increase the DSCR.

Who is the DSCR loan perfect for?

A DSCR loan is a good option for both novice and veteran real estate investors because it allows them to qualify based on rental income instead of personal income. If you’re new to real estate investing, a DSCR loan can help you get the financing you need for your first property, and if you’re a seasoned investor, it can help you get faster financing to help you grow your portfolio.

You can use a DSCR loan if you don’t have proof of income via traditional documentation such as W-2s, pay stubs, and tax returns. Additionally, investors who buy and hold rental properties often use DSCR loans to obtain funding for new investments.

However, keep in mind that no financing option is perfect. Since DSCR loans come with higher down payment requirements and interest rates, they’re not the ideal financing option for every investor.

Can I get a DSCR loan as a first-time investor?

Absolutely, DSCR loans are accessible to first-time investors. These loans provide an excellent opportunity for individuals looking to enter the world of real estate investing. They offer a flexible financing solution, especially for those who may not have an extensive investment portfolio.

If you’re a first-time investor interested in exploring the benefits of DSCR loans, reach out to Griffin Funding. Our experienced professionals can provide guidance, answer your questions,and help you determine whether this type of financing aligns with your investment goals and property aspirations. 

At Griffin Funding, we understand that every investor’s journey is unique, and our experts are dedicated to assisting you in making informed financial decisions. If you’re considering a DSCR loan as a first-time investor, don’t hesitate to connect with our team to learn more and discover how this financing option can help you kickstart your real estate investment venture. 

How can I find out more about DSCR loan requirements at Griffin Funding?

You can make an appointment with one of our loan specialists today to discuss any questions you may have regarding our DSCR loan program or any of our other loan types, such as VA loans or bank statement loans. We’ll do everything we can to smooth the way and help you gather the necessary information to apply for a debt service coverage ratio loan. You can either call us at 855-698-1098 or reach out to our team via our website for more information about DSCR loans and Non-QM loans in general.