In investment real estate financing, the Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) loan, also knows as an Investor Cash Flow Loan, has become an increasingly popular option for investors and property owners. DSCR loans offer a flexible and efficient financing option tailored specifically for real estate investors.

Image of DSCR Loan

What is a DSCR Loan?

A DSCR loan is a type of investment real estate loan that relies on the property's cash flow to qualify for financing, rather than the borrower's personal income. The DSCR is a financial ratio that measures a property's ability to generate enough income to cover its debt obligations. It is calculated by dividing the property's annual net operating income (NOI) by its annual debt service (loan payments).

DSCR = Annual Gross Income / Annual Debt Service

Lenders typically require a minimum DSCR of 1.00, meaning the property must generate at least as much income as its annual debt service. A DSCR of 1.0 indicates that the property generates enough income to cover its debt obligations. A ratio above 1.0 signifies that the property generates surplus income, providing a cushion for the borrower. Conversely, a DSCR below 1.0 suggests that the property does not generate enough income to cover its debt obligations, posing a higher risk to the lender.

Eligibility Criteria for DSCR Loans

To qualify for a DSCR loan, a property must meet certain criteria:

  • Property type: DSCR loans are typically available for a wide range of properties, including single family homes, multi-family homes, condominiums and commercial properties.
  • Minimum DSCR: Lenders generally require a minimum DSCR of 1.00. However, some lenders may have higher or lower requirements depending on the property type and market conditions.
  • Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio: DSCR loans often allow for higher LTV ratios than traditional loans, with some lenders offering up to 80% LTV.
  • Property condition: The property must be in good condition and well-maintained to qualify for a DSCR loan.

How to Calculate DSCR

To determine if your property qualifies for a DSCR loan, you'll need to calculate its DSCR. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  • Determine your property's gross monthly income: This includes all rent and any other revenue generated by the property.
  • Calculate your monthly property expenses: This includes your mortgage payment, property taxes and insurance.
  • Divide your gross monthly income by your monthly property expenses to calculate your DSCR.

How to Qualify for a DSCR Loan

The application process for DSCR loans involves several key steps:

  • Prequalification: The borrower provides basic information about the property and their financial situation to determine initial eligibility.
  • Documentation: The borrower submits detailed documentation, including property leases, property income and expense reports and other relevant documents.
  • Property Appraisal: An appraisal is conducted to determine the property's market value and income-generating potential.
  • DSCR Calculation: The lender calculates the DSCR based on the property's expenses and total debt service.
  • Loan Approval and Closing: The lender evaluates the DSCR and other factors to approve or deny the loan application. If approved, the borrower will sign all of the final loan documents and close on the property.

DSCR Loan Terms and Conditions

DSCR loans come with specific terms and conditions, including:

  • Loan Amount: The maximum loan amount is determined based on the property's DSCR and market value.
  • Interest Rates: DSCR loans typically have competitive interest rates, which can be fixed or variable.
  • Loan Term: The loan term can range from 5 to 30 years, depending on the lender and property type.
  • Repayment Schedule: The repayment schedule is usually structured with regular monthly payments, including principal and interest.
  • Prepayment Penalties: Some DSCR loans may have prepayment penalties if the borrower pays off the loan before the term ends.

Benefits of DSCR Loans

DSCR loans offer several benefits to borrowers and investors:

  • Easier Qualification Process: One of the most significant advantages of DSCR loans is the easier qualification process. Unlike traditional loans that require extensive documentation of personal income, employment history, and tax returns, DSCR loans focus solely on the property's income. This makes them particularly attractive for self-employed individuals and investors with complex financial situations.
  • Less Documentation: With DSCR loans, there is no need to provide personal income verification, employment checks, or extensive financial documentation. This streamlined process saves time and effort, allowing investors to focus on finding profitable properties.
  • Faster Approval and Closing: The reduced documentation requirements and streamlined approval process mean that DSCR loans can be approved and closed much faster than traditional loans. This is a significant advantage for investors looking to seize opportunities quickly.
  • Flexibility in Property Types: DSCR loans can be used for a wide variety of property types, including single-family homes, multi-family units, commercial properties, and even short-term rentals like Airbnb. This flexibility allows investors to diversify their portfolios and explore different investment opportunities.
  • No Limit on the Number of Properties: Unlike traditional loans that often limit the number of properties an investor can finance, DSCR loans typically have no such restrictions. This allows investors to expand their portfolios rapidly and take advantage of multiple investment opportunities simultaneously.
  • Potential for Higher Loan Amounts: DSCR loans often allow for higher loan amounts compared to traditional loans. This is particularly beneficial for investors looking to finance high-value properties or multiple properties at once.

Drawbacks of DSCR Loans

DSCR Loans have some drawbacks to consider:

  • Higher Interest Rates: One of the main drawbacks of DSCR loans is that they often come with higher interest rates compared to traditional loans. This is because they are considered higher risk due to the focus on property income rather than personal income.
  • Larger Down Payments: DSCR loans typically require larger down payments, usually ranging from 20% to 30% of the property's purchase price. This can be a significant barrier for some investors, especially those just starting out.
  • Prepayment Penalties: Many DSCR loans come with prepayment penalties, meaning that if you pay off the loan early, you may incur additional fees. This can be a disadvantage for investors who plan to refinance or sell the property before the loan term ends.

Alpine Mortgage offers DSCR loans in the following states: California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Choosing the Right DSCR Loan Lender

When seeking a DSCR loan for your real estate investment, it's crucial to choose the right lender. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Experience with DSCR loans: Look for a lender with a proven track record of successfully originating and servicing DSCR loans. Experienced lenders will have a deep understanding of the unique requirements and challenges associated with these loans.
  • Loan terms and rates: Compare loan terms and interest rates from multiple lenders to ensure you're getting the best deal. Pay attention to factors such as loan-to-value ratios, amortization periods, and prepayment penalties.
  • Flexibility and customization: Every real estate investment is unique, so it's essential to find a lender who can tailor their loan products to your specific needs. Look for lenders who offer flexibility in loan structures and repayment options.
  • Customer service and support: Choose a lender who is responsive, communicative, and dedicated to helping you succeed. A strong customer service team can make the loan process smoother and less stressful.
  • Reputation and reviews: Research potential lenders online and read reviews from past clients. Look for lenders with a solid reputation for integrity, reliability, and customer satisfaction.

At Alpine Mortgage, we pride ourselves on being a top choice for DSCR loans. Our experienced team of investment real estate financing experts is dedicated to helping investors like you find the right loan solutions for your unique needs. We offer competitive rates, flexible terms, and exceptional customer service, making us the ideal partner for your DSCR loan needs.

DSCR loans offer a powerful financing tool for real estate investors looking to expand their portfolios and maximize their returns. By focusing on the property's cash flow rather than the borrower's personal financials, DSCR loans can provide easier qualification, higher leverage, and faster closing times. As with any financial decision, it's essential to work with a trusted lending partner who can help you navigate the process and find the best solution for your investment goals.

Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting out, our team is here to help you unlock the power of DSCR loans and achieve your financial objectives. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your portfolio and reach new heights in your investment journey. We offer DSCR loans in the following states: California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Call us today at (800) 876-5626 to speak with one of our DSCR loan specialists or click here to have one of our DSCR loan specialists contact you. 

If you are interested in applying for a DSCR loan, you can apply online now.


The interest rate for DSCR depends on the type of property, the amount of the down payment and the loan term. For a customized DSCR loan rate quote, please contact us.

Yes, a 30 year fixed loan term is the most common for our DSCR loans.

The 1% rule states that a property should rent for at least 1% of its total upfront cost each month to be considered a good investment. This cost includes the purchase price plus any initial repairs or renovations needed to make the property rentable.For example: If you purchase a property for $100,000 and spend an additional $20,000 on renovations, the total cost is $120,000. According to the 1% rule, the property should rent for at least $1,200 per month. This rule helps investors quickly determine whether a property can generate enough rental income to justify its cost and cover expenses like mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance.

The most profitable rental properties are typically those located in high-demand areas such as city centers, near major employment hubs, universities, or tourist attractions. Multi-family residences like apartment buildings often offer higher profitability due to their ability to generate multiple streams of rental income from a single property. Additionally, properties in areas with strong population growth, stable or increasing job markets, and potential for property appreciation tend to be more profitable. Short-term rental properties in popular vacation destinations can also yield high returns, especially when managed efficiently and marketed well.

Yes, our DSCR loans can go down to a 580 credit score.