Debt Service Coverage Ratio Explained

As an investment property owner, it's essential to understand the financial metrics used to evaluate the performance of your property. One of the critical financial ratios that you should be familiar with is the Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR). In this article, we will explain what DSCR is, how it is calculated, and why it is crucial to your investment property's financial success.

What is Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)?

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) is a financial metric used to determine the cash flow available to cover debt obligations. It is a ratio that measures the property's ability to generate enough income to pay the debt service (principal and interest) on the property's outstanding debt. DSCR is commonly used by lenders and investors to evaluate an investment property's risk and determine the maximum loan amount the property can support.

Calculating Debt Service Coverage Ratio

In order to accurately calculate DSCR, you’ll need to understand the numbers being used in the formula.

Net Operating Income (NOI)

Net Operating Income (NOI) is calculated by subtracting the property's operating expenses from its gross operating income, which includes all rental income, parking fees, and any other sources of revenue generated by the property. The resulting NOI figure indicates the profitability of the property, independent of any financing costs or non-operating expenses like depreciation.

Debt Service

Debt service is the amount of interest and principal payments due annually on long-term debt. In short, it’s how much you owe for the year.

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) Formula

DSCR is calculated by dividing the net operating income (NOI) by the property's annual debt service. The formula is expressed as follows:

DSCR = Net Operating Income (NOI) / Annual Debt Service

For example, if an investment property generates $100,000 in NOI and has an annual debt service of $80,000, the DSCR would be 1.25. This means that the property generates 1.25 times the amount of income required to cover its debt obligations.


Uses for Debt Service Coverage Ratio

For Property Owners

DSCR is a critical metric for investment property owners because it provides a clear understanding of the property's ability to generate enough cash flow to cover its debt obligations.

A high DSCR indicates that the property generates sufficient cash flow to cover its debt service, reducing the risk of default. On the other hand, a low DSCR suggests that the property may struggle to meet its debt obligations, increasing the risk of default.

For Lenders

Lenders use DSCR to determine the maximum loan amount a property can support. A property with a high DSCR will be more attractive to lenders and investors, as it represents a lower risk of default. In contrast, a property with a low DSCR may struggle to secure financing or may only qualify for a smaller loan amount.

How to Improve Debt Service Coverage Ratio

To improve the DSCR of your investment property, you can take steps to increase its net operating income or decrease its annual debt service.

Increasing the property's rental income, reducing expenses, or refinancing the property's debt at a lower interest rate can all help to increase its NOI. Extending the loan term or negotiating a lower interest rate can reduce the property's annual debt service.


Professional Property Management Service in Utah

Property owners considering Debt Service Coverage Ratio or other investment property principles often get help optimizing their investment and avoiding headaches by working with a property management company like Joseph Thomas.

Contact our team for a discovery call to see how our Utah management services can help you meet your goals.