How does a DSCR cash-out refinance loan work?

Rental properties are a fantastic way to build wealth and secure a steady stream of income. But what if you need to access some of the equity tied up in your investment? Traditional refinance options often focus on your personal income, which can be tricky for real estate investors whose tax returns might not reflect their full financial picture. This is where the DSCR cash-out refinance loan comes in.

DSCR Cash-Out Refinance Explained

A DSCR (Debt Service Coverage Ratio) cash-out refinance allows you to tap into the equity of your rental property by replacing your existing mortgage with a new one. The key difference? DSCR loans prioritize the property’s income-generating potential over your personal income for loan approval.

Here’s how it works:

Focus on Rental Income: Unlike conventional refinancing, DSCR loans base their decision on the property’s ability to cover the new loan payment. This is determined by calculating the Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR).

Calculating DSCR: The DSCR is a simple formula: Gross Rental Income (annual) divided by Annual Debt Service (including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance). Ideally, lenders look for a DSCR of 1.25 or higher, indicating the rental income comfortably covers the loan obligations.

Cashing Out Equity: Once the DSCR qualifies, you can access a portion of the built-up equity in your property. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio determines the maximum cash-out amount. LTV is calculated by dividing your new loan amount by the appraised value of the property. Common LTVs for DSCR cash-out refinances range from 65% to 80%.

Benefits of DSCR Cash-Out Refinance

DSCR cash-out refinances offer several advantages for real estate investors:

Unlock Equity: Access the cash tied up in your property for various purposes like renovations, paying down other debts, or even investing in another rental property (utilizing the BRRR method: Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance).

Qualify Without Tax Returns: DSCR loans primarily focus on the property’s income, making them ideal for investors whose tax returns might not reflect their full income due to depreciation deductions.

No Income Verification: Say goodbye to submitting pay stubs and W-2s. DSCR loans rely on the property’s performance, not your personal finances.

Flexible Use of Funds: The cashed-out amount can be used for various investment strategies, giving you greater control over your portfolio’s growth.

Things to Consider with DSCR Cash-Out Refinance

While DSCR loans offer attractive benefits, there are some crucial factors to keep in mind:

Higher Interest Rates: DSCR loans are typically considered non-conforming or alternative mortgages, which often come with higher interest rates compared to conventional loans.

Larger Down Payments: Lenders might require a larger down payment (20-40%) to offset the risk associated with DSCR loans.

Property Eligibility: Not all properties qualify for DSCR cash-out refinances. Lenders often have restrictions on property type, location, and minimum DSCR requirements.

Seasoning Requirements: Some lenders might require you to own the property for a specific period (6 months or more) before you can refinance with a DSCR loan.

Is a DSCR Cash-Out Refinance Right for You?

DSCR cash-out refinances can be a powerful tool for real estate investors looking to unlock equity and fuel their investment strategies. However, carefully weigh the pros and cons. Consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and the property’s performance. Here are some scenarios where a DSCR cash-out refinance might be a good fit:

You have a well-performing rental property with stable and predictable income.

You need capital for renovations or improvements to increase the property’s value and rent.

Your tax returns don’t accurately reflect your income due to depreciation deductions.

You’re looking to diversify your investment portfolio by acquiring another rental property (BRRR method).

Taking the Next Step

If you’re interested in exploring a DSCR cash-out refinance, here are some recommended steps:

Research Lenders: Shop around and compare rates and terms offered by different lenders specializing in DSCR loans.

Get Pre-Qualified: Talk to a lender to understand your eligibility and get an estimate of the maximum loan amount and potential cash-out based on your specific property.

Gather Documents: Be prepared to provide documentation related to the property, including lease agreements, rent rolls, and appraisals.

Work with a Real Estate Professional: Consider consulting a real estate agent or property manager who can help you understand the current market value and rental potential of your property.

Carefully Review Loan Terms: Don’t rush into any agreement. Thoroughly understand the loan terms, including interest rates, fees, and prepayment penalties before signing.


DSCR cash-out refinances offer real estate investors a unique opportunity to leverage the equity in their rental properties. By focusing on the property’s income-generating potential, these loans can unlock valuable capital and fuel your investment strategies. However, carefully assess your financial situation, property performance, and risk tolerance before deciding if a DSCR cash-out refinance is the right move for you. By doing your research, working with qualified professionals, and understanding the terms, you can make an informed decision that empowers you to achieve your real estate investment goals.