A Guide to DSCR Rates and Fees from UK Lenders


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dscr loan rates and fees guide

Key takeaways:

  • DSCR rates currently range from 7.5% to 8.82% depending on the lender
  • Expect origination fees around 0.5% to 1% of total loan amount
  • Minimum DSCR ratio is typically 1.20 to 1.25
  • Shop multiple lenders and negotiate discounts to get the best deal

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) loans are a unique type of financing specifically designed for real estate investors. With a DSCR loan, lenders evaluate borrowers based on the projected cash flow of the investment property itself, not the personal income or credit profile of the borrower.

This allows real estate investors to qualify for financing on additional rental properties, even with limited personal income and resources. However, DSCR loans typically come with higher interest rates and fees compared to conventional mortgages.

Let’s dive in and explore everything you need to know about obtaining DSCR rates and fees from lenders in the UK.

What is a DSCR Loan?

A DSCR loan is a type of financing used by real estate investors to purchase or refinance investment properties. The key characteristic of a DSCR loan is that underwriting is primarily based on the debt service coverage ratio of the property itself.

The debt service coverage ratio compares the property’s net operating income (rental income minus expenses) to the proposed mortgage payment. As long as the net operating income sufficiently exceeds the debt obligations, the investor can qualify for a DSCR loan.

These loans are available from banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, and private money lenders. They allow real estate investors to buy rental properties that generate positive cash flow, even with limited personal income or resources.

Who Are DSCR Loans For?

DSCR loans are designed for real estate investors who want to purchase or refinance investment properties based on the potential rental income of the property.

They are an attractive option for investors who:

  • Have limited income or insufficient income to qualify for a conventional mortgage
  • Want to purchase additional rental properties and expand their real estate portfolio
  • Prefer for underwriting to be based on the property itself rather than their personal finances
  • Own investment properties with significant positive cash flow

DSCR loans cater to those interested in real estate investing. They provide an alternative path to financing without requiring strong personal income, credit, or high net worth.

What Are Current DSCR Rates and Fees From UK Lenders?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of DSCR loans, let’s take a look at current rates and fees offered by lenders in the UK.

Interest Rates

Interest rates on DSCR loans are typically 1% to 2% higher than conventional mortgage rates. This premium compensates the lender for taking on additional risk.

Here are current DSCR interest rates from major UK lenders:

  • Lloyds Bank: Starting at 7.5%
  • Santander: Starting at 8.5%
  • Barclays: Starting at 8.25%
  • HSBC: Starting at 8%
  • NatWest: Starting at 8.82%

Rates can vary significantly depending on the lender, loan-to-value ratio, and additional fees. Comparing mortgage quotes from multiple lenders is essential to find the best rate.

Origination & Application Fees

In addition to higher interest rates, most lenders will charge an origination fee on a DSCR loan. This upfront fee is typically 0.5% to 1% of the total loan amount.

For example, on a £200,000 DSCR loan with a 1% origination fee, you would pay a £2,000 origination fee at closing.

Lenders may also charge an application fee, appraisal fee, or other processing fees. Expect total upfront fees of 1% to 3% of the loan amount.

Prepayment Penalties

Some lenders impose prepayment penalties if you pay off a DSCR loan early. This compensates the lender for the interest they will lose.

Typical prepayment penalties are 1% to 3% of the remaining loan balance if paid off in the first few years. Always ask lenders about any prepayment penalties before committing.

What DSCR Ratio is Required to Qualify?

The debt service coverage ratio is the key factor lenders evaluate when underwriting a DSCR loan. So what DSCR ratio is typically required to qualify?

Most lenders look for a minimum DSCR of 1.20 to 1.25. This means the property’s net operating income needs to be at least 125% of the proposed mortgage payment.

A lower DSCR ratio indicates higher risk. Some lenders may approve loans with a DSCR as low as 1.00, but rates and fees will be much less favorable.

Here is the formula to calculate DSCR:

Debt Service Coverage Ratio = (Annual Net Operating Income) / (Annual Debt Payment)

  • Net Operating Income = Gross Rental Income – Vacancy Factor – Operating Expenses
  • Annual Debt Payment = Principal & Interest on Mortgage Loan

Always consult your lender’s specific DSCR requirements. But in most cases, you will need a DSCR of 1.20 or higher to qualify for a DSCR loan at reasonable rates.

How Do DSCR Loans Compare to Other Financing Options?

DSCR loans offer a unique financing solution for real estate investors. But how do they compare to other options like conventional mortgages and hard money loans?

Conventional Mortgages

Conventional mortgages are underwritten based on the borrower’s personal income, assets, credit score and ability to repay – not the property’s cash flow.

Pros of conventional mortgages:

  • Typically have lower rates than DSCR loans
  • Wider selection of lenders and options

Cons of conventional mortgages:

  • Need strong personal finances to qualify
  • Limited by debt-to-income ratios based on your income
  • Not feasible for purchasing multiple investment properties

Hard Money Loans

Hard money loans are provided by private lenders and based on the property’s projected value.

Pros of hard money loans:

  • Fast funding and approvals
  • Alternative for those who can’t qualify for bank financing

Cons of hard money loans:

  • Very high interest rates, often 10% to 15%
  • Large origination fees up to 5%
  • Short repayment terms of 1 year or less

DSCR loans provide more favorable rates and terms compared to hard money loans. But hard money can be an option if you need funding quickly and can’t qualify for a DSCR loan.

What Are the Pros and Cons of DSCR Loans?

Now that we’ve compared DSCR loans to other financing options, let’s summarize the key pros and cons:

Pros of DSCR Loans

  • Purchase property based on cash flow, not personal income – Ideal for buying additional investment properties
  • Alternative if you don’t qualify for conventional mortgage – Still option if you have limited income or resources
  • Faster process than conventional loans – No need to document personal finances
  • Interest and expenses are deductible – Provides tax benefits for investment properties

Cons of DSCR Loans

  • Higher interest rates and fees – Typically 1% to 2% higher than conventional mortgage rates
  • Prepayment penalties – Fees if you pay off loan early, limits flexibility
  • Require significant cash flow and equity – Property must have strong DSCR to qualify
  • More difficult to obtain financing – Smaller pool of lenders offering DSCR loans

For real estate investors, the pros often outweigh the cons. But carefully weigh these factors when deciding if a DSCR loan aligns with your investment strategy and goals.

Tips for Obtaining the Best DSCR Rates and Fees

Here are a few key tips to ensure you get the best possible DSCR rates and fees from lenders:

  • Shop multiple lenders – Compare quotes from banks, credit unions, and private lenders
  • Ask about discounts – See if lender offers discounts for loyalty, autopay, etc.
  • Maximize your down payment – Put down 20% to 30% if possible to get better LTV
  • Highlight experience – Emphasize your real estate investing experience and successes
  • Get preapproved – Going through full preapproval shows you are a serious buyer
  • Lock your rate – Rates change frequently, lock rate once offer is accepted

Taking these steps will help you secure the most favorable interest rate and fees when financing investment property with a DSCR loan.

The Bottom Line

Debt service coverage ratio loans can be an excellent financing tool for real estate investors who want to purchase properties based on cash flow rather than conforming to strict conventional loan requirements.

While DSCR loans have higher rates and fees compared to conventional mortgages, they open the door to those with limited incomes looking to build an investment portfolio.


Hello! My name is Luna, and I am a freelancer in the finance niche. I have a passion for helping people understand their financial options and make informed decisions about their money. My website, DSCR Loan UK, serves as a resource for those looking for information on loans, budgeting, saving, investing, and more. I strive to provide practical and easy-to-understand advice that can help people make smart financial decisions.