# The Key Debt Metrics That Make or Break Real Estate Deals π€π

### This blog post explores key debt metrics in real estate investment and their significance from both buyer and lender perspectives.

Real estate investment can be a lucrative venture, but it's essential to evaluate a property's financial health before jumping in. To accomplish this, both buyers and lenders rely on three primary debt metrics: Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR), Loan to Value (LTV), and Debt Yield (DY). Let's delve into each of these metrics and examine how they are perceived from the perspectives of both buyers and lenders.

### Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)

**Definition*: DSCR is a ratio that compares a property's Net Operating Income (NOI) to its debt service, encompassing both principal and interest payments.

***Formula:** DSCR = NOI / Debt Service

*Example*: Consider a property generating an annual NOI of $120,000 and incurring annual debt service costs of $80,000. In this case, DSCR would be calculated as follows: $120,000 / $80,000 = 1.5x, indicating a healthy DSCR.

**Buyer Perspective:** DSCR plays a pivotal role for buyers as it gauges whether the property's cash flow can adequately cover the debt obligations. Should the DSCR dip below 1x, it signifies that the property cannot meet its debt commitments, putting the buyer at risk of having to cover the shortfall, which is highly undesirable. A DSCR below 1x implies substantial risk, potentially resulting in losses beyond the initial investment.

**Lender Perspective:** Traditional banks usually seek a DSCR of at least 1.2x before extending a loan. They factor in the DSCR, including the principal payment, even during interest-only periods. If a buyer anticipates a DSCR below 1.2x, they may need to explore alternative lenders, such as bridge or hard money lenders, who specialize in transitional properties, or contemplate reducing leverage.

**Loan to Value (LTV)**

*Definition*: LTV represents the ratio of the total loan amount to the property's purchase price.

**Formula*: LTV = Total Loan Amount / Purchase Price

**Example*: If a property valued at $3 million has a $1.5 million loan, the LTV would be calculated as $1.5 million / $3 million = 50%.

**Buyer Perspective:** LTV assists buyers in evaluating the level of risk they are willing to assume. Greater leverage can amplify both returns and risks. LTVs below 50% are deemed conservative, 50% to 70% are considered moderate, and anything exceeding 70% is viewed as aggressive. However, this assessment assumes that the appraised value aligns with the purchase price, which may not always be the case.

**Lender Perspective:** Lenders employ LTV as a crucial factor in determining loan amounts. In prosperous times, traditional banks might extend loans up to 75% of the appraised value. Nonetheless, in recent times, lending constraints have been influenced more by DSCR than LTV. To secure higher leverage, buyers may need to explore bridge or hard money lenders.

**Debt Yield (DY)**

**Definition*: DY is the ratio of NOI to the total loan amount.

**Formula*: DY = NOI / Total Loan Amount

**Example*: If a property boasts an NOI of $150,000 and carries a total loan of $1.5 million, the DY would be calculated as $150,000 / $1.5 million = 10%.

**Buyer Perspective:** DY holds minimal significance for buyers, as it primarily concerns lenders.

**Lender Perspective:** For lenders, DY establishes the acceptable loan pricing in the market. For instance, if the DY stands at 10%, the maximum cap rate (rate of return) that the property can have is 10% for the lender to break even. A higher DY provides a wider safety margin. For example, a 12% DY implies that the property can be sold at a cap rate as high as 12% without the lender incurring losses.

In conclusion, comprehending these debt metrics is indispensable for anyone involved in real estate transactions. While the mathematics behind these metrics are straightforward, their correct application poses the real challenge. These metrics serve as vital tools for buyers and lenders to assess the financial health and associated risks of a property, ultimately guiding their investment decisions.