What Is Debt Service?Importance, Formulas, and Examples

what is debt service

You’re undoubtedly aware that your three-digit FICO® credit score is important when applying for a mortgage. Lenders will be hesitant to approve you for a mortgage if your credit score is too low. But did you know that another important financial aspect that will determine whether you qualify for a mortgage is your total debt service? Let’s all talk about the debt service and the DSCR and how to calculate it with the formula.

What is Debt Service?

Debt service refers to the total amount of money required by a business or individual to repay all debt commitments. Loan and bond interest and principal must be paid on schedule to service debt. Companies may be required to repay bonds, term loans, or working capital loans.

Lenders may compel organizations to maintain a debt service reserve account in particular instances (DSRA). The DSRA can serve as a safeguard for lenders, ensuring that the company’s future obligations are met. Individuals may be required to service obligations such as mortgages, credit card debt, or student loans. The ability of both firms and individuals to service debt will influence their future debt options.

How Debt Services Work

Creditors who fund organizations with debt, such as banks, lenders, and bondholders, will examine a company’s ability to cover all debt payments before lending further.

A “leveraged company” is one that uses debt instruments to finance its operations.

Total debt services is a measure of how much a firm relies on debt to finance its operations.

In other words, how heavily does a corporation rely on debt to acquire assets or maintain its operations?

If a corporation incurs debt to fund its operations, it must generate greater sales and profits in order to fulfill loan payments or “service” the debt on its balance sheet.

A company that is unable to enhance its overall profitability, on the other hand, will see its ability to pay off debt suffer, signaling to lenders that giving additional debt to this company may be dangerous.

Lenders may agree to grant debt financing to a firm if the company maintains a debt service reserve account (DSRA). This assures the lender that it will hold adequate funds on its books to assume future payment commitments.

Debt Servicing’s Importance

Any company effort requires funding. Borrowing money is a popular approach to secure such funds, but getting into debt is not always straightforward. Before extending a loan, the lender—whether a bank, lending institution, or investor—must have faith that the borrower will be able to repay it. As a result, debt servicing capacity is an important measure of a company’s trustworthiness.

A corporation with a strong credit score will have a favorable reputation among lenders. It will be critical for future endeavors that require further money. As a result, a finance manager must guarantee that a company’s debt servicing capabilities are maintained.

Individuals must also prioritize debt repayment by managing their personal budgets. They might improve their credit score by continuously servicing their bills. Finally, having a strong credit score will increase their chances of receiving a mortgage or vehicle loan, as well as boost their credit card limit.

How is Debt Service Determined?

The periodic interest and principal payments due on a loan are used to calculate debt service. This necessitates familiarity with the loan’s interest rate and payback timeline. Calculating debt services is necessary in order to determine the cash flow needed to cover payments. As a result, annual debt service can be calculated and compared to a company’s annual net operating income.

Examples in Practice

For example, suppose a corporation sells a bond with a face value of $500,000 and a 5% interest rate. Assume the corporation committed to pay interest at the end of each year and to repay the face amount of the bond after seven years. In this situation, the annual debt service for the first year will be as follows:

$500,000 x 0.05 = $25,000

The annual debt service will be equivalent to the end of the seventh year.

($500,000 x 0.05) + $500,000 = $525,000

In a second scenario, a corporation takes out a $250,000 loan at an interest rate of 8% for a five-year duration. Assume it’s an amortized loan with equal monthly principal payments. It indicates that the corporation will repay an equal amount of principal plus 8% interest on the outstanding principal each term.

It will have repaid all of the principal as well as the interest at the conclusion of the five-year period. If the payment conditions were one installment per year, the first year’s debt servicing would be $70,000. The debt servicing amount for the second year would be $66,000, then $62,000, $58,000, and finally $54,000 in the final year.

What Is Total Debt Service?

Total debt service is the percentage of your total annual income (earnings before taxes) that you need to make loan payments and cover your other yearly debts. It’s comparable to your debt-to-income ratio in that it examines how much of your income is devoured by debt obligations each month or year. If you have more debt, you’ll have to spend a higher percentage of your gross annual income to pay it off.

If you wish to borrow money, having a reduced total debt service can make lenders feel more sure that you can afford your new monthly loan payment.

Your total debt service is the amount of money required to fully repay your debt over a specified time period. You can compute your total debt service over a month, a year, or any other time period. Your total debt service should be sufficient to meet both the principal and interest payments on your loans and other debt commitments.

What Is the Relationship Between Total Debt Service and Mortgage?

When it comes to home loans, lenders are wary. They seek to ensure that borrowers can afford to make on-time monthly payments. This work is aided by debt service estimates. Lenders will be more hesitant to approve clients for a mortgage loan if their debts currently consume too much of their gross monthly income.

What Is the Debt-Service Coverage Ratio?

The debt-service coverage ratio calculates how much of your income is consumed by specific obligations. Mortgage lenders, for example, want to know how much of your income goes toward paying down your mortgage.

Lenders consider a wide range of expenses to constitute housing expenses. So, this covers your expected new mortgage payment, including principal and interest; property taxes; homeowners’ insurance; and, if you reside in a condominium, HOA fees.

Lenders will view you as a higher risk of missing mortgage payments if you spend too much of your income on housing bills. If you spend 50% of your salary on housing, you are considerably more likely to miss payments than if you spend only 20% of your income on similar costs.

Lenders are more likely to reject your mortgage loan application if a new mortgage payment will result in you spending too much of your income on housing costs. If lenders approve you for a loan and you spend too much of your income on housing, they’ll normally charge you a higher interest rate to offset some of the risks they’re taking by lending to you.

How to Apply the Debt Service Coverage Ratio

The debt service coverage ratio is calculated by dividing net operating income by total debt service, with net operating income referring to earnings made by a company’s typical business operations. Assume ABC Manufacturing manufactures furniture and profits from the sale of a warehouse. So, because the warehouse sale is rare, the income generated is non-operating income.

Assume that, in addition to the sale of the warehouse, ABC’s furniture sales generate $10 million in operating revenue. These earnings are factored into the computation of debt service. If ABC’s principal and interest payments due within a year total $2 million, the debt service coverage ratio is ($10 million income/$2 million debt service), or 5. According to the ratio, ABC has $8 million in earnings over the minimum debt service. This implies that the company can take on more debt.

How to Calculate Debt Service Coverage Ratio

It is quite easy to calculate your debt service coverage ratio. You only need to know two figures:

  • Net operating income: If you own a firm, your net operating income is your total income. If you’re looking for a personal loan, you’ll most likely refer to this as your gross yearly income or your annual income before taxes. This includes your monthly pay, any freelancing money you receive, rents you collect, legal judgments you’ve been granted, royalties you collect, and any other type of revenue you earn. If you want to buy a property for real estate investment, which is making money by buying, holding, and then selling residences for a profit, your net operating income is an important aspect of your capacity to purchase further properties.
  • The total debt service is the total amount of debt you pay each year. So, this includes your anticipated new mortgage payment, property taxes, credit card bills, auto loans, student loans, and any other monthly payments. Each year, businesses incur a broader spectrum of obligations. Their total debt service would include the money they pay out in salaries, corporate taxes, and other operating expenditures.

Divide your net operating income by your total debt service to get your debt service coverage ratio.

Debt Service Coverage Ratio Formula

The debt service coverage ratio is calculated using the following formula:

Annual Net Operating Income / Annual Debt Payments = DSCR

Debt Service Coverage Ratio Formula

Assume you want to buy a $225,000 property. If you put down $25,000, you will be left with a mortgage of $200,000. A 30-year, fixed-rate loan with a 3.25 percent interest rate would result in a monthly payment of around $1,345. This does not include property taxes or homeowners insurance.

Assume the property taxes on such residences are $6,000 per year. That would add $500 to your monthly debt payment. And if your annual homeowners’ insurance is $2,400, that would add another $200 to your monthly housing debt. Thus, the total will be $2,045 or $24,540 a year.

Assume you have a $300 monthly auto payment and a $300 monthly school loan payment in addition to your other debts. These two obligations would add $7,200 to your annual debt, bringing your total annual debt to $31,740.

If your total yearly income is $80,000, your debt-service coverage ratio is a little less than 40%. Because your total debt is less than 43 percent of your gross income, most lenders would be willing to approve you for this mortgage. And your total house debt –$24,540 per year –would be somewhat more than 30% of your annual salary.


Lenders only want to lend money to borrowers who can afford their monthly mortgage payments. That’s where debt service comes in: if you have too much debt in relation to your gross annual income, you may have difficulty convincing a lender to approve you for a mortgage loan.

Debt Service FAQs

What is an example of debt service?

If a person obtains a mortgage to purchase a home, a personal loan to purchase a car, and a consumer loan to purchase furniture, the debt service is the total amount the consumer is obliged to pay to cover the mortgage, automobile, and consumer loan installments.

What all is included in debt service?

It includes your anticipated new mortgage payment, property taxes, credit card bills, auto loans, student loans, and any other monthly payments. Each year, businesses incur a broader spectrum of obligations.

How do I get debt service?

Simply divide the net operating income (NOI) by the annual debt to determine the debt service coverage ratio. This example indicates that the property’s cash flow will cover the new commercial loan payment by 1.10x.

What is the purpose of a debt service fund?

Debt Service Funds track the buildup of resources as well as the payment of principal and interest on general long-term debts as well as payments on specific lease/purchase or other contractual obligations.

What is a debt services fee?

The cost of borrowing money that is related to the passage of time, the rate of interest, and the amount outstanding throughout the reporting period (fiscal year), plus any costs associated with such financing arrangements.

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