What are Prepay Penalties?


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What are DSCR prepay penalties and how can you navigate them?

One of the normal things you’ll come across when looking at DSCR loans are prepay penalties. Understanding how they work (and the options you have) can help you make the best choices for your project.

What are DSCR Prepays?

If you’re working with a DSCR or a non-QM investor, you’re likely going to find lenders charging prepay penalties. 

Typically, if you want to exit the loan within a certain time period—often three to five years—they’ll charge an additional exit fee. This means that if you pay off your loan early, you could run into what’s called a hard prepay. 

Understanding the Cost of Prepay Penalties

Lenders don’t care about why you’re paying off your loan early. If you pay them in full, they’re going to charge the agreed upon fee (the prepay penalty). 

For example, if you have a $100K loan with a 3% prepay penalty, you would pay them 3% of the $100K on top of the principal and any interest or other fees owed.

While this can feel frustrating, these penalties actually allow these lending institutions to keep money flowing. Therefore, a prepay helps them keep interest rates stable by ensuring a consistent flow of capital.

Different Prepay Options for DSCR Loans

DSCR loans offer two standard prepay options: five-year or three-year periods. 

How does this connect to DSCR prepay penalties? 

During the initial five- or three-year period of your mortgage, you will be penalized for paying off your loan before the prepay period has elapsed. If you keep your loan past that benchmark, you will have no more prepay penalty. 

You typically will find two basic types of prepays:

  1. Straight Prepay: If you have a straight prepay, a lender may charge you a fixed percentage of the principal balance for each year, regardless of when you pay off the loan.

  2. Declining Prepay: A declining prepay is exactly what it sounds like. Each year, the prepay penalty decreases. For example, it may be 5% of the principal balance the first year, 4% the next, etc. until the prepay penalty disappears altogether.

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