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What is Equity?

Once you have determined the net operating income (NOI), the next step is to calculate the equity needed for the transaction. Equity refers to the residual value of a property that remains after subtracting any outstanding debts or liens. This can be calculated by subtracting the total amount owed on the property from its current market value. It is usually presented as a percentage of the property’s overall value. This involves adding up all the closing costs associated with the purchase, including expenses such as legal fees, appraisal fees, environmental reports, engineering reports, brokerage fees, and other costs.

Typically, some investors estimate their closing costs to be around 3% of the purchase price, while others prefer to itemize each cost individually. This involves examining the expenses associated with the transaction, such as appraisal fees, environmental reports, legal fees, bank legal fees, and brokerage fees, and calculating each one separately to determine the exact equity needed for the purchase.

Do I Need to Consider Bank Fees and Other Miscellaneous Fees that I May Have Overlooked for the Closing Costs?

To determine the equity needed for the transaction, you first need to calculate the total capitalization. This involves adding the purchase price to the closing costs associated with the transaction. For example, if you’re buying a property for $1 million and assuming the closing costs to be $30,000, your total capitalization would be $1,030,000.

In addition, if you plan to do any value-add improvements, such as construction or renovations, you would need to factor in the amount of money you plan to invest in the property. For instance, if you plan to invest an additional $50,000 into the building, your total capitalization would be $1,080,000 ($1 million purchase price + $30,000 closing costs + $50,000 investment).

Total Capitalization

Total capitalization is a crucial factor when comparing properties and their potential profitability. When evaluating a property’s value or determining its appropriate purchase price, investors typically consider its cap rate, which is the ratio of net operating income (NOI) to the purchase price.

However, when a property has potential for value-add improvements, such as renovations or construction, investors may be willing to accept a lower cap rate or a lower return on their investment in exchange for the upside potential. This is where total capitalization comes into play, as it allows investors to compare apples to apples by factoring in all the costs associated with the transaction, including any investments into the property.

In addition to investing in improvements, another way to increase a property’s profitability is to raise the rents, which in turn boosts the net operating income (NOI). This can ultimately lead to a higher cap rate and a more lucrative investment.

Defining key terms such as total capitalization is important to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the investment. Total capitalization refers to the sum of the purchase price and all the associated closing costs required to complete the transaction. By accounting for these costs, investors can make more informed decisions about their investment strategy and accurately evaluate a property’s potential profitability.

How Much Equity Is Required?

Based on this information, the next step is to determine how much equity is required. To calculate the equity needed, subtract the loan amount from the total capitalization. The loan amount refers to the entire amount of financing you are receiving for the property, whether it’s a first mortgage, a first and second mortgage, a first and mezzanine mortgage, or preferred equity. All of these financing options will be combined to form your total loan amount.

In most cases, there is only one loan amount. For example, if I’m purchasing a building for $1 million and I’m taking out a loan of 75% which is $750,000, then my equity needed for this deal would be $330,000 to $250,000. This is to cover the purchase price of $1 million plus the closing costs of $80,000.

Sometimes, you may take out multiple loans, such as a first-position loan for $750,000 and a mezzanine loan or a second mortgage for $50,000. Simply add these two numbers together to get a total loan amount of $800,000. If you are buying a building for $1,000,000 plus $80,000 in closing costs, your total capitalization is $1,080,000. From this, subtract your loan amount of $800,000, leaving you with $280,000 in equity needed for the transaction. Knowing this amount upfront can be helpful when entering a deal.

Determining Your Return on Investment

Let me try to paraphrase it for you:

Now that you have figured out how much equity you need, it’s time to determine your return on investment. To do this, you need to understand the debt service coverage ratio (DSCR), which is the ratio of your available money to your debt service payments. The bank typically requires a DSCR of 25%, which means that after paying your debt service, you should have at least 25% of your income left over. This is also referred to as a 1.25x or 125% coverage. However, some lenders may require a higher or lower coverage ratio, such as a 1.35x or 1.15x coverage. In practical terms, you need to calculate your debt service payments to see if you can meet the required DSCR.

In order to determine your return on investment, you need to consider the equity you have and the mortgage costs. The debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) is a key factor to keep in mind. The lender will require a minimum DSCR for the loan, typically around 25%, meaning you need to have at least 25% of your NOI available to cover your mortgage payments. This is also referred to as a 1.25x or 125% coverage ratio. However, this can vary; sometimes, a lender may require a 135 or 115 coverage ratio. 

To calculate your mortgage payments, you need to consider the loan amount, interest rate, and amortization period. If you have a second mortgage with a different interest rate, you can use a blended interest rate to calculate your payments. It’s important to note that lenders typically underwrite a loan based on a scenario where there is no interest-only option, so your NOI needs to cover your mortgage payments, assuming a fully amortized loan. However, if you have an interest-only loan, your NOI must also cover those payments.

Interest-Only Loans

If a real estate transaction is structured as an interest-only loan, the borrower is only required to make payments on the interest portion of the loan, not the principal. In such cases, the borrower’s payments are lower, but the lender expects to be paid back in full at the end of the loan term. The lender may also require the borrower to have a certain net operating income (NOI) level to qualify for the loan.

If a borrower has a deal structured as an interest-only loan and is able to make the reduced payments, the lender may be more comfortable lending a larger amount, assuming the borrower has sufficient equity. However, the lender will still underwrite the deal first to ensure it meets the minimum requirements, including NOI. In some cases where there is significant upside potential, the lender may offer credit and allow the borrower to borrow more money at a later date based on increased NOI.

Overall, an interest-only loan may be a useful tool for a borrower looking to reduce their payments in the short term, but it is important to understand the terms and requirements of the loan. Borrowers must clearly understand the lender’s expectations and the potential risks associated with interest-only loans. Ultimately, having sufficient equity and generating strong NOI will increase the likelihood of being approved for a loan, whether it is structured as an interest-only loan or not.

The bank typically expects to receive payment over a fixed period, usually through a 25 or 30-year amortization plan. However, there are instances where the bank may allow for an interest-only payment plan. In such a case, the borrower would only pay the interest on the loan without having to make any principal payments. This means that the borrower would have a lower monthly payment than a traditional loan, as they are not paying the principal balance.

One question that arises in such a scenario is what happens when the loan matures. Does the borrower simply refinance the loan at that time? Additionally, some lenders may require the borrower to pay both interest and principal, while others may be satisfied with just the principal payments. It is important for borrowers to understand the terms of their loan agreement and what is required of them in terms of payments.

In an interest-only loan, the bank allows the borrower to only make interest payments without any requirement to pay down the principal balance. This can be beneficial for borrowers who may not have the cash flow to make full payments on a traditional loan. However, it is important to note that interest-only loans typically have a shorter repayment term, which means the borrower will eventually need to start paying down the principal.


Understanding equity is crucial for any property owner, whether it be a home or an investment property. It allows individuals to have a clear understanding of the current value of their property and how much of it truly belongs to them. This knowledge can be extremely beneficial when making decisions regarding refinancing, taking out a loan, or selling a property. By having a solid grasp on equity, property owners can make informed decisions that can positively impact their financial future. Overall, understanding equity is essential for anyone who wants to manage their property wisely and maximize its value.

We Can Help

If you’re a commercial real estate company, The GPARENCY CRE Marketplace platform can be beneficial during a recession because we provide a transparent and efficient way to manage and track commercial real estate investments. Our platform is the perfect commercial real estate network for investors.  

You can access real-time data and analytics, identify areas of potential risk, and make informed decisions about your investments. Additionally, the GPARENCY commercial real estate platform can help investors save time and reduce costs associated with managing their real estate investments, which can be especially important during times of economic uncertainty. 

Overall, the GPARENCY CRE commercial real estate network platform can help investors navigate the challenges of a recession and maximize their returns on commercial real estate investments.


  1. Can You Get a Home Equity Loan for More Than Your Existing Equity?
    • No, it is generally not possible to get a home equity loan for more than your existing equity. A home equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, is a type of loan that allows homeowners to borrow money against the equity they have built up in their home. Equity is the difference between the current market value of the home and the outstanding balance on any mortgage or other liens.
  2. Are there closing costs on home equity loans?
    • Yes, there are typically closing costs associated with home equity loans. These costs may vary depending on the lender and the specific terms of the loan, but they can include application fees, appraisal fees, title search and insurance fees, attorney fees, and other charges. The closing costs are usually a percentage of the loan amount, and they can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. It’s important to review the loan documents and understand all the fees associated with the loan before signing on the dotted line.


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