What Is a Bridge Loan Mortgage?

If you plan to move between homes, especially with little notice, a bridge loan could help you cover the costs. However, there are several things to understand about bridge loan mortgage programs that are explained in this article. Keep reading for all the details, and if you have questions, one of our bridge loan lenders can assist you.

When Is a Bridge Loan Mortgage Is a Smart Choice?

  • Have identified a new home in a seller’s market where properties sell rapidly.
  • Looking to buy a property, but the seller is unwilling to accept an offer contingent on the sale of your current home.
  • Lack the financial capacity for a down payment on the new property without selling your current home first.
  • Prefer to close on the purchase of a new home before completing the sale of your current residence.
  • Do not have a scheduled closing date for selling your current home before the closing on the new house.

Bridge Loan Breakdown

A bridge loan is sometimes referred to as a hard money loan. It is a short-term home loan intended to give you financing during a period of transition. For example, if you plan to move from one home to another and need help with the costs, a bridge loan may be appropriate. Bridge loan mortgages may be secured with your current residence as collateral, like a cash-out loan or second mortgage. But you may be able to put up some of your other assets as collateral. When speaking with bridge lenders, don’t forget to ask them if they offer 3rd mortgage opportunities.

How Much Do You Want to Borrow?


See Lenders for Terms and Conditions

When might you need a bridge loan? Suppose you are suddenly transferred in your job to another city. You might need a bridge loan to assist with the down payment or the cost of managing two mortgages until the first sells. Real estate investors also often use bridge loans or hard money loans to pay for rehab costs before flipping a property.

How Do Bridge Loans Work?

Bridge loans are often used when a home seller is in a financial crunch, and there are many types, conditions, and costs. For instance, you could use a bridge loan if you need to pull equity out of your home to put towards the down payment for a new home. Or, you could use the bridge loan to take out a larger mortgage for your new property. Other bridge loans can be used that use the home for collateral. Some bridge loans have interest-only or monthly payments. Others feature lump sum interest payments or upfront payments.

However, all bridge loans generally have these features:
• The loan usually is for six or 12 months that could be renewable. The loan is usually backed by the borrower’s current residence, but it could be backed by the new property if it’s an investment.
• Lenders will not usually give you a bridge loan unless you agree to finance the new property through the same lender.
• Interest rates are higher than conventional mortgages, usually from prime to prime plus 2%.
If you are eligible for a bridge loan, you could borrow a lot, such as hundreds of thousands or more than $1 million.

Most borrowers get bridge loans to pay for finances between buying a new home and selling their previous one. But they do not usually have protections if selling the old home doesn’t work out. In this case, it’s possible the lender could foreclose on your old home after the bridge loan extensions run out. Because of the risks, you should think carefully about whether a bridge loan is appropriate for your circumstances.

Example Of A Bridge Loan

Suppose you get a $70,000 bridge loan. Your current home is valued at $100,000 and there is a $50,000 balance on your home loan. Of the $70,000 for the bridge loan, you will put $50,000 toward the first mortgage, and $2,000 will cover the closing costs. Because of your bridge loan, you are left with $18,000 for the purchase of your new home.

When Should You Get A Bridge Loan?

Bridge financing is most common when the homeowner wants to purchase a new home before they sell the current property. The bridge loan could be a good move for you in these situations:
• You have located a new home, but the home seller won’t take a contingency offer dependent on selling your current home.
• You cannot pay for the down payment for the new home unless you sell your current residence.
• The closing date for the current home is after you settle to buy the new one.
• It is a seller’s market and you found a new home.
• You are a real estate investor and need a bridge loan to pay for rehab costs before selling the home on the retail market.

What Are The Requirements Of A Bridge Loan?

There are several possible requirements for a bridge loan:
• Bridge loan lenders have more flexibility than regular loan lenders, so you could get a bridge loan with a low credit score. Some lenders may allow a 500-credit score, but others may want a 640 or higher score. The loan will be backed in most cases by your current home.
• DTI ratio: Some lenders may allow a higher debt-to-income ratio up to 50%.
• Equity: If you get a traditional bridge loan, most lenders want at least 15% or 20% equity in your current residence.

How Do You Get A Bridge Loan?

You can apply for a bridge loan in the same way you apply for a traditional home loan. There is an application that you fill out on paper or online. Then, the lender will go over your qualifications, such as credit score, income, debt, DTI, etc. Most lenders only let you borrow up to 80% of the home’s current equity.
Bridge loans are not cheap; the closing costs can be several thousand dollars because of the higher risk. You also may have to pay 1-2% of the loan’s value, and there may be an origination fee.

What Is The Interest Rate For A Bridge Loan?

Yes, in most cases bridge loan rates are higher than traditional mortgage rates. If you want a bridge loan, you will pay a higher rate than for regular Fannie, Freddie, and FHA loans. Many bridge loan lenders base their rates on the prime rate and others may set their rate at 2% above prime rates. Bridge home loans have higher rates than traditional mortgages because they have a higher risk and offer short-term financing that gets money in your hands faster. Because of the fast turnaround, lenders will charge you more. We suggest shopping bridge loan rates from multiple lenders.

Downside of Bridge Loans

A bridge loan, usually more expensive than a traditional mortgage, provides buyers with the equity from their existing house to facilitate the purchase of a new home. Considerations before committing to a bridge loan mortgage:

Closing Costs: The expenses associated with buying and selling a home, coupled with the cost of a bridge loan, can be daunting. Despite the premium, the convenience and ease offered by a bridge loan justify the expense.

Typically, a fee of 2% of the bridge loan amount is charged. For instance, for a $300,000 bridge loan toward a new home purchase, the cost would be $6,000.
Interest rates for bridge loans are generally higher than those for traditional mortgages due to their short-term nature.

Qualification Challenges: Bridge Lenders assess your monthly payments to determine if you can afford both the mortgage for the new purchase and, if applicable, the payment on your departing residence. Qualification criteria may include the ability to cover both mortgage payments based on the lender’s guidelines, ensuring financial feasibility.

The amount of equity in your departing residence is also a crucial factor. If you owe more than 80% of its value, qualification may be challenging.
Before committing to a bridge loan, carefully review all costs and terms, considering the potential drawbacks outlined above. Consult with a trusted loan advisor for comprehensive guidance.

Takeaway on Bridge Loans

A bridge or hard money loan is a potential fit if you need short-term cash when you have a current property and are buying a new one. A bridge loan also may work for real estate investors who want to buy a new home, rehab, and flip it. Most bridge loans are for six to 12 months, but you may be able to get an extension from some lenders.

Bridge loans cost more than regular mortgages and have higher rates, and if you don’t pay, you could lose your collateral. If you are interested in a bridge loan, you should speak to one of our loan professionals today. We will find out your loan needs and recommend the best bridge loan or other loan product. We are ready to get your bridge loan deal done, so talk to us today!