What is a Bridge Loan?
Bridge loans are short-term mortgage loans that provide you with the down payment or necessary funds to buy another home before you sell your current home.
The timing of completing the sale of your existing home and buying another oftentimes can be a problem since you are unable to control the buyer's financing of your home. The sale of your current home may fall through or de delayed no matter how qualified your buyer is.
It is not all that uncommon and can cause you to lose out on the perfect home you're under contract to buy. With most homes for sale in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins receiving offers from multiple buyers you want to put in the best offer you can, whether it's a large down payment or an all-cash offer.
"A bridge loan is considered a very effective method to buy a new home before selling your present home."
How Does a Bridge Loan Work?
There are two ways a bridge loan can be arranged. The first method is to use it as a second mortgage in order to provide funds for your new home's down payment. For example, your current property is worth $700,000 and your current mortgage is $180,000, you need $200,000 down payment for the new home you're buying.
You may want to consider a bridge loan and pay it off with the profits once your current home is sold. The monthly payments can be paid as interest only rather than principal and interest payments.
The second scenario relies on the value of both homes. Instead of using only the value of your existing home, you are provided a bridge loan that covers both homes. The new bridge loan will be cross-collateralized onto both homes.
With this method you must qualify based on monthly income to pay for both house payments. Once your old home is sold, you pay off or pay down the bridge loan to 50% of the balance or refinance the new home from the bridge loan.
For example, your current property is worth $750,000 and your current mortgage is $100,00. You want to pay all cash for this new home. To do that, you need $850,000 in a couple weeks. The residential bridge lender will allocate $350,000 on your existing home and $500,000 on the new home worth $850,000.
Why do this?. Your all-cash offer beats out the other offers with financing contingencies.
Minimum loan amount: $200,000 (subject to change)
Maximum loan to value: 60-70
- If your income is low or you have high DTI, you can still be approved since it's based on your home's value
- less documentation to qualify
The drawbacks of bridge loans are:
- the higher borrowing cost and interest rates from 5.99%
- until your home sells you have to pay two mortgages
Bridge loans are structured and are agreed to be paid off within 6 to 12 months. If you do not repay the bridge loan after one year there are no extensions. The lender may start the foreclosure process. If you believe your area has slow sales it may be wise to look into some less costly and more stable alternatives.
Alternatives to a Bridge Loan
Cash Out Refinance
This approach may be the closest thing than to get to a actual bridge loan. The best way to make it work is:
- If your home isn't going to be sold quickly, refinance before you list it with a company
- Apply for a loan with the lowest interest rate
The loan amount requested needs to take some cash out for the down payment on the next home, and cover 3-6 months of mortgage payments. Your income will also have to qualify to use a cash-out refinance. The advantage of a cash out-refinance vs. a bridge loan is it's low cost.
Home Equity Loan
A large majority of lenders will not approve a loan for home that is listed for sale. This is especially true for a home equity loan or line of credit. That fact will almost certainly be noted on the appraisal.
Lenders created home equity loans and lines of credit to continue for 10 to 20 years, not six to twelve months. Nevertheless, before listing your home for sale you may want to pull out some of your home equity for the down payment.
You will need to qualify for the new home equity payment in the debt to income ratio (DTI) calculation by the underwriter. Keep in mind that your qualifying income must be able to support your existing mortgage, the home equity loan, and the mortgage on the next home your buying.
With a bridge loan, the qualifying income is not a factor. This is where the bridge loan's advantage really shines.