How does a bridge loan work?

Understanding How Bridge Loans Work in Real Estate Transactions

A bridge loan, a short-term financial solution, serves to bridge the gap between two major financial transactions, often used in real estate to facilitate the purchase of a new property before the sale of an existing one.

Here’s an overview of how bridge loans function:

Purpose of a Bridge Loan

Bridge loans address temporary financial gaps, allowing borrowers to buy a new property before selling their existing one, a common scenario for homeowners looking to upgrade or real estate investors seizing opportunities.

Bridge Loans Work in a Short-Term Nature:

These loans are inherently short-term, with terms typically ranging from a few months to a couple of years, offering interim funding during transitional phases.

Property Types:

Bridge loans adapt to various real estate types, including residential, commercial, and investment properties, making them versatile for different scenarios.

Higher Costs:

Bridge loans come with elevated interest rates and fees compared to traditional mortgages due to their perceived riskiness, given the short-term nature and temporary financial situation of borrowers.


Certain bridge loan arrangements may require cross-collateralization, where both the new and existing properties secure the loan, enhancing lender security which works in everyone’s favor.

Lower Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio:

Bridge loans typically feature lower LTV ratios than traditional mortgages, with lenders financing only a portion of the new property’s purchase price.

Repayment Strategies:

Repayment occurs when the borrower secures permanent financing, whether through selling their existing property, obtaining a traditional mortgage, or refinancing the bridge loan.

Bridge loans can work in various real estate scenarios:

  • Home Purchases: Buyers use them to acquire a new home before selling their current one, avoiding timing conflicts.
  • Real Estate Investments: Investors secure properties swiftly for market opportunities.
  • Commercial Real Estate: Businesses utilize bridge loans for property acquisition or renovation.

Pros and Cons:

Bridge loans enable seizing opportunities, supporting contingency-free offers, and facilitating real estate investments. However, they entail higher costs and the risk of carrying two mortgages.


A significant risk is the inability to secure permanent financing within the agreed timeframe, potentially leading to increased costs and foreclosure on the collateral property.

Eligibility and Approval:

Approval depends on factors such as creditworthiness, income, properties involved, and lender criteria. Bridge loans offer quicker approval than traditional mortgages, making them valuable for time-sensitive situations.

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