Bridging loans are short term loans extended to individuals who have to pay their debt soon but haven’t had access to their main line of credit yet. Bridging loans ‘bridge’ the gap that exists when you have pressing cash needs that must be attended to immediately but you still have to wait for your main line of credit to become available.
Bridging loans are popular in real estate investments. They resemble payday loans but in a real estate context. The loans usually facilitate property purchases that wouldn’t normally be possible. In today’s world of downsizing and upgrading homes, the chances of finding your next home before you clear your current mortgage loan is very high. In such a case, a bridging loan will be perfect for you.
Bridging loans are short term loans like payday loans. However, they are larger. The loans are also high-interest. Bridging loans are typically meant to help you buy new property while you are waiting to sell/receive proceeds from the sale of existing property. The loans are also used to help individuals planning to sell their property/home quickly after renovating. Bridging loans are also ideal for individuals planning to buy property at an auction.
How do bridging loans work?
The loan amount you receive is usually dictated by the equity you have in your existing property. Interest is usually calculated on a short term basis i.e. on the term of the loan which is usually less than a year. Your credit rating or credit score is also considered when calculating interest. Banks also consider other normal lending criteria. Borrowers are expected to make their repayments normally until the property in question is sold. Bridging loans also attract new property purchase costs such as legal fees and stamp duty.
When are bridging loans good for you?
Bridging loans are great options for property investments that require large sums of money in a short time. In such instances, traditional forms of financing aren’t suitable because they take too long to process. Banks take long to process mortgage loan applications. In cases where you need to buy property from an auction, it might not be possible to secure financing in time if you apply for a typical mortgage loan.
Some borrowers also use bridging loans today as simple alternatives to mainstream lending. If you home has some equity, you can always get a bridging loan to take care of some pressing cash needs. It is, however, advisable to think about all your options before using a bridging loan as an alternative to mainstream lending. Bridging loans are perfect when you have a clear exit strategy i.e. an ongoing property sale that is about to be concluded. A bridging loan will also be perfect for you when you intend to use it for property investment purposes only i.e. when you want to a buy-to-let mortgage.
You should also consider taking a bridging loan when you are sure you can get access to a mortgage loan with a mainstream lender. This is important since it eliminates the risk of losing your home/property in case you are unable to meet your repayment obligations. In simpler terms, you shouldn’t take a bridging loan if you can’t qualify for a typical mortgage loan. The FCA has raised concerns about financial advisers recommending bridging loans too quickly. This can be attributed to the high-risk and high-interest aspect of such loans. Ideally, you should tread carefully if you haven’t taken on a bridging loan before. Besides the high-risk and high-interest aspect, bridging loans also tend to attract hefty fees and some hidden charges as well which could easily render the loan unmanageable.
In a nutshell, a bridging loan shouldn’t be viewed as a suitable alternative to traditional lending. Short term loans like payday loans are better alternatives since there are lenders that offer high borrowing limits capable of catering for substantial cash needs.
Getting a bridging loan
There are many bridging lenders in the UK ranging from small one-man bands to professional outfits regulated by the FCA. When taking out a bridging loan, stick to lenders who are regulated by the FCA since such lenders are bound legally to recommend bridging loans when they are appropriate for you.