Bridge Loans – From One Home to the Next

You’ve lived in your home for some time and circumstances such as an expanding family mean you need a new one. This brings up the subject of bridge loans.

From Here to There

You have two basic options when you are considering selling one home to move to another. The first option is to sell your home, make sure it closes and then find a new one. This is by far the safest option.

The second option is to buy and sell at the same time. Typically, you try to close on your sale around the time you close on the purchase. Theoretically, this allows you to move seamlessly from one home to the next. This is an option rife with potential problems. What happens if there are problems with the sale of your home such as escrow issues or the buyer failing to get a loan? Suddenly, you are looking at being the owner of two homes. Disaster has struck since you’re undoubtedly using proceeds from the sale of your old home to fund the new purchase. With no sale, you have no funds and sleepless nights follow.

Bridge loans are often touted as a solution for this problem. In theory, a lender will provide you with a loan to cover the gap in time between the sale and purchase of the two homes. While bridge loans do accomplish this, they should be considered a last resort for a few reasons.

First, bridge loans are obscenely expensive. You’re in a tight spot and the lender knows it. Points and interest rates are going to be shocking. The lender knows there is a higher chance you will default on the loan, so you can expect to pay for the risk up front.

The second problem with bridge loans concerns your old home. Inevitably, you will anticipate a fairly quick sale of your home, but what if it doesn’t happen? Suddenly, you are making payments on two homes. Few people can afford to make such payments and you can quickly run out of cash.

Financing a move from one home to a new one can be a tricky process. Make sure you put a lot of thought into it or you could be in for a very bad surprise.