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What is a Bridging Loan?

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What is a bridging loan, and why might you need one? Here’s everything you need to know.

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What is a Bridging Loan?

A bridging loan or ‘bridge loan’ is a type of short-term finance. The loan will need to be secured on something you own, such as a property or land.

This type of borrowing is typically used if you want to buy a new home before selling your old one. The bridging loan ‘bridges the gap’ between your sale and purchase.

You can usually borrow a minimum of £5,000 on a bridging loan, and up to £10m (sometimes more). Exactly how much you can borrow will depend on the value of the property you put up as security.

Why do I need a bridging loan?

Typical reasons for needing a bridging loan include:

What is a bridging loan exit plan?

When you take out a bridging loan you will usually need to have a plan as to how you will pay it off. Bridging finance tends to be quite expensive so if you don’t repay the debt quickly the costs can really add up.

An exit plan or ‘exit strategy’ is the method by which you will pay back the loan. Some bridging loans require you to have an exit plan when you take out the loan. 

Common exit strategies include:

  • Selling a property you currently own
  • Refinancing to a traditional or buy-to-let mortgage
  • Selling a business or business asset
  • Money from an inheritance or divorce

Types of bridging loan

There are two main types of bridging loan:

  • Open bridging loan
  • Closed bridging loan

Open bridging loans don’t have a fixed repayment date although you’ll usually need to pay off the debt within a year. Due to their flexibility, open bridging loans are quick to set up but are usually more expensive than closed bridging loans.

Closed bridging loans require you to have an exit plan at the outset. Closed bridging loans are usually for a few weeks or months. 

First and second charge bridging loans

Bridging loans are secured loans, with a property you own put up as a security. The lender will place a ‘charge’ on your property. This is a legal agreement which means the lender can pursue the sale of your property if you fail to pay the loan as agreed. First and second charge loans denote the order in which lenders will be paid. 

If you own your property outright, the bridging loan will be a first charge loan. If you have a mortgage on your property, the bridging loan will be a second charge loan. In the event that you don’t pay your debts and your property is sold, the mortgage lender will be paid first, and the bridging lender will be paid second. 

How much does a bridging loan cost?

Bridging loans can be quite expensive compared to mortgages and other loans. Interest rates can be fixed or variable. 

You’ll normally have to pay a set-up fee of about 2% of the loan amount. There might also be valuation fees, legal fees and broker fees.

Interest rates are expressed monthly, rather than annually, as most people take out bridging loans for a few weeks or months, not years. 

Interest is typically 0.5% to 1.5% per month. When calculated as an annual percentage rate (APR) this equates to between 6% and 20%. Mainstream mortgages can be as low as 1% and rarely higher than 5 or 6% – so bridging finance is comparatively expensive. 

Pros of bridging loans

  • The money will be transferred to your account quickly
  • You can borrow a large sum of money
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Bridging finance can often prevent a property buying chain collapsing

Cons of bridging loans

  • You risk losing your home if you can’t repay the debt
  • Interest rates and fees can be very high
  • A personal loan might be cheaper

How to get a bridging loan

Bridging loans are usually offered by specialist bridging lenders. You can go directly to a lender or via a broker who can help you find the best deal. You can also compare bridging loans online.

If you buy a property at an auction, there will often be bridging lenders present in the auction house and you can arrange same-day finance. 

We can connect you with an award-winning loan provider. Get a loan quote below. 

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Last Updated: October 7th, 2021