Bridge loans are gaining in popularity. When a home buyer is buying another home before selling an existing home, two common ways to find the down payment for the move-up home is through financing either a bridge loan or a home equity loan (or home equity line of credit). Generally, a home equity loan is less expensive, but bridge loans contain more benefits for some borrowers. In addition, many lenders will not lend on a home equity loan if the home is on the market. Smart borrowers will compare the benefits between the two loans to determine which is a better fit for their particular situation and plan ahead before making an offer to purchase another home.
What Are Bridge Loans?Bridge loans are temporary loans that bridge the gap between the sales price of a new home and a home buyer's new mortgage, in the event the buyer's home has not yet sold. The bridge loan is secured to the buyer's existing home. The funds from the bridge loan are then used as a down payment on the move-up home.
How Do Bridge Loans Work?
Many lenders do not have set guidelines for FICO minimums nor debt-to-income ratios. Funding is guided by a more "make sense" underwriting approach. The piece of the puzzle that requires guidelines is the long-term financing obtained on the new home. Some lenders who make conforming loans exclude the bridge loan payment for qualifying purposes. This means the borrower is qualified to buy the move-up home by adding together the existing loan payment, if any, on the buyer's existing home to the new mortgage payment of the move-up home. The reasons many lenders qualify the buyer on two payments are because:
- Most buyers have an existing first mortgage on a present home.
- The buyer will likely close the move-up home purchase before selling an existing residence.
- For a short-term period, the buyer will own two homes.