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Bridge Loan

Category — Loans
By Konstantin Vasilev Member of the Board of Directors of Cbonds, Ph.D. in Economics
Updated April 18, 2023

What is a bridge loan?

A bridge loan is a short-term loan to bridge the gap between two larger financial transactions. In the US, bridge loans are often used in real estate transactions to help buyers obtain financing when they need it quickly. For example, if a homeowner is looking to sell their current home and buy a new one, a bridge loan can help them access the funds needed to purchase the new property before their current property has sold.

Bridge loans typically have a term of six months to a year and are secured by the property being purchased or sold. Because they are short-term loans, bridge loans typically have higher interest rates than traditional long-term loans. This higher interest rate is meant to compensate the lender for the risk of lending, such as a loan that may not be repaid in full or on time.

In order to obtain a bridge loan, the borrower must have a clear exit strategy, meaning a plan for repaying the loan in full at the end of its term. This exit strategy may involve selling the property being purchased or refinancing the loan with a traditional mortgage lender. Borrowers must also have strong credit scores and the ability to make payments on the loan during its term.

Overall, bridge loans can be useful for homebuyers and real estate investors looking to overcome short-term financing challenges. However, it’s important to understand the risks and costs associated with these loans and work with a lender who is reputable and experienced in offering such loans.

Bridge Loan

How does a bridge loan work?

A bridge loan is frequently used in the real estate market, where buyers may need to secure a loan quickly to purchase a new home before their current one is sold. In the US, bridge loans can be obtained from banks, private lenders, or even crowdfunding platforms.

The purpose of a bridge loan is to provide immediate access to funds that will be used to cover a down payment or other upfront costs. This type of loan is typically unsecured, meaning that there is no collateral required, and the lender may rely on the borrower’s credit history, income, and assets as evidence that they will be able to pay off the loan. However, some lenders may require a borrower to use their home, car, or other assets as collateral to secure the loan.

The terms of a bridge loan vary widely based on the lender and the borrower’s financial profile. Some lenders offer terms as brief as a few weeks, while others may extend the repayment period to a few months or even a year. The interest rate on a bridge loan may be higher than a traditional loan because of the increased risk assumed by the lender. However, borrowers should expect to pay some amount of fees and closing costs associated with the loan.

One of the primary advantages of a bridge loan is its speed and convenience. This type of financing is ideal for borrowers who need to move quickly to secure a new home or property and do not have the time or resources to pursue other financing options. Additionally, bridge loans can help borrowers who are struggling with cash flow issues, allowing them to cover upfront costs without having to drain their savings account or sell other assets.

Bridge loan example

A bridge loan, also known as interim financing, is a short-term loan that helps a borrower cover immediate expenses while they wait for long-term financing or more permanent funding. Usually, bridge loans are taken out by homeowners who are buying a new property before they sell their existing one.

In the US, bridge loans are most commonly used in the real estate industry. For instance, let’s say Mr. X wants to purchase a new home but hasn’t been able to sell his previous property yet. With a bridge loan, he can purchase the new home and then use the proceeds from the sale of the previous home to repay the loan once it is sold.

Bridge loans in the US can be both secured and unsecured. In most cases, they are secured by the borrower’s existing property. The loan amount generally varies from $50,000 to $200,000, and the loan term can be anywhere between a few weeks to a year.

The interest rates for bridge loans in the US are relatively high compared to other types of loans. They may start from 6% and go as high as 12%. The interest rates depend on a few factors, like the borrower’s credit score, the loan amount, and the loan-to-value ratio.

Bridge loans can be obtained through a variety of lenders. Banks, credit unions, and private lenders offer bridge loans to borrowers. The approval process is generally much faster than other types of loans since they are designed to be short-term solutions. The borrower needs to provide proof of income, a good credit history, and a plan for paying back the loan.

Pros and cons of bridge loans


  1. Quick and easy. Bridge loans are quick and easy to obtain since they have less stringent requirements compared to other loans.

  2. No restrictions. There are no restrictions on how you can use bridge loan money, making it more flexible than other types of loans.

  3. Helps secure a property. Bridge loans can help secure a property for purchase. This can be useful for those looking to buy a property but are still waiting for other funds to become available.

  4. Convenience. With bridge loans, there is no need to wait for other loans to process, as they are typically approved within a few days.

  5. Improves credit scores. Taking out a bridge loan and making timely repayments can help improve your credit score.


  1. Higher interest rates. Bridge loans typically carry higher interest rates than other loans.

  2. Short repayment periods. Repayment periods for bridge loans are relatively short, with terms of around six months to a year.

  3. High fees. Bridge loans come with high fees, including origination fees, administration fees, and appraisal fees.

  4. Limited availability. Bridge loans may not be applicable in all areas, and they can be challenging to find even when they are available.

  5. Risk of default. Since bridge loans are unsecured loans, they come with a higher risk of default. Failing to make repayments on time can result in the loss of the collateral used to secure the loan.

Typical bridge loan costs

Bridge loans are short-term financing options typically used by individuals, businesses, or investors to bridge gaps in cash flows, make quick investments, or purchase real estate. These loans are generally secured by collateral such as real estate or other assets.

The cost of a bridge loan varies depending on the lender, the borrower’s credit score, and the amount and terms of the loan. Generally, bridge loans are considered to be higher risk, which translates to higher interest rates and fees.

Typical bridge loan costs in the US include interest rates ranging from 6% to 12%, origination fees ranging from 1% to 2%, and appraisal fees ranging from $500 to $1,000. In addition to these costs, borrowers may also incur legal fees, escrow fees, and prepayment penalties.

The interest rate on the bridge loan is dependent on the lender’s assessment of the borrower’s creditworthiness and the overall risk associated with the loan. The interest rate for a bridge loan is typically higher than that of traditional loans, such as mortgages with private mortgage insurance, which reflect lower risk.

Origination fees are typically charged as a percentage of the loan amount and are meant to cover the lender’s administrative costs. These fees are often negotiable and vary between lenders.

Appraisal fees are incurred when the lender requires an appraisal of the property or assets that will serve as collateral for the loan. The cost of the appraisal is based on the type of property, location, and complexity of the appraisal report.

While bridge loans can be expensive, they can provide a valuable option for individuals and businesses in need of quick capital. These loans are often used as a way to finance real estate transactions or provide working capital for businesses in short-term need. It is important for borrowers to fully understand the costs associated with a bridge loan and to weigh them against the benefits of the loan.

Alternatives to a bridge loan

A bridge loan can be used to provide short-term financing typically required for real estate transactions. It is typically used when a buyer has not yet sold their current property but needs to finance the purchase of a new property.

However, there are alternatives to bridge loans in the US that can be used for short-term financing. These options include:

  1. Home equity lines of credit (HELOC). A home equity loan is a line of credit that is secured by the equity in a borrower’s home. It allows borrowers to draw funds as needed and only pay interest on the amount drawn. This can be a good option for borrowers with significant equity in their homes.

  2. Personal loan. Personal loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including short-term financing for real estate transactions. They typically have a fixed interest rate and term and can be obtained from banks, credit unions, or online lenders.

  3. 401(k) loan. Some 401(k) plans allow participants to borrow against their balances. This can be a viable option for those who have significant balances in their retirement accounts and can repay the loan within the required timeframe.

  4. Seller carry-back financing. In some cases, a seller may be willing to finance a portion of the purchase price of a property. This can be a good option for buyers who have difficulty obtaining traditional financing or who need short-term financing.

  5. Private lender loan. Private lenders can provide short-term financing for real estate transactions. These loans typically have higher interest rates and fees than traditional loans, but they can be obtained more quickly and with less strict qualification requirements.

While bridge loans are a viable option for short-term financing, there are several alternatives available in the US that should be considered depending on individual circumstances. It is important to carefully evaluate the terms and fees of each option before making a decision.


  • What is a bridge loan, and how does it work?

  • What are the cons of a bridge loan?

  • Are bridge loans hard to get?

  • How long is a bridge loan good for?

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