A bridge loan is a type of loan that uses equity in your current home to finance the purchase of a new home. Like nearly any loan, a bridge loan has interest and is paid off in installments. Unlike a traditional loan, though, the balance is paid off when your current home is sold. While you don’t technically need to sell your current home to pay off a bridge loan, it’s most useful in situations in which you want to both buy and sell.
Some seller-buyers will sell first, then use the sale proceeds to purchase a new home. However, this comes with potential uncertainties about how long you will be left without a home, especially if you make offers and aren’t successful. You may be staying in hotels or renting for longer than anticipated. Another option is to buy a home first using a traditional loan, then sell. If bridge loans weren’t a thing, there wouldn’t be anything inherently wrong with this. But they are a thing, and this is exactly the situation they’re designed for. While bridge loans do come with a higher interest rate than traditional loans, the length of the loan is typically much shorter. After all, most traditional loans are 15 or 30 years, and no one is going to be waiting that long for a sale to finalize. One caveat of bridge loans is that since they are based on the equity in your current home, if your equity is low, the loan amount will also be low.