Are Bridging Loans a Good Idea? Exploring the Pros and Cons

By Georgia Galloway | Wednesday 9th August 2023 | 6 minute read

Are Bridging Loans a good idea? The world of property finance is complex and often daunting. Understanding your finance options, such as bridging loans, is vital to making informed decisions that align with your goals.

Bridging loans are short-term funding options designed to bridge gaps in financing - but are they the right choice for you?

As so often is the case with financial matters, it depends.

But under the right circumstances, they can absolutely be the right choice.

Let's delve deeper into their pros and cons so you can decide confidently.

Whether it's securing an ideal property quickly before selling your existing one or needing urgent funds for renovation work, bridging loans could be the perfect fast solution. 

Wooden houses on a table with three piles of coins with increasing heights from left to right.

The Basics of Bridging Loans

Bridging loans, often used as a source of fast funding in property transactions, are designed to 'bridge' financial gaps. They're an alternative solution for those needing swift access to substantial funds.

These short-term finance options differ significantly from traditional mortgages due to their brief term lengths - usually between 1 and 18 months. Their appeal lies in the ability they offer borrowers to secure large sums swiftly with fewer obstacles than other borrowing methods might present.

The way bridging loans work is simple: they supply the capital for your new purchase while you arrange long-term finance or sell an existing asset. This quick access prevents missed opportunities caused by insufficient immediate funding.

Types of Bridging Loans Explained

Bridging loans, a form of short-term finance, are typically categorised into open and closed bridging loans. Each type is designed to cater to different circumstances based on the clarity and certainty surrounding your exit strategy.

Open Bridging Loans
An open bridging loan does not come with a fixed repayment date. Open bridging loans with no fixed payback date can be an excellent choice when the exact time of obtaining funds is uncertain, such as awaiting a property sale or getting long-term financing like a mortgage.

The flexibility offered by this kind of bridge loan can prove beneficial; however, one must bear in mind that due to their lack of defined timelines, they often carry higher interest rates than other lending solutions.

Additionally, lenders generally require proof showing how you plan to repay - commonly called an 'exit strategy' - before approving any application.

Closed Bridging Loans
In contrast, closed bridging loans require set timeframes - usually determined by confirmed incoming finances from sources such as completed property sales or approved mortgage applications.

Due to the lower risk associated with these types, they tend to offer lower interest rates than those attached to open bridge counterparts.

This predictability lends itself to appeal; nevertheless, failure to meet agreed-upon deadlines could result in penalties and increased costs over time, so borrowers must be confident in their ability to adhere strictly to set timescales.

It's advisable to have solid plans and contingencies before opting for a borrowing arrangement.

Scenarios Where Bridging Loans Can Be Useful

In the world of property investment and development, bridging loans often prove to be invaluable. They can provide quick access to funds when traditional finance options aren't suitable or timely enough. Here are some common scenarios where a bridging loan can offer an effective solution:

  • Purchasing Property at Auction
  • Funding Refurbishments and Conversions
  • Breaking Chains in Property Transactions
  • Rapidly Seizing Investment Opportunities
  • Purchasing an Unmortgageable Property
  • Paying for Care Fees
  • Paying Inheritance Tax (IHT)

Auctions usually demand that buyers complete transactions within 28 days - far quicker than standard mortgages allow for. In such instances, bridging finance provides immediate funding needed for securing your winning bid while you arrange long-term financing.

If significant renovations or conversions are likely to increase a property's value considerably, then bridging loans might just be what you need. Traditional high street banks may shy away from properties deemed 'uninhabitable.' Still, alternative lenders specialising in short-term finance solutions like bridging loans could step up until work is completed and a regular mortgage is secured.

The domino effect caused by failed sales within property chains can lead to multiple transaction collapses; this is where open-bridged financing shines through as it allows sellers to proceed with their onward purchase without having sold their current home yet - effectively breaking the chain.

Often lucrative off-market deals require swift action lest they slip out of grasp. Bridging finance enables investors to seize such opportunities promptly before arranging longer-term mortgages, ensuring no good deal goes unclaimed due to its temporary nature.

Pros and Cons of Using Bridging Loans

Bridging loans, a form of short-term finance often used by property developers and investors, come with benefits and potential drawbacks. Understanding these aspects can guide you in deciding if this type of loan aligns with your financial objectives.

The Appeal for Property Developers and Investors
The appeal of bridging loans lies strongly in the speed at which funds become accessible. This rapidity is paramount within aggressive property markets where swift action may be required to secure lucrative deals or outbid competitors.

Furthermore, bridging finance offers enhanced flexibility compared to traditional mortgages from high-street banks. Whether it's purchasing properties deemed 'unmortgageable' due to condition-related issues or acquiring assets at auctions - all are viable scenarios under the umbrella of bridge loan usage.

Potential Risks for Borrowers to Consider
A key consideration when opting for bridging loans over other borrowing options, such as long-term mortgages, revolves around cost implications - interest rates on bridge loans typically dwarf those offered by mainstream lenders, leading to potentially hefty interest payments if not promptly settled.

In addition to higher costs associated with failure to repay within stipulated terms (usually 12 months), borrowers could face additional charges and risk repossession should they default on secured assets; hence having a solid exit strategy before taking one becomes essential.

The Costs Associated with Bridging Loans

When exploring bridging loans, it's necessary to understand that their costs extend beyond the principal amount. Additional charges can significantly influence your total expenditure and should be factored into any financial planning.

A fundamental cost associated with bridging finance is the interest rate. Unlike traditional mortgages, where regular monthly repayments are made, most bridge loans necessitate a lump sum repayment at the end of the term, which includes both the capital and accumulated interest. Although rates might seem competitive when compared annually, they may rapidly accumulate over time due to the compounding effect.

Arrangement Fees
Lenders commonly charge an arrangement fee for setting up your loan agreement. It typically ranges from 1% to 2% of the overall loan value and is often added to the loan balance or deducted from funds released at the contract's start.

Valuation Fees
Bridging lenders will require a professional valuation report before approving your application, as this guarantees the property's worth in case they need to recover money through repossession. The expense depends on the size and location but could run into hundreds or even thousands of pounds depending on its complexity.

Solicitor And Exit Charges
In addition, legal fees are payable for solicitors who handle all paperwork related to these short-term finance solutions. At the same time, some alternative lenders may also charge exit fees if you decide to pay off early or switch lenders midway through the contract period. Again, these vary significantly between different providers, so it's always advisable to compare multiple quotes before deciding.

Finally, remember that online tools offer an easy way for borrowers like yourself to calculate potential costs, including high-interest payments and various other charges associated with taking out this type of financing solution.

Qualifying For A Bridging Loan - What Does It Require?

Securing a bridging loan involves specific criteria that potential borrowers must meet. These qualifications, however, can vary from lender to lender.

Credit History
A credit record is a necessity when applying for any loan. Obtaining a bridging loan while having poor credit often is simpler than securing other financing types with a less-than-ideal credit background. For instance, a bridging loan might present a viable substitute option if you face difficulties securing a mortgage due to your credit situation.

Purpose of The Loan
Bridging loans serve specific purposes, such as buying at auction or funding refurbishments before reselling the property or renting it out. Therefore, outlining a clear plan about how you intend to use the funds could enhance your chances of approval.

Exit Strategy
An exit strategy is pivotal in obtaining a bridging loan because its short-term finance with higher interest rates than traditional mortgages. This strategy could involve selling off another property or arranging long-term financing through other means, like remortgaging with alternative lending institutions.

Multiple Properties As Security
When repayment within the stipulated timeframe becomes challenging, having multiple properties pledged as security may boost the likelihood of acquiring a bridge loan. Lenders specialising in unique borrowing situations offer more flexible solutions than conventional financial entities in these scenarios. They understand the challenges faced by applicants and adapt their offerings accordingly.

Qualifying for a bridging loan requires thoughtful planning and consideration, yet alternatives exist beyond mainstream lending channels that cater specifically to individual needs and contexts.


Are Bridging Loans a good idea? It's clear they come with benefits, like the speed of funding and flexibility, but also cons, such as higher interest rates and the risk of repossession if you can't repay on time.

Whether or not a bridging loan is right for you depends on your circumstances. You need to weigh up all factors carefully before making an informed decision.

We're experienced financial experts who arrange short-term bridging loans for property owners, securing you the best deal from over 200 bridging loan providers, including private investors and family offices.

Get expert assistance today; we're on hand to answer any questions about bridging loans.

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Call our friendly team on 01202 612934, we're ready to help.

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