Home Equity

Bridge Loans vs. Home Equity Loans: Which Should You Choose?

By Tom Burchnell
bridge loan vs home equity loan

Moving is overwhelming enough, even before the costs begin to add up. You have to pay for packing supplies and a moving company. Money is tight, and the transition can be anything but smooth. This is where you might be trying to decide between a bridge loan vs home equity loan to figure out which might be better for you. 

Bridge loan vs home equity loan are both considered short-term financing options that will carry you forward to your new home. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of bridge loans and home equity loans.

We’ll also explore other funding options available that will allow you the flexibility and breathing room you need to underwrite your plans while taking the stress out of your living situation.

Bridge Loan Advantages

A bridge line of credit for a home purchase is a temporary loan designed to help “tide over” individuals until they can secure a more permanent method of financing a home. Not everyone will qualify for a bridge loan, and the interest rates can be substantially higher than traditional 30-year mortgages. Homeowners who have bridge loans have to pay those payments as well as the monthly payment on their mortgage.

Secured by Property You Own

Bridge loans use your existing property as collateral. Lenders will guarantee your payments by placing a lien on your home. Sometimes, a bridge loan is a more realistic option than an unsecured personal loan for those in difficult financial situations.

Helps You Purchase a New Home

Bridge loans are usually very small, around three percent of the purchase price of your new home. A major benefit is that you can apply for this type of home loan while your current house is listed. A bridge loan for a home purchase can give you the money you need to buy. Then you can pay it off once you close on your new home.

Shorter Term

Bridge loans normally have a term of between six months and three years depending on the terms set by the lender. This means that you are less likely to struggle to repay the loan because you have a clearer picture of your short-term future. No homeowner wants to take out an additional line of credit only to discover an unforeseen circumstance making it difficult to repay.

Different Repayment Options

It’s possible that you may not even have to pay monthly payments until your home is sold. As a general rule, bridge loans are due when the old home is sold, along with any interest that has built up along the way.

Like all loans, it is important to spend time reviewing a bridge loan’s terms from the lender so that you are completely comfortable with the process. Bridge loans can be extended if your home does not sell within the loan’s term, offering some relief in a difficult real estate market.

If you are still wondering whether a bridge loan vs home equity loan is better suited for your needs, keep reading as we dive into home equity loans next.

Home Equity Loan Advantages

A home equity loan is another type of loan that uses the equity in your home as collateral. These are more common loans for homeowners—more lenders are willing to take a risk on borrowers who have built up equity.

However, a big difference between home equity vs bridge loans is that home equity loans must be secured before your home goes on the market. You need to think ahead if you plan on taking out one of these. If you’re able to, there can be many benefits.

Lower Rates and Fees

Compared to bridge loans, home equity loan rates are often much lower when it comes to interest rates and have fewer fees. You can also pay additional points to the loan, so in the long run, it can save you even more money. One unfortunate problem is that many people cannot qualify for these types of loans due to their credit score, history, or other factors.

Can Be Used for Other Needs

Bridge loans are usually due when your current property sells, but what if you still need the cash for other debts? Home equity loans will allow you to make smart financial decisions if you have high-interest rate credit card debt, medical bills, or student loans that you wish to repay. Independent business owners often benefit from this type of loan, as the funds can help them grow their business.

Access to Funds in the Future

One type of home equity loan called a home equity line of credit (HELOC) acts much like a credit card. You do not receive the lump sum of the loan at once—instead, you borrow against the predetermined maximum loan amount.

With this type of loan, regardless of when your home sells, you’re able to tap into this cash for whatever you need. When you are moving homes, this can mean financing some much-needed renovations or repairs.

Another Option: Sale-Leasebacks

 A sale-leaseback program is an alternative for those who can’t or don’t want to get a bridge loan or home equity loan. Homeowners can sell their current home and continue to live in their single-family home, condo, or apartment as a renter.

A sale-leaseback provides money for a down payment without having to pay the high rates of a bridge loan or meet the requirements of a home equity loan. It offers the freedom of a stress-free move.

Key Takeaways

If you’re trying to choose between a bridge loan vs home equity loan to fund your next move, it’s important to know the advantages of each and alternative options. Speak to a financial advisor to help you choose the best option for your circumstances.

Bridge Loans
Home Equity Loan
Tom Burchnell
Written by Tom Burchnell
Director of Product Marketing

This article is published for educational and informational purposes only. This article is not offered as advice and should not be relied on as such. This content is based on research and/or other relevant articles and contains trusted sources, but does not express the concerns of EasyKnock. Our goal at EasyKnock is to provide readers with up-to-date and objective resources on real estate and mortgage-related topics. Our content is written by experienced contributors in the finance and real-estate space and all articles undergo an in-depth review process. EasyKnock is not a debt collector, a collection agency, nor a credit counseling service company.