A bridging loan is a short-term property loan which is designed to assist property developers or investors for a period of up to 18 months.

A bridging loan will also be asset backed which means they are secured by a way of first or second legal charge against a property or properties.

A bridging loan helps a borrower move forward on a project within a short period of time. In comparison, a mainstream bank may take some months to put together a loan for a borrower whereas an experienced bridging finance company should be able to advance a loan within a couple of days provided all the correct documentation and information is in place. While a bridging loan is set up in a shorter timeframe than a traditional bank loan, most bridging finance companies will still do the same, if not more, due diligence on a transaction compared to a bank.

A commercial bridge is secured against properties which are considered for purposes such as retail use, office use and industrial use (this is not an extensive list).

A residential bridge is secured against traditional housing properties.

Bridging loans are taken either by professional property investors or developers when they need swift finance. Bridging finance can be used in a number of different circumstances including:

  • To assist with a swift purchase
  • To refinance an existing loan
  • To allow time for a planning permission to be obtained
  • To release equity
  • A combination of the previously mentioned purposes


Some non-professional property investors take advantage of the availability of bridging loans in order to release some equity against their properties. The latter can be qualified as a regulated transaction. In this instance, the bridging lender and introducing broker should be FCA regulated.

Bridging loans are popular because of their availability, the transaction speed and flexibility when it comes to the borrower and the asset. They make processes much easier for the borrower and create less financial interruption for development projects.

Borrowers and their advisors should carefully read terms of the loan agreement and have a clear understanding of the following:

  • Interest rate
  • Loan term
  • All fees including arrangement fees
  • Any potential penalties or minimum payments under the loan

A clear and solid exit strategy is imperative for anyone considering bridging finance due to the higher cost of the loan as a result of the short timeframe and flexibility. If borrowers do not repay on time it can lead to expensive penalties and potentially, enforcement action.

The most common way to repay a bridging loan is through sale of a property or by refinancing it with another product loan which is much cheaper. It is important to be wary of refinancing one bridge loan with another which may include a second charge product. In times of market downturn this may prove to have a negative impact.

  • Any potential penalties or minimum payments under the loan

A bridging loan can be obtained within 3-4 days. This is dependent on the borrower providing all of the information required and the motivation of the borrower’s solicitors to provide everything needed for a speedy completion.

In brief, a speedy completion of a bridge loan would be possible if the following is available:

  • Valuation report
  • Report on title
  • Solicitors certified KYC documents

Take a look at Avamore’s insight videos for a full overview of the process from initial enquiry to completion.

Most borrowers prefer the interest to be retained but a bridging loan can be serviced monthly. It is generally cheaper to service a loan rather than accruing interest on the retained amount and in this case, most borrowers will receive more money in terms of day one net advance.

At the moment, there are a number of products on the market which would allow a bridging loan to be refinanced. It is very important that the interest rate of the new loan is lower than the original bridge. Professional finance intermediaries can add a great deal of value into the refinancing process as they are able to provide a menu of options.

It is important to understand that unless the borrower is very experienced and that they have clear exit/refinance strategy in place, then it would be wise to use the service of a broker.

In cases when the borrower is not able to service a loan then the interest and arrangement fees can be retained by the lender. This means that the borrower will make a one-off balloon payment at redemption. In these cases, it is important for the borrower to distinguish between gross loan and net loan. The gross loan is the total loan amount including retained interest and arrangement fees which means that the borrower would normally receive the net advance at the completion of the loan.

The bridging process is as follows:

  • Application form (although some lenders do not have a formal application process)
  • Formal term sheet issued and signed. A formal term sheet is a document outlining the material terms and conditions of the loan agreement.
  • Instruction of a valuation and provision of cost undertaking to lender’s solicitors
  • Due diligence performed by the lender

It is very important for the borrower to choose the right solicitor and make sure they have not set unrealistic expectations in terms of the market value of the property.

An experienced broker will provide a suite of finance options and will guide their clients through the funding process.

Brokers add value because they have a number of working relationships with lenders and can determine the best product in the market to suit a borrower’s needs. Furthermore, they are familiar with how lenders on their panel would perform their due diligence process which means that deals can be completed more efficiently and effectively. A broker would also help identify the most suitable product to meet the borrower’s needs and ensure the borrower is getting the value for money on the chosen product.

The valuation report is instructed by the lender but it is paid for by the borrower. A valuation report is a common way of determining the value of a property through an opinion or the use of data, appraisal can be based on location, amenities, structural condition and recent sales of similar local properties.

Legal costs are also covered by the borrower. Normally the borrower would put their solicitor in funds after which they would provide a formal cost undertaking to the lender’s solicitor.

There are few other fees like CHAPS fees, registration fees, an administration fee and, in some cases, indemnity insurance.

An acceptance fee is paid in advance together with the valuation fee and the legal fee. Although this should be funded in advance by the borrower, it is not considered an additional cost as the borrower receives this back on the day of the loan completion.

Bridging loans are very often put towards the purchase of a property to allow time for alternative funding to be arranged or to allow time for planning consent to be obtained.

It is not recommended to refinance a bridging loan with another bridging loan unless the latter would offer better terms with regards to the interest rate. Alternatively, you can refinance one bridge with another if value has been added to the property, which would lower the Loan to Value (LTV) to the existing loan.

In brief, a bridging loan should be refinanced with another bridging loan only if the interest rate is lower, if equity can be released while keeping the LTV at the same level or a combination of both. Borrowers sometimes do not understand the implications of obtaining a bridging loan or they are badly advised so they fall into financing options which are inefficient or expensive.

This is a practice that is used worldwide to prevent theft, financial fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing. The main KYC goal is for debt providers to know and better understand their borrowers, and therefore manage their risks appropriately.

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If you have a specific development or bridging case to discuss, you would like to learn more about Avamore’s criteria or have any other general questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. The team will respond to you as soon as possible.