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Buying a Home? Don't Get Saddled with Two Mortgage Payments

I have a lot of friends and family who are currently buying houses. Many of them have had a problem with timing. In other words, they buy a house and sign a contract that says that they have to pay the seller in 30 days. (Incidentally, it's never wise to go less than 45 days.) Now, it takes two to three weeks to sell their house, and they sign a 30-45 day contract, so they don't get their money in time to help finance the down payment for the house they are buying. The answer to this problem is simple. Get a bridge loan.

Now, in order to make this strategy work, you need a considerable amount of equity in your current home. Let's say, for example, you are selling a $200,000 home, and you owe $110,000. You have $90,000 in equity (200,000 value minus your debt of 110,000). A bridge loan uses the equity in your home to "bridge" the gap between the sale of your home and the purchase of your new home.

Here's how it works. A bank will loan you 80 percent of the value of your current home, or $160,000 in our example (200k times 80% is 160,000). $110,000 will go toward paying off your current lender, the one you owe $110,000. The remaining $50,000 is yours to use for down payment money on your new purchase and moving expenses, or for any reason you like. The beauty of these loans is that they are treated like home equity lines by the lender. In other words, you pay interest-only on the loan (probably 4-6 percent). So, if you had to pay 4 percent, interest-only on a $160,000 bridge loan, your payment would be $533.00 per month.

Wait one more minute, though. Another thing about bridge loans that makes them a truly marvelous tool is that your payments are deferred for up to 90 days. Imagine getting $160,000 from a lender to help you pay off a mortgage, put money down on a new house, and have left over expense money, and you don't make a single payment for three months. Wow, this is true power! So, in the long run, you may wind up never making a payment on your bridge loan. Outside of some small fees to get it, you are basically getting free money, because you will sell your house for $200,000 and pay off your bridge loan.

Meanwhile, you now have just your new first mortgage on your beautiful new home.

Mark Barnes is the author of the new novel, The League, the first work of fiction, based on fantasy football. He is also an investment real estate and home loan finance expert. Learn more about this suspense thriller at Get his free mortgage finance course at


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