A Guide to Bridging Loans

Bridging loans are short-term financing solutions designed to provide quick access to funds, typically for real estate transactions. This guide will cover everything you need to know about bridging loans, including their purpose, how they work, the types available, the costs involved, and the application process, particularly with a lender like Donkey Finance.

What are bridging loans?

Bridging loans are short-term loans used to bridge a financial gap, particularly in situations where immediate funding is needed but long-term financing isn’t yet available. They are commonly used in real estate transactions, enabling buyers to secure a property while waiting for the sale of another property or arranging long-term financing.

Key Features of Bridging Loans:

  • Short-Term: Typically ranging from a few weeks to 12–18 months.
  • High Interest Rates: Due to their short-term nature and quick availability, interest rates are higher compared to traditional loans.
  • Secured Loans: Often secured against property or other high-value assets.
  • Flexible Repayment Options: Can be interest-only or rolled up (interest added to the loan amount).

How do bridging loans work?

Bridging loans work by providing immediate funds to the borrower. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how they function:

  1. Application: The borrower applies for a bridging loan through a lender.
  2. Valuation and Approval: The lender evaluates the borrower’s assets (usually property) to determine the loan amount and terms.
  3. Disbursement: Upon approval, funds are quickly disbursed to the borrower.
  4. Utilisation: The borrower uses the funds to purchase a new property, refurbish an existing property, or for other specified purposes.
  5. Repayment: The borrower repays the loan, typically within a year, either from the sale of the existing property, refinancing, or other means.

Uses of Bridging Loans

Bridging loans can be used for various purposes, including:

  1. Property Purchase: To buy a new property before selling an existing one.
  2. Property Renovation: To refurbish or improve a property before refinancing or sale.
  3. Auction Purchases: To quickly secure funds for purchasing properties at auctions.
  4. Business Cash Flow: To cover temporary gaps in business cash flow.
  5. Development Finance: For property developers to finance construction projects.

Types of Bridging Loans

There are several types of bridging loans, each tailored to different needs:

Closed Bridging Loans
Closed-bridging loans have a fixed repayment date. They are often used when the borrower has a clear exit strategy, such as a confirmed property sale date.

Open Bridging Loans
Open-bridging loans do not have a fixed repayment date and are more flexible. They are suitable for borrowers who are uncertain about when their exit strategy (such as the sale of a property) will be completed.

First Charge Bridging Loans
First-charge loans are secured against a property that does not have any existing mortgages or loans secured against it. The lender has the first claim on the property in case of default.

Second Charge Bridging Loans
Second-charge loans are secured against a property that already has a mortgage. The lender will have a secondary claim on the property behind the primary mortgage lender.

Auction Finance
A bridging loan can provide quick funds to secure a property purchased at auction, ensuring the buyer meets the tight payment deadlines.

Avoid Repossession Loans
Bridging loans can be used to prevent repossession by providing the necessary funds to clear mortgage arrears and stabilise financial situations.

Property Development
Developers often use bridging loans to finance the purchase and renovation of properties before securing long-term financing or selling the improved property.

Hard Money Loans
Investors may use hard money bridging loans to quickly access capital for real estate deals that traditional lenders might not fund due to the property’s condition or the borrower’s credit history.

Purchase Overseas Properties
A bridging loan can facilitate the immediate purchase of a property abroad, allowing the buyer to capitalise on favourable market conditions while arranging permanent financing.

Capital Raising Bridging Loan
Businesses or individuals can use bridging loans to raise capital quickly for various needs, such as investing in new opportunities or managing cash flow shortages.

Commercial Bridging Loans
These loans enable businesses to secure commercial properties promptly, providing a financial bridge until long-term funding is arranged.

Refurbishment Bridging Loan
Investors use bridging loans to fund the refurbishment of a property, enhancing its value and making it more marketable before selling or refinancing.

Incomplete Property Loan
Bridging loans can be utilised to finance the completion of an unfinished property, ensuring that construction can proceed without delays.

Land Bridging Finance
This type of bridging loan provides funds for purchasing land, giving developers the flexibility to plan and secure further investment for future development.

Pensioner Bridging Loans
Pensioners might use bridging loans to bridge the financial gap when downsizing or relocating, allowing them to purchase a new home before selling their current property.

Costs of Bridging Loans

The cost of bridging loans can vary widely based on several factors, including the loan amount, term, and the borrower’s creditworthiness. Here are the primary costs associated with bridging loans:

  1. Interest Rates: Typically higher than traditional loans, ranging from 0.4% to 2% per month.
  2. Arrangement Fees: Lenders usually charge a fee for arranging the loan, typically around 1-2% of the loan amount.
  3. Exit Fees: Some lenders charge an exit fee when the loan is repaid, which can be a percentage of the loan or a flat fee.
  4. Valuation Fees: Fees for valuing the property used as security.
  5. Legal Fees: Borrowers may need to cover legal costs associated with the loan agreement.

Regulated vs. unregulated bridging loans

Bridging loans can be classified into two categories: regulated and unregulated.

Regulated bridging loans
Regulated bridging loans are governed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are typically used when the loan is secured against a property that is the borrower’s primary residence. They offer greater consumer protection and are subject to stricter lending criteria.

Unregulated bridging loans
Unregulated bridging loans are not governed by the FCA and are usually used for investment properties, commercial properties, or buy-to-let properties. They offer more flexibility in terms of lending criteria and are often used by experienced property investors and developers.

Applying for a Bridging Loan with Donkey Finance

Applying for a bridging loan with Donkey Finance involves several steps. Here’s a detailed guide to the application process:

  1. Initial Inquiry – Start by visiting the Donkey Finance website and filling out the initial inquiry form. Provide basic information about your financial needs and the property in question.
  2. Consultation – A representative from Donkey Finance will contact you to discuss your requirements in detail. They will provide guidance on the best type of bridging loan for your situation.
  3. Application Form – Complete a detailed application form provided by Donkey Finance. This will require comprehensive information about your financial situation, the property, and your exit strategy.
  4. Valuation – Donkey Finance will arrange for a valuation of the property to determine its market value and assess the loan amount you qualify for.
  5. Offer – Upon successful evaluation, Donkey Finance will make a formal loan offer. Review the terms and conditions carefully.
  6. Legal Process – Engage with a solicitor to handle the legal aspects of the loan agreement. Donkey Finance will work with your solicitor to finalise the legal paperwork.
  7. Fund Disbursement – Once all legalities are completed, Donkey Finance will disburse the funds to your designated account, allowing you to proceed with your plans.
  8. Repayment – Ensure that you adhere to the repayment schedule outlined in the loan agreement. Timely repayment is crucial to avoid additional fees and penalties.


Bridging loans are a valuable financial tool for those needing quick access to funds, especially in the property market. Understanding the different types, associated costs, and application processes can help you make informed decisions. Donkey Finance offers a streamlined application process and expert guidance to help you secure the bridging loan that best meets your needs. Always consider seeking independent financial advice before proceeding with a bridging loan to ensure it aligns with your financial goals and circumstances.