Tag Archives for " Snowbirds "

Bridge Basics (Not the Card Game!)

Bridge Loan

A Bridge Loan can be an effective solution if you need to pull equity out of an existing property to purchase a new property. It can especially come in handy if you suddenly come across the perfect home to buy – but you have not yet sold your existing home (and you know that your income is likely insufficient to cover the mortgage payments on two properties at the same time).

Provided your credit score is at least 680, up to 75% of the value of your current, to-be-sold home may be extended to you via a Bridge Loan in one advance.  The Bridge Loan proceeds would need to be used to fully repay your existing mortgage balance, but you can also use any leftover loan proceeds towards the down payment on your to-be-purchased home.  The Bridge Loan structure allows you to make an offer on a new property, which is not contingent on the sale of your existing property.

Bridge Loans are generally due in 12 months, which is ample time to sell your existing property. No mortgage payments are required to be made on the Bridge Loan until your property is sold (at which time the principal would be paid back plus accrued interest). And, because there are no monthly Bridge Loan payment requirements, Bridge Loan obligations are not counted towards the lender’s debt-to-income ratio calculation. The same lender will then separately advance you a permanent loan of up to 80% of the value of your to-be-purchased primary residence.

Here's the Point: Bridge Loans are alive and well, and therefore you don’t necessarily need to have sold your current home before purchasing your dream home.

Mortgage Tips for Snowbirds

Flying South

Snowbird mortgage rules are the same for anyone looking to finance a vacation home, unless the borrower resides outside the U.S. In the latter case, there are more onerous foreign national mortgage regulations, a higher interest rate would apply, and there are several title, estate planning, legal and tax issues which would need to be carefully considered. Given today’s exchange rate [CAD$1.00 = US$0.76], Canadians would do well to obtain a mortgage from a U.S. lender – preferably one affiliated with their Canadian bank (for relationship, credit history and funds transfer purposes).  

But here are a few thoughts for those who are able to qualify for a conventional mortgage for the purchase of a property in the sunny South:

  1. Whether a condo or single-family home, call it a second or vacation home – not an investment property (rent it later, if necessary) - you can borrow up to 90% of value (vs 85% for a rental) and avoid a risk adjustment charge of 2.125% to 4.125% of the loan amount, depending on your credit score.
  2. Get your credit score to 740. Otherwise, depending on your down payment, another 1.125% to 3.250% risk charge could apply.
  3. Get a reliable pre-qualification letter. You don’t want to find out just before closing that your debt-to-income ratio (including mortgage obligations of all properties owned) exceeds the maximum lender threshold.
  4. Understand the costs, and then budget accordingly. There will likely be unexpected repairs, improvements, HOA/property management fees, travel costs, etc.


Here’s the Point: Snowbirds could save a bundle of money by doing a little homework before financing a Florida home purchase.