EDU Articles

Learn about investing, trading, retirement, banking, personal finance and more.

Ad is loading...
Help CenterFind Your WayBuy/Sell Daily ProductsIntraday ProductsFAQ
Expert's OpinionsWeekly ReportsBest StocksInvestingTradingCryptoArtificial Intelligence
IntroductionMarket AbbreviationsStock Market StatisticsThinking about Your Financial FutureSearch for AdvisorsFinancial CalculatorsFinancial MediaFederal Agencies and Programs
Investment PortfoliosModern Portfolio TheoriesInvestment StrategyPractical Portfolio Management InfoDiversificationRatingsActivities AbroadTrading Markets
Investment Terminology and InstrumentsBasicsInvestment TerminologyTrading 1 on 1BondsMutual FundsExchange Traded Funds (ETF)StocksAnnuities
Technical Analysis and TradingAnalysis BasicsTechnical IndicatorsTrading ModelsPatternsTrading OptionsTrading ForexTrading CommoditiesSpeculative Investments
Cryptocurrencies and BlockchainBlockchainBitcoinEthereumLitecoinRippleTaxes and Regulation
RetirementSocial Security BenefitsLong-Term Care InsuranceGeneral Retirement InfoHealth InsuranceMedicare and MedicaidLife InsuranceWills and Trusts
Retirement Accounts401(k) and 403(b) PlansIndividual Retirement Accounts (IRA)SEP and SIMPLE IRAsKeogh PlansMoney Purchase/Profit Sharing PlansSelf-Employed 401(k)s and 457sPension Plan RulesCash-Balance PlansThrift Savings Plans and 529 Plans and ESA
Personal FinancePersonal BankingPersonal DebtHome RelatedTax FormsSmall BusinessIncomeInvestmentsIRS Rules and PublicationsPersonal LifeMortgage
Corporate BasicsBasicsCorporate StructureCorporate FundamentalsCorporate DebtRisksEconomicsCorporate AccountingDividendsEarnings

What is a Balloon Loan?

A balloon loan is a unique type of loan that offers borrowers lower monthly payments but requires a substantial final payment to settle the remaining balance at the end of the loan term. While this arrangement may be appealing for short-term borrowers due to its lower interest rates, it comes with certain risks and considerations. In this article, we will explore the concept of a balloon loan, delve into its mechanics, provide an example, and discuss the pros and cons associated with this type of financing.

Understanding Balloon Loans

A balloon loan is a short-term loan that does not fully amortize over its term, meaning the borrower does not pay off the entire loan balance by the end of the loan term. Instead, the loan structure entails low monthly payments that cover either only the interest or a combination of interest and a portion of the principal. At the conclusion of the loan term, the borrower must make a lump-sum payment, commonly referred to as a balloon payment, to settle the remaining balance.

Working Mechanism of a Balloon Loan

To grasp the mechanics of a balloon loan, let's consider the example of a balloon mortgage. Typically, balloon mortgages have relatively short terms, ranging from five to seven years. During this period, the monthly payments are calculated as if the loan were a traditional 30-year mortgage, resulting in lower monthly payments. However, at the end of the term, the borrower still owes a significant portion of the principal, necessitating a balloon payment.

Options at the End of the Loan Term

When the balloon payment becomes due, borrowers have a few choices. They can sell the property to cover the balloon payment, refinance the loan to extend the term or obtain a new loan, or pay the balloon payment in cash. If the loan has a reset option, the interest rate can be adjusted based on current rates, and the amortization schedule can be recalculated. However, if the loan lacks a reset option, borrowers must refinance or pay the balloon payment before the original term ends.

Pros and Cons of Balloon Loans

Balloon loans offer advantages and disadvantages that borrowers should carefully consider before opting for this type of financing.


  1. Lower Monthly Payments: Balloon loans provide lower monthly payments, allowing borrowers to access higher loan amounts than they might otherwise qualify for.
  2. Limited Impact of High Interest Rates: With reduced principal paydown, borrowers are shielded from the full impact of high interest rates during the loan term.
  3. Shorter Commitment: Balloon loans typically have shorter terms, allowing borrowers to refinance at potentially lower interest rates sooner.


  1. Balloon Payment Risk: Defaulting on a balloon loan is a significant risk if the borrower cannot secure financing for the balloon payment or sell the property at a high enough price.
  2. Refinancing Challenges: Refinancing may lead to higher interest rates, resulting in increased monthly payments and potential financial strain.
  3. Borrowing Beyond Means: The allure of low monthly payments may tempt borrowers to borrow more than they can comfortably afford, leading to financial difficulties.

Balloon loans offer an alternative financing option for short-term borrowers seeking lower monthly payments. While the lower initial costs can be appealing, borrowers must be cautious of the risks involved, such as the need to secure funds for the balloon payment or navigate refinancing challenges. Before entering into a balloon loan agreement, it is essential to carefully evaluate personal financial circumstances, future plans, and the potential impact of interest rate fluctuations. Balloon loans can provide opportunities for some borrowers, but they require thoughtful consideration and financial discipline to avoid potential pitfalls.


A Balloon Loan has lower debt payments than a fully amortized loan up until a lump sum payment at the end of a term.

Balloon loans have relatively low monthly payments due over their term and then a large lump sum payment for the remaining balance at the end. This can be advantageous if someone or a business knows they will be paid in a certain way that fits well with this schedule.

Other people and businesses may be planning to use a more flexible approach where the lump sum due at the end is rolled into a new financing schedule (such as a two-step mortgage), and this is usually done if there is a reset provision in the contract.

If there is no reset provision, the borrower will need to either be prepared to make the balloon payment or to refinance with a new loan before it comes time to make the balloon payment.

In either case there is a refinancing risk, meaning if things have changed in the market or with the client’s financial situation the refinanced arrangement may be worse for him or her than the original one was.

What is Mortgage Modification?
What is a Balloon Payment?

Ad is loading...