According to this website...

"There's no legal order in which either loan must be paid off"

Once the first is paid off, is the second mortgage then upgraded to a "first mortgage" (i.e. no other mortgage can be resolved before it in a foreclosure)?

  • 4
    Generally, second mortgages have higher interest rates that first mortgages, and so it is not sensible to pay off the first mortgage first; if the money is available, pay off the second mortgage first. Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 16:24
  • 2
    @DilipSarwate In several years I may very well be in the situation where my primary is paid off and I still have a balance on my HELOC secondary. The question is a good one.
    – user662852
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 19:51
  • 1
    It's like you're second in line at the post office - once the guy in front of you is done, you magically become first in line...
    – Aganju
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 6:48
  • is this question related to the US? Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 13:25
  • @marktristan yes
    – colorlace
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


"Second Mortgage" is not a legal definition - it just describes a mortgage or loan that is subordinate to another loan, meaning that in the case of foreclosure the other loan is satisfied first.

If the "first mortgage" is paid off, then there is no loan to be subordinate to, so the "second" mortgage then is first in line in the event of foreclosure. So for all intents and purposes, yes, the loan would become "first" but it should not change the terms of the loan.

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