What is a 1st lien mortgage balance?

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A 1st lien mortgage balance refers to the outstanding amount owed on a property that is secured by a first mortgage. In this article, we will dive deeper into what a 1st lien mortgage is, how it works, and why the balance is an important aspect to consider.

Understanding 1st Lien Mortgages

A first lien mortgage is a type of loan that is secured by the property being financed. It is called a “first lien” because it takes priority over any other liens or claims on the property. This means that in the event of default or foreclosure, the lender with the first lien has the first right to the proceeds from the sale of the property to recover the outstanding balance.

When a borrower obtains a first lien mortgage, they are essentially using the property as collateral for the loan. The lender will assess the borrower’s creditworthiness, income, and other factors to determine the loan amount and interest rate. The borrower will then make regular monthly payments to repay the loan over a specified term, typically ranging from 15 to 30 years.

How 1st Lien Mortgage Balances Work

The 1st lien mortgage balance is the remaining amount owed on the loan. It includes the principal amount borrowed, plus any interest and fees that have accrued over time. The balance decreases as the borrower makes their monthly payments, which consist of both principal and interest portions.

The principal portion of the payment goes towards reducing the original loan amount, while the interest portion compensates the lender for the risk of lending money. In the early years of the mortgage, a larger portion of the payment goes towards interest, while in the later years, a larger portion goes towards principal repayment.

It’s important to note that the 1st lien mortgage balance does not include other expenses related to homeownership, such as property taxes, insurance, or homeowner association fees. These additional costs are typically paid separately by the homeowner.

Importance of 1st Lien Mortgage Balance

The 1st lien mortgage balance is a crucial factor to consider for both borrowers and lenders. For borrowers, it represents the amount they still owe on their property and determines their equity in the home. As the mortgage balance decreases, the homeowner’s equity increases, providing them with a valuable asset.

For lenders, the mortgage balance is an indicator of the risk associated with the loan. A higher balance means a larger outstanding debt, which increases the lender’s exposure. It also affects the loan-to-value ratio, which compares the loan amount to the appraised value of the property. Lenders typically have maximum loan-to-value ratios they are willing to accept, and a high mortgage balance could result in a loan denial or higher interest rates.


In conclusion, a 1st lien mortgage balance refers to the remaining amount owed on a property that is secured by a first mortgage. It represents the outstanding debt and is an essential consideration for both borrowers and lenders. Understanding the mortgage balance helps homeowners track their equity and lenders assess the risk associated with the loan.


– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com/mortgage/first-lien-mortgage
– The Balance: www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-first-lien-mortgage-315660