Close this search box.

Table of Contents

First Mortgage


A first mortgage is a primary lien on a property. As the primary loan, it has priority over all other liens or claims on a property in the event of default. In case of foreclosure, the first mortgage will be repaid before any other mortgages.


The phonetics of the keyword “First Mortgage” would be: / fɜːrst ˈmɔːrɡɪdʒ /

Key Takeaways

  1. A First Mortgage is a type of loan that real estate owners can get from a variety of lenders to purchase a property or improve an already existing one. It is prioritized over other loans on the same property in terms of repayment.
  2. This type of mortgage typically has lower interest rates compared to other loans because lenders see them as less risky. This is directly tied to the fact that the loan is secured by the property, and it is generally repaid before other potential loans in case of default/closure.
  3. First Mortgages usually have a fixed term, often 15, 20, or 30 years. They also offer a variety of repayment options, including interest-only, flat-rate, and adjustable-rate, providing flexibility to the borrower.


A first mortgage is a primary lien on a property and is important in the business and finance world because it holds the most senior position in the hierarchy of mortgage claims. Since it is the first debt registered against the property, it has a preferential right over all other subsequent mortgages known as junior or second mortgages. In the event of a default and subsequent foreclosure of the property, the first mortgage will be repaid before any other mortgages. Therefore, it carries less risk to the lender and usually, offers lower interest rates to the borrower. Understanding this concept is crucial in both lending and real estate finance.


A first mortgage is designed primarily for the purpose of financing the acquisition of a property. They serve as a critical tool for individuals or businesses to acquire property without having to pay for it upfront. It reduces the initial out-of-pocket expenditure while simultaneously granting one legal rights to the property. Moreover, first mortgages typically offer lower interest rates compared to other forms of debt because they are less risky for lenders, given that they have the first claim on the property should the borrower default.In terms of use, first mortgages are widely applied within the real estate market. Homebuyers often use first mortgages to cover a significant portion of their home’s purchase price, dividing the cost of the property into manageable monthly payments over a period of many years. Additionally, businesses may also use first mortgages to purchase commercial properties. In the event of a foreclosure, the first mortgage holder is privileged to be the very first to be paid after sale or liquidation of the collateral property, which underscores its utility as a safer loan option for lenders.


1. Home Purchase: Perhaps the most common example of a first mortgage is when an individual or a couple decides to purchase a home. The bank or mortgage lender loans them the necessary amount to buy that property, and in return, a first mortgage is established on the property. This mortgage is the primary claim on the property in the case of default, which means if the borrower fails to pay their mortgage, the lender can sell the property to recover their loan amount.2. Commercial Property Loan: A company decides to buy an office building to expand its business operations. To finance this purchase, they approach a financial institution for a loan. The financial institution assesses the property’s value and grants a loan to the company, imposing a first mortgage on the property. If the company can’t service the loan, the financial institution can liquidate the property to recover their funds.3. Refinancing: A person may opt to refinance their existing mortgage to benefit from lower interest rates. In this scenario, the original mortgage is paid off by a new loan from a different lender. The new loan becomes the first mortgage on the property and has the first claim in case of a default.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a First Mortgage?

A first mortgage is a primary lien on a property. As a primary loan, first mortgages hold a priority status in terms of payment over all other liens or claims on a property in the event of default.

Does a First Mortgage offer any protection to the lender?

Yes, with a first mortgage, the lender has greater protection in the event of default, as they are the first to receive any proceeds from an eventual property sale in foreclosure.

Is a First Mortgage suitable for individuals or businesses?

Both individuals and businesses can rely on first mortgages to finance the purchase of a home or a commercial property.

What kind of interest rates does a First Mortgage have?

The interest rates on first mortgages can be either fixed, meaning they stay the same over the life of the loan, or adjustable, meaning they fluctuate in tandem with the prevailing market rates.

Can a First Mortgage be paid off early?

It is possible to pay off a first mortgage early, although some lenders may charge prepayment penalties. It is important to understand the terms and conditions of your mortgage document before making extra payments.

Are there any tax benefits with a First Mortgage?

In certain countries, the interest paid under a first mortgage is tax-deductible. However, tax laws vary by country and it is advised to consult with a tax advisor to understand these benefits in your particular context.

How does a First Mortgage differ from a Second Mortgage?

A first mortgage usually refers to the original loan that is used to purchase a home or property. A second mortgage, on the other hand, is a loan taken out using the equity built in the property and it usually comes with a higher interest rate since it presents a higher risk for the lender.

Do first mortgage loans require a down payment?

Yes, most first mortgage loans will require a down payment. The amount varies depending on the individual lender’s policies, the borrower’s creditworthiness, and the overall cost of the property.

How can one apply for a First Mortgage?

The process can vary from lender to lender. Generally, one needs to prepare their financial records, credit history, and then approach a bank or other type of lender to apply for a mortgage loan.

Related Finance Terms

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More