What is a subordination clause in real estate?

What is a subordination clause in real estate?


A subordination clause is a crucial component of real estate transactions, particularly in mortgage agreements. It determines the priority of different liens or claims on a property. This article will delve into the concept of subordination clauses in real estate, exploring their purpose, implications, and how they can affect various parties involved.

Understanding Subordination Clauses

A subordination clause is a contractual provision that establishes the order of priority for different liens or claims on a property. In real estate, it is commonly found in mortgage agreements. The clause determines which lien takes precedence over others in the event of foreclosure or default.

Importance of Subordination Clauses: Subordination clauses play a crucial role in real estate transactions by providing clarity and protection to lenders and borrowers. They help lenders assess the risk associated with their loans and ensure that their interests are safeguarded.

Implications for Lenders and Borrowers

For lenders, a subordination clause allows them to secure their position in case of default. By establishing their lien as senior to other claims, lenders can have a higher chance of recovering their investment. This gives lenders more confidence in extending credit and may result in more favorable loan terms for borrowers.

On the other hand, borrowers may benefit from subordination clauses when seeking additional financing or refinancing. By agreeing to subordinate their existing liens, borrowers can obtain new loans with lower interest rates or better terms. This flexibility can be especially advantageous in situations where borrowers want to access the equity in their property.

Considerations for Borrowers: While subordination clauses can be beneficial for borrowers, they should carefully evaluate the potential consequences. Subordinating an existing lien may limit their options in the future, as it can make it more difficult to refinance or obtain additional financing. It is crucial for borrowers to assess their long-term financial goals and consult with legal and financial professionals before agreeing to a subordination clause.

Impacts on Other Parties

Apart from lenders and borrowers, subordination clauses can also affect other parties involved in real estate transactions. For example, secondary lienholders, such as those holding second mortgages or home equity lines of credit, may find their claims subordinated to primary mortgage lenders. This means that in the event of foreclosure, the primary lender’s claim will be satisfied first, potentially leaving less or no funds available for secondary lienholders.

Additionally, subordination clauses can impact buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. Buyers may need to consider the existing liens on a property and understand how the subordination clause affects their rights and obligations. Sellers, on the other hand, may need to negotiate the release or modification of existing subordination clauses to facilitate the sale of the property.


In the realm of real estate, subordination clauses play a vital role in determining the priority of different liens or claims on a property. They provide lenders with security and borrowers with potential benefits, but they also have implications for other parties involved in real estate transactions. It is crucial for all parties to carefully consider the implications of subordination clauses and seek professional advice when necessary.


– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com/terms/s/subordination-agreement.asp
– The Balance: www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-subordination-agreement-315611
– LegalMatch: www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/subordination-agreements.html