This is a totally random question, just to satisfy my own curiosity.

When we bought our house 3 years ago, I remember being surprised by how little money the seller walked away with - about $12,000. She lived in the house for 13 years and sold it for $35,000 more than she paid. I actually just looked back at the closing document, and the money from our purchase went to pay off primary and secondary mortgages, together totaling $5,000 more than she originally paid (for example, if she paid $100,000, she owed $105,000 after 13 years). How is that possible? I guess I mean, how is it possible that she paid down so little of her first mortgage in 13 years and was even able to get a second mortgage?

Obviously I have no stake in the situation and it doesn't affect me at all, it's just something I've been curious about for years. I'm hoping someone on this forum knows more about mortgages than I do b/c I wouldn't even know what to google to figure this out.