Lorimaria: As I understand it, liens are paid in a pecking order. First is the TAXman. You could have guessed that one. Then comes the primary lien, usually the mortgage, unless there was an earlier lien that the Mortgage Company accepted or overlooked (Hey, it happens!) Then come the other liens. Obviously, the major dollar amount will be the mortgage, in most cases. The Mortgage Company will bid at sheriff's sale up to the amount that they are owed, just to keep the property from going to someone else for less than the property is worth, clearing their lien by, in essence, paying themselves a percentage of what's owed or obtainable in a later sale.
This leaves you in a poor position. If the mortgage company pays only the amount that they are owed, you, being a subordinate lien holder, will get nothing! As far as I know, only the tax liens do not go away in sheriff's sales. and the sheriff's title after that sale IS a clear title.
I'm sorry but I believe that the only time a secondary lien works is in the case of a regular sale, where the owner must compensate all liens before passing title. That's what title searches and title insurance do: protect the new owner from any undiscovered and unpaid liens. That doesn't happen in a sheriff's sale. Itâ€™s not needed.