Real Estate Glossary S

Sales contract - A contract signed by the buyer and seller that details the terms of a home purchase.

Saltbox style - A design that dates to colonial times and takes its name from the shape of saltboxes.

Sanitary sewer - The drain line in a house that carries away food and human wastewater to a municipal sewer system or a septic system.

Sash - One of two windows in a double hung window. hung window.

Schematic designs - Renderings of floor plans and the exterior of a house.

Schematics - Preliminary architectural drawings and sketches; basic layouts not containing the final details of design.

Secured loan  - Any loan backed by collateral.

Security - Apiece of property designated as collateral.

Security agreement - A security document which creates a lien upon chattels, including chattels intended to be affixed to land as fixtures; known as a chattel mortgage prior to the adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Security deposit - Money deposited by or for the tenant with the landlord, to be held by the landlord for the following purposes: to remedy tenant defaults for damage to the premises (be it accidental or intentional), for failure to pay rent due, or for failure to return all keys at the end of the tenancy.

Seller broker - A seller broker represents the interest of the seller.

Seller carry-back - An agreement in which the seller provides financing for a home purchase.  

Seller take-back - An agreement in which the seller provides financing for a home purchase.

Seller's market - A hot real estate market in which sellers have the advantage and multiple offers are common.

Semi-custom home - The buyer of a semi custom home is free to make some design changes but not to the home's structural plan.

Septic system - A self-contained sewage treatment system that distributes wastewater to an underground storage area and relies on bacterial action to decompose solid waste matter.

Septic tank - A sewage-settling tank in which part of the sewage is converted into gas and liquids before the remaining waste is discharged by gravity into a leaching bed underground.

Servicer - A firm that collects mortgage payments and manages borrowers' escrow accounts.

Settlement - The act of adjusting and prorating the various credits, charges and settlement costs to conclude a real estate transaction.

Settlement statement - A document that details who has paid what to whom.

Severalty - Sole ownership of real property.

Shared- Appreciation mortgage   - A loan that allows a lender or other party to share in the borrower's profits when the home is sold.  

Shared-equity transaction - A transaction in which two buyers purchase a property, one as a resident co-owner and the other as an investor co-owner.

Shed ceiling  - A shed ceiling pitches upward at one end.

Shed roof  - A shed roof pitches up longer on one side than the other.

Shell lease - A lease wherein a tenant leases the unfinished shell of a building, as in a new shopping center, and agrees to complete construction himself by installing ceilings, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, and electrical wiring.

Shingle style - An alternative style of Victorian homes that evolved in the late 19th century to simplify the complexity of the traditional Victorian house.

Shingles - Thin, wedge-shaped pieces of wood or flat rectangular pieces of slate, mineral fiber, glass fiber or composition asphalt installed on a roof to prevent water seepage. shaped pieces of wood or flat rectangular pieces of slate, mineral fiber, glass fiber or composition asphalt installed on a roof to prevent water seepage.

Shoe molding - An unobtrusive finish trim between the floor and the baseboard designed to hide any irregularities in the seam between the floor and wall or baseboard.

Shoreline - The dividing line between private land and public beach on beachfront property.

Short Sale - A short sale occurs when the proceeds of a real estate sale fall short of the balance owed on the property. In a short sale, the bank or mortgage lender agrees to discount a loan balance due to an economic or financial hardship on the part of the mortgagor.

Sill cock - An exterior threaded faucet connection for garden hoses that provides water outside a home.

Sill plate - A horizontal piece of wood placed on top of the foundation.

Simple interest - Interest computed on the principal balance only.

Skylight - A window in a roof that allows natural light to illuminate a room.

Slab foundation - A foundation built directly on soil with no basement or crawl space.

Slider window  - A window that is composed of two windows, or sashes, that glide open and closed on a metal track.

Soffit - An external area under the overhang of a roof.

Soils test - A test of the subsoil to ensure that foundations can be safely constructed.

Spanish mission style - A design that is derived from the original missions established by the Spanish in the Southwest.

Special deposit account - Rehabilitation mortgages require a special deposit account from which restoration and remodeling funds included in the loan are disbursed to the appropriate contractors as work is completed.

Special warranty deed - A deed in which the grantor warrants or guarantees the title only against defects arising during the period of his tenure and ownership of the property and not against defects existing before the time of his ownership.

Specific performance - A legal action brought in a court of equity to compel a party to carry out the terms of a contract.

Specifications - The written requirements for materials, equipment, construction systems and standards.

Speculation home - A home that has been built without a buyer.

Splash block - A slanted block used to divert runoff water from a downspout away from the foundation.

Split-level style - A home that is a ranch style house stacked to fit on a smaller lot and perhaps to accommodate a garage.

Spot loan - A loan on a particular property, usually a condominium unit, by a lender who has not previously financed that particular condominium building.

Square footage - The number of square feet of livable space in a home or building.

Standard metropolitan - Statistical Area Areas designated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget that contain a city of 50,000 or more.

Standard payment calculation - A calculation that is used to determine the monthly payment necessary to repay the balance of a home loan in equal installments.

Standing loan - A commitment by the interim or construction lender to keep the money already funded in the project for a specified period of time after the expiration of the interim loan, usually until permanent takeout financing is secured. out financing is secured.

Starter home - Homes that fall within the lower price range of a typical first time buyer. time buyer.

Statute of frauds - That law which requires certain contracts to be in writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith in order to be legally enforceable.

Statute of limitations - That law pertaining to the period of time within which certain actions must be brought to court.

Steel framing - A construction method used by commercial and residential builders.

Step-rate mortgage - A loan that allows a gradual increase in the interest rate during the first few years of the loan.  

Step-up lease - A lease with fixed rent for an initial term and provision for pre-determined rent increases at specified intervals and/or increases based upon periodic appraisals; sometimes called a graduated lease.

Storm sewer - A drain line, which is not connected to the sewer line, removes all other wastewater from a home.

Storm windows - Sets of windows and screens that are installed on older double hung windows. hung windows.

Straight note - A promissory note evidencing a loan in which "interest only" payments are made periodically during the term of the note, with the principal payment due in one lump sum upon maturity.

Straight purchase - A transaction in which the buyer gives a new homebuilder a deposit to begin building and the balance when the sale of the house closes.

Strike plate - The metal part of a lock that is anchored to the doorframe and holds the door closed.

Stucco - A mixture of sand and cement used to cover the exterior surface or interior walls of a home or building.

Studs - The upright pieces of lumber or steel in a wall to which panels, siding, drywall or other coverings are attached.

Subagent - When an agent brings a buyer to a property, they in effect act as a subagent to the listing agent.

Subcontractor - Specialty construction companies hired by the general contractor to perform certain tasks.

Subdivision - The process in which the owner of a large piece of property divides it into smaller parcels.

Sub-flooring - The sheathing, usually made of plywood, placed on top of floor joists and covered by flooring.   The sheathing, usually made of plywood, placed on top of floor joists and covered by flooring.

Subject to mortgage - A grantee taking title to real property "subject to mortgage" is not personally liable to the mortgagee for payment of the mortgage note. In the event the grantor mortgagor defaults in paying the note, the grantee could, however, lose property, and thus his equity, in a foreclosure sale. mortgagor defaults in paying the note, the grantee could, however, lose property, and thus his equity, in a foreclosure sale.

Subordinate loan - A second or third mortgage.

Subordination agreement - An agreement whereby a prior mortgagee agrees to subordinate or give up their priority position to an existing or anticipated future lien.

Summary possession - A legal process used by a landlord to regain possession of the leased premises if the tenant has breached the lease or is holding over after the termination of tenancy.

Sump pump - A pump that moves water from a basement sump pit.

Surrender - A premature conveyance of a possessory estate to a person having a future interest, as when a lessee surrenders the leasehold interest to the owner of the reversion interest, the lessor, before the normal expiration of the lease.

Survivorship - The right of survivorship is that special feature of a joint tenancy whereby all title, right and interest of a decedent joint tenant in certain property passes to the surviving joint tenants by operation of law, free from claims of heirs and creditors of the decedent.

Sweat equity - The noncash value put into a piece of property by the owner, such as does cash value put into a piece of property by the owner, such as do yourself home improvements.