Real Estate Definitions
Sales comparison approach: The method of evaluating a property's value by comparing it to actual sales prices and values of comparable properties.
Sale-leaseback: A transaction in which a seller deeds property to a buyer for a consideration, and the buyer simultaneously leases the property back to the seller.
SBA: Abbreviation for the Small Business Administration.
Second mortgage, or junior mortgage: A mortgage whose claim to repayment is of lesser priority than another, previously recorded mortgage, usually or shorter term and often at higher interest.
Secondary market: Agents or agencies that buy mortgages from primary lenders, usually at discounted prices, to sell to investors.
Section, or Section of land: A parcel of land measuring one square mile or 640 acres.
Set Back Lines: The distance designated by zoning regulations that is required between the perimeter of a property and where structures can be positioned.
Secured loan: A loan guaranteed by collateral.
Security: The property pledged as collateral for a loan or mortgage.
Seller take-back: A contract whereby the seller of a property provides financing, sometimes as part of an assumable mortgage.
Severalty, or Sole ownership: Ownership of real property by only one individual.
Special assessment: An additional tax imposed by the government against specific parcels of real estate that will benefit from a public improvement, such as a street.
Special warranty deed: An agreement whereby the current owner/seller guarantees he has done nothing that would impair or cloud title, but does not make any guarantee for what occurred prior to his ownership of the property.
Specific performance: A legal action that requires a party to honor the terms of a contract.
Statute of limitations: The time period allowed for the filing of a legal suit to enforce a claim, after which any such claims are barred.
Step-rate mortgage: A loan that allows for the interest rate to increase in increments according to a designated schedule for a specified period of time, at the end of which, the interest rate returns to a constant percentage.
Subagent: An individual or party who is employed by someone already acting as an agent.
Subdivision: A tract of property that is divided into streets and individual lots.
Subject to: Taking ownership of a property with a lien (legal claim or charge) against it, but not assuming responsibility for the said lien, while the holder who forecloses the lien can take the property, but may not collect money from the owner who took "subject to".
Subsidized second mortgage: An alternative financing option for low- and moderate-income households, issued by a state or county housing foundation, agency or nonprofit corporation, whereby the buyer can purchase a first mortgage with a subsidized second mortgage behind it; payment on the second mortgage is often deferred and carries a low or no interest rate, and a portion of the mortgage may be forgiven incrementally for each year the buyer resides in the home.
Survey: The process of determining property areas, by measuring its dimensions, lot lines and other physical features. Also, the map that results from such measurements taken.