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Real Estate Dictionary



SALE-LEASEBACK - A sale and subsequent lease from the buyer back to the seller. The lease actually follows the sale, but both are part of the same transaction.
SALES-ASSESSMENT RATIO - The ratio of the assessed value of a property to its selling price, assumed to be the market value. Assume a house was assessed at $80,000 and sold for $100,000 is would have sold at 125% of its assessed value ($100,000 / $80,000 = 1.25).
SALES COMPARISON APPROACH - The construction and locations of homes comparable to the subject property are used to form an estimated value or appraisal.
SALES CONTRACT - Same as a sales agreement, purchase agreement, etc. Not the same as a land contract, which is a conditional sales contract. See Purchase and Sales Agreement.
SALES KIT - Materials carried by a sales person to aid in listing and sales. Today these materials may be in printed or on a laptop computer with a portable printer. The materials include forms, maps, tape measure (or inferred-measure), amortization schedules, digital camera, pens and paper.
SALESPERSON - One who is licensed to work in real estate under a licensed broker.
SATISFACTION - Discharge of an obligation by paying the amount due, such as paying off a mortgage, trust deed, contract or judgment. Also known as the recorded instrument stating payment has been made.
SAVING AND LOAN ASSOCIATION - An association chartered to hold savings and make real estate loans. S&Ls are federally insured and active in long term financing. As the laws change S&Ls are moving into areas formally reserved for banks.
SCOPE OF AUTHORITY - The authority of an agent to bind a principal. The agent may bind a principal not only when the agent has actual authority, cut implied or apparent authority as well.
SECOND MORTGAGE - A mortgage that ranks after a first mortgage in priority. A single property may have several mortgages, each ranked by a number to show which gets paid off in what order. 
SECONDARY MORTGAGE MARKET - Market where investors buy and sell existing mortgages. The purchasers of first mortgages or trust deeds are banks, government agencies, insurance companies, investment bankers, or government agencies. This allows lenders to keep an adequate supply of money available for new loans. 
SECTION - A division of land on a government survey comprising one square mile (640 acres). Thirty-six section comprise a township.  
SECURITY - Real or personal property pledged or hypothecated by a borrower, as additional protection for the lender's interest.
SECURITY INSTRUMENT - The mortgage or deed of trust verifying the pledge of real property as security for the repayment of a debt.
SECURITY (INSTALLMENT) LAND CONTRACT - A form used in California which combines a land contract with a deed of trust, creating a land contract in order to defeat a first lender's "due-on-sale" (alienation) clause but having the foreclosure provisions of a deed of trust.
SELLING AGENT - The real estate agent obtaining the buyer rather than listing the property. The listing and selling agent may be the same person or company (dual agency).
SEMI - A prefix meaning partly, one half or twice in a time period. Bi is a prefix meaning every other.
SEPARATE PROPERTY - Property owned by a husband or wife in which the other has no legal interest or ownership.
SEPTIC SYSTEM - A sewage system, whereby waste is drained through pipes and a tile field into a septic tank. Located in areas where city or county sewers have not yet been installed. 
SEPTIC TANK -  An underground tank into which a sanitary sewer drains from a building. The sewage is held until bacterial action changes the solids into liquids or gases, which are then released into the ground. 
SERVICING - The operational procedures related to the collection of home loan payments and other payments related to mortgage loans.
SHARED APPRECIATION MORTGAGE (SAM) - Loan in which the lender participates in any profits when the property is sold.
SHERIFF'S DEED - A deed given at a sheriff's sale in foreclosure of mortgage. The giving of this deed begins a statutory redemption period. 
SHORE LINE - The lands alongside navigable waterways, between the high and low water marks.
SIGN - An advertisement placed on a property showing that the property is available for "sale". One of the three best methods of selling a property along with the MLS and the Internet. 
SIGNATURE - The act of putting one's name on an instrument. It is now legal to fax or email a signature.
SIGNED, SEALED, AND DELIVERED - A phrase indication that everything necessary to convey and been done.
SIMPLE INTEREST - Interest payable on the principal amount of the loan only. Compound interest is paid on the principal and accumulated interest.
SINGLE FAMILY HOME - Originally used to distinguish a house designed for use by one family. Now included houses with no common area from a planned development or condominium. 
SITE - A term signifying a plot of land suitable or set aside for a specific use.
SITE ANALYSIS - The study of a specific parcel of land and the surrounding area to determine its suitability for a specific use.
SOIL - The top layer of earth in which plants grow and through water drains.
SOLAR HEATING - Heating by use and control of the energy of the sun.
SPECIAL ASSESSMENT - Lien assessed against real property by a public authority to pay the cost of pubic improvements (sidewalks, water pipes, sewers, streetlights, and etc.) which directly benefit the assessed property.
SPECIFICATIONS - Written details or drawings showing a contractor how to proceed with construction.
SPOUSE - One's husband or wife.
SQUARE FOOT - A one by one foot section of floor space. In construction the number of square feet in a building or piece of land is often used to help determine the sales price.
STATUTORY LIEN - An involuntary lien created by law. Includes tax liens, judgments, mechanic's liens, etc.
STRAIGHT-TERM MORTGAGE - A mortgage calling for principal to be paid in a lump sum at maturity.
SUBCONTRACTOR - One who works under a general contractor (builder), such as a roofer, framer, electrical contractor, etc.
SUBDIVISION - Commonly know as a division of a single parcel of land into smaller parcels (lots) by filing a map describing the division and by obtaining approval by a governmental commission. A condominium is sometimes called a "one lot subdivision".
SUBJECT TO CLAUSE - A clause in a deed stating that the grantee takes title "subject to" an existing mortgage. The original mortgagor is alone responsible for any deficiency, should there be foreclosure of the mortgage. Different from an assumption where one replaces another.
SUBROGATION - Substituting the legal rights and claims from one creditor to another.
SUBORDINATION AGREEMENT - An agreement by which an encumbrance is made subject (junior) to a junior encumbrance. A loan on land may be made subordinate to a construction loan.
SUBROGATION - The substitution of one person for another in order for the former to exercise certain rights or claims for the latter. For example, a life insurance policy on a person to cover a mortgage would be paid to the holder of the mortgage.  
SUBSURFACE RIGHTS - The rights (by fee or easement) to oil, gas, or minerals below a certain depth. The right to of surface entry may or may not be excluded. 
SUBURBAN - The area around a city.
SUMP PUMP - A pump used to force the collected liquid from a sump in a basement. The sump being the area that collects the liquid.
SURETY - One who voluntarily binds himself to be obligated for the debt or obligation of another. 
SURFACE RIGHTS - The rights (easements) to use the surface of land including the right to drill or mine through the surface when subsurface rights are involved.
SURFACE WATER - Water that spreads over the land and stays on the surface. Swamp or water that percolates thought the ground.
SURRENDER - The giving up of an estate, such as a lease. 
SURVEY - The measurement of the boundaries of a parcel of land, its area, and sometimes its topography.
SUSPENDED - A loan can be suspended when more information is required. The application is neither approved or denied. 
SYNDICATE -An association of individuals formed for the purpose of carrying on some particular business venture n which the members have a mutual interest. 
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