Glossary of Terms - S

Sales Price:

The gross price paid for a property.

Second Mortgage:

A mortgage that has a lien position subordinate to the first mortgage.

Secondary Mortgage Market:

The market in which mortgage loan and mortgage-backed securities are bought and sold.

Secured Loan:

A loan that is backed by property such as a house, car, jewelry, etc.


The property that will be given or pledged as collateral for a loan.


Financial forms that shows the holder owns a share or shares of a company (stocks) or has loaned money to a company or government organization (bonds).


The owner of a property who has entered into a listing agreement with a real estate licensee to sell the property.

Sellers’ Market:

The market condition which exists when a seller is in a more commanding position as to price and terms because demand exceeds supply.

Seller Take-Back:

An agreement in which the seller of a property provides financing to the buyer for the home purchase. See also “Owner Financing.”


A firm that performs servicing functions, including collecting mortgage payments, paying the borrower’s taxes and insurance and generally managing borrower escrow accounts.


The tasks a lender performs to protect the mortgage investment, including the collection of mortgage payments, escrow administration, and delinquency management.

Set Back Lines:

The lines that delineate the required distances for the location of structures in relation to the perimeter of the property or other structures on the property.


The process of completing a loan transaction at which time the mortgage documents are signed and then recorded, funds are disbursed, and the property is transferred to the buyer (if applicable). Also called closing or escrow in different jurisdictions. See also “Closing”

Settlement Statement:

A document that lists all closing costs on a consumer mortgage transaction.

Sheriff’s Deed:

A deed given by court order in connection with the sale of a property to satisfy an outstanding judgment.


When a listed property is shown to prospective buyers or the buyers’ agent.

Single-Family Properties:

One- to four-unit properties including detached homes, townhouses, condominiums, and cooperatives, and manufactured homes attached to a permanent foundation and classified as real property under applicable state law.

Soft Second Loan:

A second mortgage whose payment is forgiven or is deferred until resale of the property.

Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act:

A federal law that restricts the enforcement of civilian debts against certain military personnel who may not be able to pay because of active military service. It also provides other protections to certain military personnel.

Special Assessment:

A special and additional charge charged to a unit in a condominium or cooperative.  This term also means a special tax imposed on property for improvements that benefit the property, such as road construction, sidewalks, sewers, street lights and other improvements.

State Association of REALTORS®:

An association of REALTORS® in a specific state.

Statute of Frauds:

A state law, based on the common law, requiring certain contracts to be in writing and signed before they will be enforceable at law, such as contracts for the sale of real property and contracts not be performed within one year.


An area of land laid out and divided into lots, blocks and building sites and in which public facilities are laid out, such as streets, alleys, parks and easements for utilities.


A lease to occupy and use property granted by a lessee.

Subordinate Financing:

Any mortgage or other lien with lower priority than the first mortgage.

Subsurface Rights:

The rights of ownership to things lying beneath the physical surface of the property.


A person who agrees to be responsible for a debt or obligation of another.  This term also means the pledge or agreement by which one undertakes responsibility for the debt or obligation of another.

Surface Rights:

The rights to enter upon and use the surface of a parcel of land, usually in connection with an oil and gas lease or other mineral lease.  They may be “implied” by the language of the lease or “explicitly” set forth.


A precise measurement of a property by a licensed surveyor, showing legal boundaries of a property and the dimensions and location of improvements.  A survey is often required by the mortgage lender to assure them that a building is actually sited on the land according to its legal description.

Sweat Equity:

A borrower’s contribution to the down payment for the purchase of a property in the form of labor or services rather than cash.