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September 29, 2008

 Glossary of Terms

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  • Sale-leaseback
    A transaction in which the buyer leases back the property to the seller for a specified period of time.

  • Sales contract
    A contract signed by the buyer and sellerthat 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.

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

  • Second mortgage
    Another loan placed upon a piece of property.

  • Secondary mortgage market
    A market of packaged home loans that are resold as securities to investors. Major players are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

  • Secured loan
    Any loan backed by collateral.

  • Security
    Apiece of property designated as collateral.

  • 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.

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

  • Setback
    The minimum distance a house or buildings must be from the lot line.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 assessment
    When a homeowners' association needs or wants extra funds, it levies a special assessment upon the owners.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Straight purchase
    A transaction in which the buyer gives a new-home builder 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.

  • Subordinate loan
    A second or third mortgage.

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

  • Survey
    A precise measurement of a piece of property by a licensed surveyor.

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