Default Mercury


# | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Sales concession

A cost paid by the seller even though the cost is usually paid by the buyer.

Sales contract
A contract signed by the buyer and seller detailing the terms of a property sale.

A situation in which the grantor in a deed to a parcel of property sells it and retains possession by simultaneously leasing it from the grantee.

Sanitary sewer
The drain line in a house that carries away wastewater to a sewer or septic system.

One of two windows in a double-hung window.

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

A wall-mounted light fixture.

In title industry parlance, a careful exploration and examination of the public records in an effort to find all recorded instruments relating to a particular chain of title.

Second mortgage
A second loan placed upon a piece of property.

Secondary mortgage market
A financial market of packaged home loans that are resold as securities to investors.

Secured loan
A loan backed by collateral.

A piece of property designated as collateral.

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

Seller financing
The seller allows the borrower to use a portion of the equity in the property to finance the purchase.

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

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

Selling agent
A real estate broker or salesperson who writes the purchase offer for a buyer in a real estate transaction but may not actually represent the buyer.

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

Real property owned by one spouse exclusive of any interest of the other spouse.

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

Service conductor
The wires extending from the home's service equipment to the utility company's line.

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

The minimum distance a house or building must be from the lot line.

Settlement or closing fees
Fees paid to the escrow agent (often a title insurance company) for carrying out the written instructions of the agreement between buyer and seller and/or borrower and lender.

Settlement statement
A closing statement or settlement sheet that outlines all closing costs on a real estate transaction or refinancing for the buyer and seller.

Changing an item from real property to personal property by detaching it from the land.

A thick wood (often cedar) shingle used for roofs and siding.

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.

Sheets of material applied across floors, rafters or studs.

Shed ceiling
A ceiling that pitches upward at one end.

Shed roof
A roof that pitches up further on one side than the other.

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

A milled pattern of siding designed to shed water when applied horizontally.

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)

Shutoff valve
The small valve under a sink or behind a toilet that controls the water supply to the plumbing fixture.

Covers mounted at either side of a window.

Tall, narrow windows that stand on one or both sides of a door to admit light and allow residents to see the person at the door.

A type of covering on a home's exterior walls.

The lowest horizontal member across a door or window opening. In the case of a door, the sill is often called a threshold.

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.

Sill sealer
A material that seals gaps between the foundation and sill plate.

Simple assumption
A type of loan assumption where the original borrower remains secondarily liable should the assumptor default.

Single agent
Any agent who represents either the buyer or the seller in a transaction.

Single-pole switch
A conventional light switch that controls one or more lights from a single location.

Sink trap
The P- or S-shaped section of drainpipe directly beneath a sink.  Its shape is intended to hold a small amount of water so that it blocks sewer gasses from rising into the house.

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.

A spring-like device fastened between the top of a door and the door jamb to pull the door shut.

An external area under the overhang of a roof.

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

Sole plate
The bottom horizontal component of a frame wall on which the studs sit.

Solid-core door
A door with a solid interior.

A special board used beneath the wallboard to reduce the transmission of sound through the wall.

Special assessment
A charge levied upon owners in a homeowners' association for the purpose of public improvements.

Special Forbearance
A loss mitigation option where the lender arranges a revised repayment plan for the borrower that may include a temporary reduction or suspension of monthly loan payments.

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

Speculation home (also known as a spec 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.

A thin piece of wood, metal or vinyl that secures a joint.

Split-level style
A home style similar to ranch style but 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.

One who settles upon unoccupied land without legal claim or authority. (
See "Adverse Possession")

Standard metropolitan statistical area (SMSA)
A designation given by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to cities of 50,000 or more residents.

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

A copy of the last policy or report issued by a title insurer which described the title to land upon which a new search is to be made. In some states, this is called a back title letter or back title certificate.

Starter home
A first home that is generally of a lower-than-average price.

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.

Stigmatized property
Property that has an undesirable reputation because of an event that occurred on or near the site.

The vertical members that make up a door's construction.

Part of the interior window frame that, like a shelf, extends horizontally across the lower part of the opening.

A thin strip of wood fastened to the face of a doorjamb, intended to stop the door when you close it (sometimes called a doorstop).

Storm sewer
A drain line not connected to the sewer line that removes all other wastewater from a home.

Storm window
A window installed on top of an ordinary window for additional protection in extreme weather conditions.

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

Interest-bearing bonds issued, usually by a city or county, to secure the payment of assessments levied against land to pay for street improvements. The property owner may pay off the particular assessment against the property, or may allow the assessment to "go to bond" and pay installments of principal and interest over a period of years, usually at the city or county treasurer's office. The holder of a bond received payments from these offices.

Strike plate
Flat metal plate fastened to a doorjamb that receives a lockset's latch or bolt to keep a door closed.

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

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

An agent who assists another agent in representing a principal, or party, in a transaction.  A seller's subagent who writes the buyer's offer owes loyalty to the seller, though many states presume any agent working with a buyer is the buyer's agent.

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

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 public utilities.

The plywood or boards beneath finish flooring that, nailed directly to floor joists, provides a structural base for finish materials.

The transfer of rights to pay a debt from one party to another, with the original party remaining liable for the debt if the second party defaults.

To place in a rank of lesser importance or to make one claim secondary to another.

Subordinate loan
A second or third mortgage.

An agreement by which one encumbrance (for example, a mortgage) is made subject to another encumbrance (for example, a mortgage) is made subject to another encumbrance (perhaps a lease). To subordinate is to make subject to, or to make of lower priority.

Subsequent rate adjustments
The interest rate for adjustable rate loans (ARMs) adjusts at regular intervals.  This adjustment period could in some cases differ from the initial interest rate duration period.

Subsequent rate cap
A specific limit defined by most adjustable rate loans (ARMs) for the maximum amount the interest rate may increase at each regularly scheduled interest rate adjustment date.  This limit may differ from the initial rate cap.

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

Super jumbo mortgage
A mortgage that is over $650,000 or $1,000,000, depending on the lender.

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 (no explicit reservation or exception of the surface rights) or explicitly set forth.

The material surrounding a bathtub or shower.

The measurement by a surveyor of real property which delineates the boundaries of a parcel of land. An ALTA survey additionally delineates the exact location of all improvements, encroachments, easements and other matters affecting the title to the property in question. A survey may be required by a title insurance company whenever the company is requested to issue an ALTA Extended Coverage Policy.

A wide, shallow depression in the ground designed to channel drainage of rainwater.

Sweat equity
Using labor to build or improve a property as part of the down payment.