Dictionary S

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sacrificial anode
A metal rod inserted into a water heater to extend the life of the tank.
A real estate transaction in which the buyer leases back the property to the seller for a specific period of time. Also called seller rent-back.
sales concession
A cost paid by the seller, even though the cost is customarily paid by the buyer.
sales contract
A contract signed by the buyer and seller that 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.
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sanitary sewer
The drain line in a house that carries away wastewater to a municipal sewer system or a septic system.
One of two windows in a double-hung window.
schematic designs
Renderings of floor plans and the exterior of a
A wall-mounted light fixture.
second mortgage
A second 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 in this market are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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secured loan
A loan backed by collateral.
A piece of property designated as collateral.
seller carry-back
An agreement in which 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 rent-back
A real estate transaction in which the buyer leases the property back to the seller for a specific period of time. Also called sale-leaseback.
seller take-back
An agreement in which the seller provides financing for a home purchase.
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seller’s market
A hot 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 aspects of the home, but not to the home’s structural plan.
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.
service entrance conductor
The wire between the terminals of the panel and the connection with the service conductor.
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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 (and 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 document that details who has paid what to whom.
Ownership f real property by one person. Also known as sole ownership.
Changing an item from real property to personal property by detaching it from the and.
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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 ches up further on one side than the other.
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shingle ripper
A flat, bar-like tool with a sharp hook that’s designed to make removing shingles an easier job. You slip the hook up under wood shingles then rap the tool with a hammer to shear-off nails with the sharp hook.
shingle style
An alternative style of Victorian home that evolved in the late 19th century to simplify the complexity of the traditional Victorian house.
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.
A milled pattern of siding designed to shed water when applied horizontally.
shoe molding
An unobtrusive finish trim between the floor and the baseboard. Shoe molding is designed to hide any irregularities in the seam between the floor and wall or baseboard.
shutoff valve
While a shutoff valve may be any water or gas valve, it generally refers to the small valve under a sink or behind a toilet that controls the water supply to the plumbing fixture.
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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. Also known as door lights.
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 ome.
sill plate
A horizontal piece of wood placed on top of the foundation.
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sill sealer
A material that seals gaps between the foundation and sill plate.
simple assumption
A type of loan assumption in which 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.
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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.
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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.
Spanish mission style
A design derived from Spanish missions established in the Southwest.
special assessment
An amount of money levied upon owners in a homeowners’ association for the purpose of public improvements.
special deposit account
An account required in rehabilitation mortgages. Restoration and remodeling funds included in the loan are disbursed from the special deposit account to the appropriate contractors as work is completed.
The written requirements for materials, equipment, and construction systems and standards.
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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.
A thin piece of wood, metal, or vinyl that secures a joint. In the case of a window screen, a wood or vinyl spline seals the screen fabric into a groove cut in the screen window or door.
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.
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.
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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
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. The hinge stile receives the hinges; the lock stile receives the lockset.
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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 windows 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.
strike plate
Flat metal plate fastened to a doorjamb that receives a lockset’s latch or bolt to ep a door closed.
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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.
The division of a large piece of property into smaller parcels. Also, the divided property itself.
The plywood or boards beneath finish flooring that, nailed directly to floor joists, provides a structural base for finish materials.
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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.
subordinate loan
A second or third mortgage.
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
sump pump
A pump that moves water from a basement sump pit.
The material surrounding a bathtub or shower.
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A precise measurement of a piece of property by a licensed surveyor.
A wide, shallow depression in the ground designed to channel drainage of rainwater.
sweat equity
The non-cash value added to a piece of property by the owner, such as do-it-yourself home improvements.