Real Estate Glossary S [Part 3]


Continued from…

:point_right: Real Estate Glossary S [Part 2]

Shared appreciation mortgage (SAM)

A type of participation mortgage in which the lender gets a share of the increase in value of the property when it is sold. In some cases, the borrower agrees to share with the lender the increase in the home’s (or business property’s) value in exchange for a reduction in the current market interest rate of up to 40 percent. The normal limit is ten years, with long-term financing guaranteed at the market rate after that or a share of the money when the house or business property is sold. Under Superfund regulations, lenders who are taking part need to be careful about how they might be responsible for cleaning up dangerous situations.

A mortgage in which the lender lowers the interest rate below market and then participates in the property’s future appreciation.

Shared equity mortgage (SEM)

An external investor contributes all or part of the required equity and receives a portion of the property’s future profits.


When acquiring an apartment in a cooperative building, the apartment is not purchased directly as real estate, but rather shares in the cooperative business.


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Shear block

Face-nailed plywood attached to short wall studs (above a door or window, for example). This is done so the wall doesn’t move and fall down.

Shear wall

Permanent structure wall that gives stability on the sides.

Sheathing, sheeting

The covering made of OSB or plywood that goes over the studs, floor joists, or rafters/trusses of a building.

Shed roof

A roof that has only one plane that slopes.

Sheet metal duct work

The heating system is made up of metal pipes and sheet metal (for Return Air) that are usually round or rectangular and are set up so that warm (or cold) air from the furnace can be sent to different rooms in the house.

Sheet metal work

All sheet metal components of a house, such as flashing, gutters, and downspouts.

Sheet rock Drywall, Wall board or gypsum

A panel that is made in a factory. It is made of gypsum plaster and thin cardboard.

Shell lease

A contract in which the tenant promises to complete construction by adding ceilings, plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and electrical wiring, as in a new shopping mall. Under a shell lease, the landlord and tenant must agree on who will pay the real property taxes on the premises. Numerous shell leases stipulate that all improvements remain the tenant’s personal property and that the tenant is responsible for paying taxes on the improvements.

Sheriff’s deed

A deed that a court gives to make sure that property is sold to pay off a judgment.

Sherman antitrust act

The 1890 act is the main federal law about competition. Most courts define competition as “a state of the economy in which prices are set by market forces without interference from private interests and most businesses are reasonably open to new customers.” Section I of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, says that “every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states or with foreign nations is declared to be illegal.”

Shift in demand

The effect of a change in the price-quantity relationship.


A little wedge-shaped piece of scrap timber or shingle that, when placed behind a furring strip or frame member, drives it into position.


Asphalt is used to cover roofs.

Shingles, siding

Various varieties of shingles used over sheathing for a structure’s outer wall covering.

Shoe molding

A thin piece of wood that covers the joint between the baseboard and the floorboards. The shoe molding makes the room look better and helps keep draughts out.

Shop drawings

Building drawings are representations of elements on the contract agreements created by various construction trades. Workplace drawings communicate both the language of the trade and the language of the shop where the job will be executed.

Shoppers’ goods

The segmentation of a population group in order to identify marketing subgroups.


The process of making a deal and then looking for another one with better terms.

Shopping center

Integrated and self-contained shopping centre managed by a single entity, typically in the suburbs.

Modern stores that are grouped together and have parking off the street. They have to follow a uniform development plan, and the right mix of stores is usually carefully thought out. After World War II, large swaths of land in the suburbs that had been empty were turned into shopping centres. This was done because retail and consumer service stores followed their customers to the suburbs.

Most neighborhood centres have a supermarket, a variety store, a gas station, and a few smaller shops that sell only one thing. They are made to serve the people in the area. The “strip centre” is the simplest and most common type of shopping centre. Stores are built in a line facing the street or parking lot, and there is an anchor store at each end, like a supermarket and a large drugstore.

There are usually supermarkets, department stores, variety stores, drugstores, and clothing shops in community centres. They are designed to serve the whole community and are bigger than neighborhood centres.

Regional centres are big, planned areas with up to 50 or more stores, some of which are national chains. Sometimes they are inside malls. Regional shopping centres are a way of life in many suburban areas because they are easy to get to, have free parking, and have a lot of things to choose from.

Most shopping centre leases are net leases, which means that the rent is based on a percentage. The percentages that apply to different types and sizes of stores vary a lot. For example, large department stores pay a lower minimum rent per square foot and a lower percentage than smaller stores. All tenants must be members of a merchants’ association, which advertises the shopping centre through its members. Stores must be open during set hours and only be used for the things that are allowed in the lease. Tenants must pay their fair share of taxes, maintenance, and insurance, agree to have their books checked, and sometimes use a special type of register to show the landlord that the gross sales on which the percentage ratio is based are being recorded correctly. The landlord might even hire spot buyers to make sure that all sales are recorded correctly in the register.

Most shopping centre leases have a “radius clause” that says the landlord can’t rent space to the tenant’s competitors within a certain distance of the shopping centre or that the tenant can’t open another store within a certain distance of the centre. But the Sherman Antitrust Act says that these noncompetition clauses are against the law because they stop people from doing business in a fair way.

A group of retail establishments with a shared parking lot.


On beachfront property, the line between private land and the public beach. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the shoreline boundary should be set by the “mean high-water mark.” Some coastal states, on the other hand, now think of shoreline property up to the high wash of the waves as public land. This can be seen by the plant line.

Because of these court cases, a smart seller of waterfront property will carefully describe the land area in approximate terms, like “approximately 10,000 square feet” or “10,000 square feet, more or less,” and a smart buyer will insist that the property be resurveyed to find out the correct land area.

A seller who wants to be safe can add clauses like the ones below to a sales contract:

Buyer agrees that the property being sold is a beachfront lot and accepts that there could be a disagreement about where the property’s shoreline boundary is exactly. Buyer agrees not to sue the seller if there is a dispute or if the size of the property gets smaller because of how the dispute is resolved.


The use of timbers to prevent earth from sliding adjacent to an excavation. Shoring is also the use of timbers as bracing against a wall to support loads temporarily during construction.

Short circuit

A condition that occurs when hot and neutral wires come into contact. Fuses and circuit breakers protect against fires caused by short circuits.

Short rate

A higher rate is charged for a shorter period of time than what was originally agreed upon. The higher premium that an insurance company charges when a policy is canceled early. This is to make up for the fact that the original rate was based on the full length of the policy. This higher fee affects a buyer’s decision about whether to take over the seller’s existing homeowners’ hazard insurance policy or to cancel it and get a new policy.

A sale of secured real estate that brings in less money than is owed to the lender. This is also called a “short pay,” because the lender releases its mortgage or trust deed so that the new buyer can buy the property free and clear. In essence, the lender decides to cut its losses by agreeing to a negotiated sale instead of going through the time and cost of a foreclosure action, which could lead to the lender owning the asset and putting it on its books as “real estate owned.” Since the housing crisis of 2009, there are more short sales than there used to be. Even though the lender’s name isn’t on the title, it often has the power to tell the brokers how to handle their commissions before the sale goes through.

Short sale

Any real estate transaction in which the proceeds are less than the amount due on the property.

Short-form document

A short document that mentions a contract, like a mortgage (called a fictitious mortgage), lease, option, or sales contract, and just says that a contract has been made between the parties covering certain described premises. This meets the requirements for recording, but the main terms and conditions of the transaction are kept secret. For example, a short-form lease might say something like, “This lease has been made based on the rents, terms, covenants, and conditions in a certain other agreement or lease between the parties here to and bearing the same date as this one.”

Short-term capital gain

Gain from the sale or exchange of an asset held for less than one year is referred to as short-term capital gains tax. As a result, ordinary income tax rates apply to short-term capital gains (after subtracting short-term capital losses).

Short-term capital gains

Gains on the sale of capital assets held for six months or less are taxable.

A profit on the sale of a capital asset kept for the required amount of time in order to obtain a long-term capital gain.


Common language in laws that means something is suggested but not required.


Lightweight louvred decorative frames in the shape of doors that are usually situated on the sides of a window. For protection, certain shutters are designed to close over the window.

Sick building syndrome (SBS)

Indoor air quality problems in commercial and industrial buildings cause symptoms in at least 20% of building occupants that go away when they leave the building and can’t be traced to specific pollutants or sources in the building. These problems are called “indoor air pollution.” Some of the signs are headaches, tiredness, and irritation of the skin and eyes. Formaldehyde, which is used in carpets, paints, and pressed wood, pesticides, heated fragrance oils, which are biological organisms made from petroleum, and combustion-promoted pollutants are often thought to be pollutants. Buildings that are sealed to save energy also add to the problem.

Side sewer

The part of the sanitary sewer that links the waste water lines inside the building to the main sewer lines.


Boards that are nailed to the vertical studs, with or without sheathing in between, to make the outside surface of the building walls. Wood, metal, or masonry sheets can be used to make siding.

The finished outer covering of a frame building’s outside walls.

Siding, (lap siding)

Using boards with a slight wedge form, outside sheathing is covered with a lapped pattern of these siding boards.


A viewing plane or channel. The Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) of some subdivisions have requirements meant to maintain maximum sight lines on lots with view potential.

Sign restriction clause

A clause in a lease limiting the use of certain types of signage.


This is a slang word for signs, and it is usually used to talk about whether there are any rules about the size or location of signs on the property.


Use of any name, including a trade or fictitious name, on an instrument, or any word or mark used as and meant to be a written signature. A signature can be written by hand, typed, printed, stamped, or made in any other way, even with a pencil. But for a document to be recorded, it usually has to be signed in black ink and have the full name of the person who wrote it (i.e., the name used to sign checks). If a person can’t write, they can use a mark instead, like “John X (his mark) Brown.” “Amanuensis” is the word for this type of signature. All but the X can be typed, but the X has to be written by hand. In some states, a witness must be present when a deed or contract for deed is signed.

Under the statute of frauds, a real estate sales contract must be “in writing and signed by the person to be charged with it.”

"This signature doesn’t have to be at the end of the paper, but it usually is. But if a law says a document has to be signed, it has to be signed at the end. For example, at least two witnesses to a will must sign their names at the end of the will in front of the person who wrote the will, who has already signed above their names.

A real estate contract cannot be signed by an attorney-in-fact unless that person has a written power of attorney (under the equal-dignities rule). When the two parties want to record the documents, they should also record the power of attorney. The right way to sign is for the attorney-in-fact to put the name of the principal first, then sign his own name as attorney-in-fact: “John Fred Principal, by John William Agent, his attorney-in-fact.”

Only the person who will be charged needs to sign a listing agreement. So, if the husband gives the broker a listing that the wife doesn’t sign, the broker still has a valid employment contract against the husband. All co-owners, including a husband and wife, must sign the necessary transfer documents in order to sell a property. However, they don’t have to all sign the same document; they could sign separate deeds instead.

Lessors must sign written leases in order for them to be valid, since they are giving up possession. Even though lessees don’t have to sign the document if they agree to the terms and take possession of the leased property, it is best for both the lessor and lessee to read the document and sign it to avoid disagreements.

When signing a document, a fiduciary needs to say what role they are signing in. For example, “Angelo Domini, as legal guardian of Charlie Sanchez, a minor,” is how a guardian should sign. Also, a trust document should say "Angelo Domini, as trustee for the Charlie Sanchez Trust, and not as an individual.


Printed display boards are often used to let people know that a house or apartment is for sale. Many communities make it illegal to put up signs that say “For Sale, Sold, or For Rent” to stop blockbusting, protect the value of existing homes, and stop the impression that there are too many homes for sale in the area. Even though the First Amendment gives people the right to free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out at least one local law that made it illegal to put up “For Sale” signs in a community. Putting up signs like “Brookshire Condo Complex-Tum Right Three Blocks” on public land or a public right-of-way is usually against the law.

As a form of advertising, signs must follow all rules, such as federal laws about being honest about loans and real estate licenses. Usually, you need permission from the owner to put a “For Sale” sign on their property.

Silent partner

A business partner who doesn’t do anything.

Silent second

A second mortgage that is not recorded and is usually kept secret from the owner of the first mortgage.


The house frame’s lowest horizontal member, which sits atop the foundation wall and serves as a foundation for the studs. The term can also refer to the lowest horizontal member in a window or door frame.

The wood plate framework part that is bolted to the foundation wall and sits flat against it, and on which the floor joists are erected.

The piece of wood framing that is flat against the foundation wall and is bolted to it.

Sill cock

A water faucet on the outside.

Sill plate (mudsill)

A mudsill is the bottom horizontal part of an outside wall frame that lies on top of a foundation.

Sill seal

Insulation, either fibreglass or foam, is put between the foundation wall and the sill (wood) plate.


Sedimentation in water caused by soil erosion and rainwater runoff.

Simple interest

Interest is calculated only on the principal balance, not on unpaid but previously earned interest.

Simple linear regression

A statistical approach for determining the relationship between two variables.

Simplified employee plan (SEP)

Both the employer and the employee can put money into this type of pension plan. It is easier to set up and run than most Keoghs and can be used by people who work for themselves. Since 2003, self-employed people can deduct investment contributions up to the limit for profit-sharing Keoghs, but not more than that. Employees need to be a part of the plan. SEP-IRA lets the taxpayer set up the plan early in the year and get a tax break for the year before.


The creation of a model that serves as a simplified depiction of reality, allowing the influence of numerous aspects to be identified and quantified.

Single agency

Representing either the buyer or the seller in a transaction, but not both at the same time. The person who hired the single-agency broker to represent him or her can pay the broker directly or through an authorized commission split.

When one of the broker’s buyer clients wants to buy one of the broker’s own listings, the broker does not act as a dual agent. Instead, the broker will suggest that one of the parties (usually the buyer) find another broker or go through with the deal on their own.

Single hung window

A window with a single vertically moving sash or vent.

Single licensing

The previous way of regulating salespeople and brokers has been replaced by a state statute requiring all real estate agents to hold the same license. The state of Colorado was the first to implement a single license.

Single-factor asset pricing model

A model for calculating needed risk-adjusted rates of return that divides investment risk into two categories: systematic (or macroeconomic) risk and property-specific risk ( or microeconomic).


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Single-family housing

A single-family home that is either attached or detached and has direct access to a street. It does not share heating or other important building facilities with any other home.

A single-family home is a form of residential housing.

Single-family residence

A building that is kept up and used as a single dwelling unit for one family, like a private home. This is the opposite of a condo, an apartment building, or a PUD. Most of the time, a subdivider only lets single-family homes be built on subdivided lots. If the subdivider wants to make sure that someone doesn’t use the property for a duplex, they should make sure that it can only be used for single-family detached homes.

“Even if a dwelling unit shares one or more walls with another dwelling unit, it shall be considered a single-family residence if it has direct access to a street or thoroughfare and does not share hot water equipment or any other essential facility with any other dwelling unit,” says the typical landlord-tenant code.

Zoning laws can limit the number of people who can live in a place or make it so that only one family can live there, but they can’t define “family” in a way that is arbitrary or unfair. For example, a commercial boarding house might not belong in a single-family residential zone, but a situation where people live together, like when several elderly couples share a house, might not be considered wrong. Some laws define a “family” as a group of people living together as a unit, even if they are not married. This includes unmarried people and their children.

Single-load corridor

A building term for a building design in which apartments are only on one side of a corridor and a wall runs along the other side. The other option is to have apartments on both sides of the hallway, like in a lot of hotels.

Sinking fund

A money placed aside that, when compounded, will equal a certain amount after a certain length of time.

A fund that is set up to slowly save up enough money to pay off a debt or meet a certain need; a fund that is set up to have a certain amount of money at the end of a certain amount of time, like a fund to pay off debentures. The sinking fund method of depreciation involves making regular investments of the same amount of money into an account that earns compound interest. At the end of the improvement’s useful life, the investment plus the compound interest is used to replace the improvement.

Example: Let’s say a store owner signs a 20-year lease with an option to buy the store for $100,000 at the end of the lease. To have $100,000 at the end of the term, the operator would have to put aside the principal amount of $3,024 each year in a sinking fund, assuming a 5 percent compounded annual return ($100,000 times 0.03024, the factor in a sinking fund table for a 5 percent compound return over 20 years). The reinvestment method is another name for it. This is one way for a condo association to set up a fund for maintenance needs.

A savings account whose purpose is to amass a certain sum of money over time. Over the course of the allotted time period, the sum of the periodic deposits plus the compound interest will equal the target sum.

Sinking fund factor

The amount that must be deposited on a regular basis at a particular interest rate for a specified time period in order to total $1.00 at the conclusion of the period.

Sinking fund payments

Payments extracted from a fund put aside from property revenue that, plus interest accumulated, will ultimately pay for the replacement of the improvements.

Sinking fund recapture technique

A recapture computation that entails calculating the recapture rate so that the total of recovered capital and compound interest will accrue an amount equal to the wasting asset’s cost throughout the useful life of the asset.


How a piece of land is set up, where it is, or where it is.

A piece of property.

Site analysis

Locating and assessing potential locations that will achieve a desired goal or use.

Site factors

Relevant aspects of a location or site that are often overlooked but crucial in analysis and evaluation (including relative location, visibility, aesthetics, landscaping, condition of existing structures, regulatory mechanisms, and lot size).

Site office

A temporary location, other than the main office or branch office, where real estate activities pertaining to a specific piece of real property (open house), real estate condominium project, or real estate subdivision are handled. To be designated a site office, the office must be located on or near to the specified property, condominium project, or subdivision, and it must comply with city and county regulations regarding temporary land use. Typically, neither a particular license nor a broker in control of the office are required for a brokerage firm to run a site office.

Site plan

Structures, parking, streets, and other aspects of a development or subdivision project are depicted on a map.

Site selection

Finding the optimal location for a given purpose.

Site value

the value of an unencumbered piece of land, less any improvements, at the time of a municipal valuation; the land component of a developed property


An online database of accessible buildings and locations, as well as research parks and decommissioned military bases.


  1. The way people feel about a certain place.

  2. The place where something exists or comes from; the place where the law says something (like a right) is located.


This is a piece of material that covers the gap between a room’s floor and wall.

Sky lease

A contract for the use of the airspace above a property.


A window is an opening in a roof that is made of glass and is meant to let light in.

A window on the roof of a building that is more or less flat.


A flat, horizontal area made of reinforced concrete. It is usually the floor of a building, but it can also be the outside or the roof.

Between the beams, supporting columns, and the walls is a reinforced concrete floor.

Slab on grade

A foundation with a concrete floor that is built straight into the soil. The slab’s edge is often thicker and serves as the foundation for the walls.

Slab, door

A square door that doesn’t have any hinges or a frame.


Concrete cement that is occasionally used to fill the vertical face of foundation void material.

Slander of title

A tort or civil wrong in which someone says hurtful, untrue things about someone else’s property rights with the intent to hurt them. The bad thing can be said out loud or written down, but it must be told to someone else (s). Some statements, like a lis pendens pleading filed in the right court, are protected. A slander of title action could be filed if a satisfied judgment lien is not removed even though the debt has been paid.


A piece of wood that is set into concrete, like in a floor, to hold up the subfloor or flooring and keep it in place.

Sleeper note

Interest and principal are due at the same time on a future date in a promissory note.


Under a concrete driveway or sidewalk, a pipe or low-voltage wire can be put in place.


A roof’s pitch is given as a ratio of the rise (in inches) to the run (in inches) (in feet). Also see pitch.


A section of a city where the housing stock is degrading.


The moisture content of concrete. A 3" slump is dryer and stiffer than a 5" slump.

Slum clearance

The removal of old, dilapidated structures so that the land can be put to better, more productive use. This is usually done to get rid of subpar and often unsanitary living conditions. HUD is actively involved in slum clearance, frequently replacing dilapidated structures with new low-income housing.

Small business administration (SBA)

A government agency that was made to take over the Reconstruction Finance Corporation’s work with small businesses. An administrator who is chosen by the president runs the SBA. Its job is to run the programme that the federal government has set up to help small businesses stay open and grow. The SBA is allowed, among other things, to give loans to small businesses to help them build, convert, or expand their plants, or even buy land. These loans can be made directly by the government or with the help of private lenders. Before the SBA can make a direct loan, it has to try to get a private lender to join the loan.

Small claims court

A part of the district court that only handles cases with claims that don’t go over a certain amount, such as $1,000 before interest and costs. The goal of the small claims court is to give people a place to settle small disagreements quickly and cheaply. One of the most important things about these courts is that lawyers are usually not allowed to take part in the proceedings.

If a landlord and a tenant disagree about whether or not the landlord has the right to keep all or part of the security deposit, either one of them can start a case in the small claims section of the district court.

Smart growth

Existing community regeneration, compact design, walkable neighborhoods, feeling of place, protection of open space and crucial environment, and community involvement in development are all part of the planning philosophy.

Social obsolescence

A decrease in value caused by an area’s socioeconomic circumstances.


The space beneath the eaves and overhangs. The underside of the roof where it overhangs the walls. The underside of a cornice that is overhanging.

  1. The outside bottom of eaves, beams, and overhangs.

  2. The space between the ceiling and the cabinets in a kitchen that has been finished.

Soft construction costs

Other than the expenses of the actual physical construction, the costs of constructing and leasing a building.

Soft costs

Permits, legal fees, finance and insurance fees, architectural and design fees, other professional fees, and marketing charges are all included in construction costs.

Non-labor and material construction costs, such as paying architects, designers, lawyers, and engineers to design the project.

Soft dollars

Prepaid interest or fees paid to the seller are examples of money that does not strengthen the payor’s equity position.

Soft money

  1. The amount of the purchase price that will be funded with a buy money mortgage.

  2. Costs incurred while holding an unimproved property or while construction is taking place that can be deducted from your taxable income. As a result, soft money does not raise the company’s equity position in the same way as hard money payments would. (Carrying charges.)

Soil pipe

A huge pipe that transports liquid and solid waste to a septic tank or sewer.

Soil bank

Farmers sign contracts with the Commodity Stabilization Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop growing crops that aren’t needed and instead use the land for conservation. The government pays these people rent every year for this land.

Soil Profile

A soil’s series of horizons or layers.

Soil stack

A pipe for plumbing that goes through the roof.

Soils engineer

An engineer who specializes in soil analysis and soil load-bearing ability, as well as establishing appropriate footing and foundation requirements for a construction.


Continued at…
:point_right: Real Estate Glossary S [Part 4]