top of page

Real Estate Agent Dictionary

Bookmark this page as a resource for real estate terms. 

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



SALE-LEASEBACK A situation where the owner of a piece of property wishes to sell the property and retain occupancy by leasing it from the buyer.


SALES CONTRACT A contract by which buyer and seller agree to the terms of the sale.


SATISFACTION OF MORTGAGE An instrument for recording and acknowledging payment for an indebtedness secured by a mortgage.


SCREENING Circulation of notice within the Army of real property which is no longer required by one Army organization but may be required and useful to another.




SEAL An embossed impression on paper authenticating a document or signature (e.g., corporate or notary seals). The letters L. S. after the signature are Latin, locus sigilli, meaning "place of the seal."


SECONDARY FINANCING A loan secured by a second mortgage or trust deed on real property.


SECTION As used in the Government Survey System, a section of land is an area one mile square, containing 640 acres. It is 1/36th of a township.


SECURITY INTEREST An interest in personal property or fixtures, obtained to ensure payment owed as performance of an obligation.


SEDIMENTATION RANGES Upstream range lines for compiling data on erosion or sediment build-up.


SEISIN (SEIZIN) Actual possession of property by one who claims rightful ownership of a freehold interest therein. A person is seized of property when he is in rightful possession with the intention of claiming a freehold estate.


SEMI-PERMANENT CONSTRUCTION A building appropriate for a specific purpose for a limited period (more than 5 but less than 25 years), with a moderate to high level of maintenance.


SEPARATE PROPERTY Property owned by a husband or wife which is not community property; property acquired by either spouse prior to marriage or by gift or devise after marriage.


SERVITUDE A charge or burden on one estate to the benefit or advantage of another.


SEVERALITY OWNERSHIP Sole ownership. Owned by one person only.


SEVERANCE DAMAGES Payment to an owner for diminution in the value of a remainder area in a partial acquisition, caused by the acquisition (severance) or by construction of improvements.


SINKING FUND A fund in which equal monthly or annual deposits, with compound interest, accumulate to a predetermined amount at a calculated time, for the purposes of paying a debt or replacing improvements.


SITE A parcel of land, sufficiently improved to be used as a building lot or for other purposes requiring an improved site.


SPECIAL WARRANTY DEED A deed in which the grantor warrants or guarantees the title only against defects arising during his ownership of the property and not against defects existing before the time of his ownership.


SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE A remedy which the court will grant, in certain cases, compelling the defendant to perform or carry out the terms of a valid, existing agreement or contract.


STATUTE OF FRAUDS State law which provides that certain contracts must be in writing to be enforceable contracts for real estate are included in this class of contract.


SUBDIVISION Any land which is divided or is proposed to be divided for the purpose of disposition into two or more lots, parcels, units, or interests.


SUBJECT TO MORTGAGE The taking of title to Property by a grantee, wherein he is not responsible to the holder of the promissory note for the payment of any portion of the amount due.


SUBORDINATE To make subject to, or junior to.


SUBORDINATION CLAUSE A clause in a mortgage or lease stating that rights of the holder shall be secondary or subordinate to a subsequent encumbrance.


SUBROGATION Replacing one person with another in regard to a legal right, interest, or obligation. Substitution, such as a mortgage holder's selling his rights and interest to another.


SUBSURFACE RIGHTS Ownership rights to water, minerals, gas, oil, and similar substances lying beneath the surface of a parcel of real estate.


SURETY One who guarantees the performance of another; the guarantor.


SURFACE RIGHTS Ownership rights in a parcel of real estate that are limited to the surface and do not include air above the property (air rights) or minerals below the surface (subsurface rights).


SURPLUS REAL ESTATE Real property owned by the United States not required for the discharge of responsibilities of any Federal agencies, thus determined by the GSA Administrator to be excess.


SURRENDER The cancellation of a lease by mutual consent of lessor and lessee.


SURVEY The act by which the quantity and boundaries of a piece of land are ascertained; the paper containing a statement of the courses, distance, and quantity of land is also called a survey.


SUSTAINED YIELD The production rate of renewable resources an area of land or water can maintain at a given intensity of management.

bottom of page