Mortgage Dictionary: S

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Please view the glossary definitions from our list below. Some terms have a dedicated page with a longer definition. This is available by clicking on the "more about " link.



The amount of money you are paid by your employer.

Schedule Of Payments

Schedule of monthly payments under a loan sealing the fee see discharge fee.

Search Fee

Before you buy your property you have to check with your local authority that there are no plans that will effect the value of your property.

Second Charge

A legal charge that ranks behind a first charge, possibly to secure a second mortgage, or a guarantee given to secure other borrowings.

Second Home

An alternative to your main residence which is subject to capital gains tax!  See also: holiday home.

Second Job

A source of income other than an individual's main employment.

Second Mortgage

A further loan on a property which ranks after the first charge mortgage.

Secured Loan

A loan that is secured using your property.

Self Build

A property, the construction of which is controlled by the borrower; not a finished unit. Loans on self build properties will normally be advanced in stage payments and are subject to strict limits on loan to value. A qualified architect will need to be involved.

Self Certification

A mortgage loan where the borrower makes a statement of his or her income and the lender makes fewer checks than normal on the accuracy of this statement.

Self Employed

An individual working on own account. For mortgage purposes this will include partners in unlimited liability businesses and professional practices.

Semi Commercial

A property that has at least part commercial use. A semi-commercial mortgage is a loan on security that is not entirely used for residential purposes, e.g. A shop.

Shared Ownership

A method of property purchase in partnership with a housing association. The borrower purchases part of the property and rents the remainder from the housing association. Also known as co-ownership, this arrangement is designed for people who could not otherwise become homeowners. Under most arrangements, the minimum purchase amount is 25% of the property value with the remainder available to be purchased in blocks of 25%.

Simple Valuation

This just tells you the value of the property, it does not tell you if it is structurally sound.

Sitting Tenant

A person having a legal right of occupation, even if the property changes ownership, and who is able to apply to the local authority to set a fair rent. Properties with sitting tenants are generally worth at least 30% - 40% less than their open market value with vacant possession.

Sole Occupancy

A property that is occupied by the borrower and his or her immediate family only. No paying tenants are in residence.

Special Conditions

Specific terms, usually outlined on the mortgage offer document, that apply to a particular loan offer.

Special Status Or Non Status

Where the individual is unwilling or unable to provide the necessary documentary evidence of income and status.

Stabilised Rate

A mortgage where a notional rate is set designed to be a true reflection of the likely average rate over a period. The borrower makes payments each month based on this rate, but the rate charged to the account may vary in line with market conditions. These products are designed to protect borrowers from wildly fluctuating interest rates.

Stamp Duty

All property purchases over £60,000 is taxed 1% by the government. See fee, arrangement fee, fees added to loan, booking fee, conveyancing fee, land registry fees, IGP and valuation fee.

Standard Variable Rate

A detached, semi-detached or terraced house or bungalow.

Structural Survey

The widest form of inspection that can be undertaken by a chartered surveyor. In the case of properties with movement, lenders may require a structural engineer's report. This is a different type of survey carried out by a chartered building engineer and should not be confused with a structural survey.

Studio Flat

A flat comprising a single habitable room, plus bathroom and possibly separate kitchen. Many lenders will not lend on these properties as they are considered more difficult to resell.

Subsidy (Mortgage)

A payment made by an employer to subsidise the cost of interest payments on a home loan. The amount and extent of the subsidy will vary from employer to employer and these can be calculated in a variety of different ways.


An inspection carried out for the benefit of the mortgage lender to make sure that the property forms a good security for a loan. This inspection and should not be relied upon on when deciding whether to purchase a property or not. Purchasers should be advised to obtain either a house or flat buyer's report or a full structural survey before proceeding with a purchase.

Survey Fee

See valuation fee, home-buyer's survey fee.


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