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Second Mortgage

A mortgage for a property that already has one mortgage. The first mortgage has priority for all rights and claim settlements. A second mortgage is sometimes used to get cash, and can also be used to reduce the size of the down payment required by the first mortgage. Also known as a Piggyback Mortgage.

Secondary Mortgage Market

The open, national market where residential mortgages are bundled, bought and sold to private organizations and investors such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The secondary market enables primary lenders, such as PHH Mortgage, to sell their loans and get funds to make new mortgage loans available to the American public.


See Closing.

Settlement Statement

See Closing Statement.

Single Family Attached Home

A home in which you own the dwelling and lot, but share ownership of common walls with neighboring homes.

Single Family Detached Home

A freestanding home in which you own the entire structure and lot, and you are not charged homeowner's association dues. If you pay such dues, your property is considered a detached home in a planned unit development.

Sub-Prime Lender

A company that offers mortgage loans to people with credit problems — a low credit rating, for example. Sub-prime loans are generally offered at higher rates than those from a primary lender, and usually come with more points and a lower Loan-to-Value ratio as well. Many sub-prime loans feature low, initial rates that can rise dramatically when the fixed rate period is over.

Subject Property

The property to be appraised by an appraiser, and the property that is the subject of the mortgage loan. In other words, the home you want to buy.


The detailed measurement of your property's land and structures. Prepared by a licensed surveyor, and usually paid for as part of the settlement, the survey shows the property's location, dimensions and boundaries.

Sweat Equity

Equity you create by building or improving a property on your own as part of the down payment.

Swing Loan

See Bridge Loan.