Canadian Real Estate Glossary

Canadian Real Estate Glossary


Sale-Leaseback: A financial transaction in which the owner of a property sells it to a buyer and immediately leases it back from the buyer under a long-term lease agreement. The property owner becomes the tenant, and the buyer becomes the landlord. The primary purpose of a sale-leaseback is for the property owner to unlock the equity tied up in the property while retaining the use and occupancy of the premises.

Sale Price: The final agreed-upon price at which a property is sold.

Schedule B: A form that is typically used in real estate transactions in Canada. It is a legal document that lists the conditions of the sale of the property, including the purchase price, closing date, and any other terms or agreements between the buyer and seller. Schedule B is typically included as part of the purchase and sale agreement and must be signed by both parties in order for the transaction to be legally binding.

Secured Loan: A loan that is granted based on the borrower providing collateral, such as real estate or a vehicle, to secure the debt. If the borrower fails to repay the loan, the lender has the right to take ownership of the collateral. Mortgages and auto loans are common examples of secured loans.

Seller's Market: A market condition in which there are more buyers than available properties, giving sellers an advantage in negotiations.

Servicer: A company or financial institution that collects payments from borrowers on behalf of the lender or investor who owns the loan. The servicer is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the loan, including processing payments, maintaining records, providing customer service, and handling any delinquencies or defaults, while ensuring the loan terms are adhered to.

Setback: The minimum distance that a building or structure must be set back from a property line or other designated reference point. Setbacks are established by local zoning regulations and building codes to ensure appropriate spacing between structures, promote safety, and maintain aesthetic standards. Setbacks can vary depending on the location, type of property, and zoning classification. They are typically measured from the edge of the building to the property line and may differ for front, side, and rear setbacks.

Shared Appreciation Mortgage (SAM): A mortgage in which the lender shares in the future appreciation of the property in addition to receiving interest payments.

Single-Family Home: A residential property designed and intended for occupancy by a single family, typically detached and not sharing walls with neighboring properties.

Soft Costs: Non-construction costs associated with a real estate project, including architectural and engineering fees, permits, legal fees, and financing costs.

Specifications: Detailed written descriptions and requirements that outline the materials, dimensions, quality standards, and other specific details necessary for the construction, installation, or procurement of a building project. Specifications provide clear instructions and guidelines to contractors, suppliers, and other parties involved in the construction or procurement process to ensure that the desired outcome meets the desired standards and requirements. They cover various aspects such as materials, finishes, performance criteria, tolerances, testing methods, and other relevant parameters.

Speculation: The act of engaging in financial transactions or investments with the expectation of making a profit from anticipated future price movements or market fluctuations, rather than from the intrinsic value of the asset. Speculation involves taking calculated risks based on assumptions about the future performance of an asset, such as stocks, commodities, or real estate.

Speculation Home: A residential property that is built by a developer or builder without a specific buyer in mind. The construction of a speculation home is based on the speculation that it will be sold to a buyer upon completion. The builder assumes the risk of financing and constructing the home without a pre-existing contract. Speculation homes are typically built with popular features and amenities to appeal to a broad range of potential buyers. 

Split Level Home: A style of residential architecture characterized by multiple levels that are staggered and partially or fully separated by short flights of stairs. Split level homes typically have three or more distinct levels, with the main living area (such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen) situated on one level, bedrooms on another level, and additional living spaces (such as a family room or basement) on lower or higher levels. Split level homes became popular in the mid-20th century and are often found in suburban neighborhoods.

Square Footage: A unit of measurement used to quantify the size or area of a space that's calculated by multiplying the length of a space by its width, resulting in the total number of square feet. Square footage represents the total amount of floor area within the boundaries of a property or a specific room or building.  It is an important factor in determining the value, pricing, and functionality of a property, as well as for assessing building code compliance and zoning regulations.

Starter Home: A modest and relatively affordable residential property that is typically purchased as the first home by individuals or families entering the housing market. Starter homes are often smaller in size and located in more affordable neighborhoods or suburbs. They are designed to meet the needs of first-time homebuyers with limited budgets or those looking for a stepping stone into homeownership.

Step Rate Mortgage: A type of mortgage loan where the interest rate is fixed for an initial period and then adjusts to a higher predetermined rate for the remaining loan term. The initial fixed-rate period is typically shorter, such as three, five, or seven years, after which the interest rate "steps" up to a higher level. The adjustment may occur once or multiple times during the life of the loan, and the new rate is typically determined based on a predetermined index.

Straight Purchase: A straightforward method of acquiring a property in real estate, typically involving a direct purchase without a mortgage, financing, or any contingencies. In a straight purchase, the buyer pays the full purchase price upfront, often using personal funds or securing external financing independently.

Strata Fee: A monthly or annual fee paid by owners of strata-titled properties, typically used to cover shared expenses such as maintenance, insurance, and amenities.

Subagent: A real estate agent who is authorized to act on behalf of another agent, known as the listing agent, in representing a client in a real estate transaction. The subagent works under the supervision and direction of the listing agent and owes fiduciary duties to the listing agent's client.

Subcontractor: A person or company that is hired by a general contractor to perform specific tasks or provide specialized services as part of a larger construction project. Subcontractors are typically hired for their expertise in a particular trade or skill, such as plumbing, electrical work, or carpentry. They work under a contract with the general contractor and are responsible for completing their assigned portion of the project according to agreed-upon terms, specifications, and timelines.

Subdivision: The process of dividing a larger parcel of land into smaller, individual lots or tracts. Subdivision typically involves obtaining necessary approvals from local planning and zoning authorities and may include the creation of roads, utilities, and other infrastructure to support the newly created lots. Subdivided lots can be sold individually or developed for residential, commercial, or other purposes.

Subject to Financing: A condition in a purchase offer that makes the transaction contingent on the buyer securing satisfactory financing within a specified timeframe.

Subject to Inspection: A condition in a purchase offer that allows the buyer to conduct a professional inspection of the property and withdraw from the transaction if significant issues are discovered.

Sublease: Also known as a sublet arrangement, a legal agreement in which a tenant (the original tenant) rents out all or part of a property they are currently leasing to another tenant (the subtenant). The sublease is typically arranged when the original tenant will be temporarily absent from the property or wants to offset some of the rental costs.  Sublet arrangements are typically temporary and subject to the approval of the landlord or property owner.

Survey: A detailed measurement and graphical representation of a property's boundaries, structures, and features, often prepared by a registered surveyor.

Sweat Equity: The value added to a property through the owner's manual labor, typically in the form of renovations, repairs, or improvements.

Syndicated Mortgage: A mortgage financing arrangement in which multiple investors pool their funds to collectively lend money to a real estate project.

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