Investor focused.
Connecting People, Data, Insights


Our glossary of industry terms is one of the most visited sections of our site. We work continually to keep it current and are always adding new terms. In addition, if you ever can't find an industry word you are looking for, let us know. We'll research it and add it for you.

  • Sale-leaseback

    An arrangement by which the owner-occupant of a property agrees to sell all or part of the property to an investor, then lease it back and continue to occupy space as a tenant.

  • Sales comparison value

    A value indication derived by comparing the property being appraised to similar properties that have been sold recently.

  • Second-generation or secondary space

    Previously occupied space that becomes available for lease, either directly from the landlord or as sublease space.

  • Secondary financing

    A loan on real property secured by a lien junior to an existing first mortgage loan.

  • Secondary market

    A market where existing mortgage loans are securitized and then bought and sold to other investors.

  • Secondary, or follow-on, offering

    A stock offering made by an existing public company.

  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

    The federal agency that supervises and oversees the issuance and exchange of public securities.

  • Securitization

    The process of converting an illiquid asset, such as a mortgage loan, into a tradable form, such as mortgage-backed securities.

  • Security deposit

    A deposit of money by a tenant to a landlord to secure performance of a lease. It also can take the form of a letter of credit or other financial instrument.

  • Seisen (seizen)

    Possession of real property under claim of freehold estate.

  • Self-administered REIT

    When members of the management are employees of the REIT or an entity having essentially the same economic ownership as the REIT.

  • Self-managed REIT

    A REIT whose employees are responsible for performing property management functions.

  • Senior classes

    With regard to securities, describes the classes with the highest priority to receive the payments from the underlying mortgage loans.

  • Separate account

    A relationship where an investment manager or adviser is retained by a single pension plan sponsor to source real estate product under a stated investment policy exclusively for that sponsor.

  • Servicer

    An organization that acts on behalf of a trustee for the benefit of security holders.

  • Setback

    The distance from a curb, property line or other reference point, within which building is prohibited.

  • Shares outstanding

    The number of shares of common stock currently outstanding, less the shares held in treasury.

  • Sidecar Fund or Investment

    A sidecar or over-allocation fund is a blind-pool co-investment vehicle under common sponsorship with a private equity fund. The sidecar fund has a right of second opportunity to participate in larger investments — where there is a need for additional equity capital to complete the deal — brought by the fund sponsor to the lead private equity fund. 

  • Site analysis

    Determines the suitability of a specific parcel of land for a specific use.

  • Site development

    The installation of all necessary improvements made to a site before a building or project can be constructed on the site.

  • Site plan

    A detailed plan that depicts the location of improvements on a parcel.

  • Slab

    The exposed wearing surface laid over the structural support beams of a building to form the floor(s) of the building.

  • Social investing

    Investments driven in whole or in part by social or political (non-real estate) objectives. Under ERISA, social investing is economically justified only if proper real estate fundamentals are considered first.

  • Socialize

    To place under government or group ownership or control (to "socialize" the nation's debt); To make fit for companionship with others (to make something or someone “sociable”); To convert or adapt to the needs of society (to "socialize" the approach); To take part in social activities (he went to the gathering to “socialize”); To engage others in a particular discussion or plan about a specific topic (to "socialize" the topic").

  • Soft cost

    The portion of an equity investment other than the actual cost of the improvements themselves that may be tax-deductible in the first year.

  • Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF)

    A sovereign wealth fund (SWF) is a state-owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals, or other financial instruments. Sovereign wealth funds invest globally. Most SWFs are funded by foreign exchange assets. Read more details

  • Space plan

    A graphic representation of a tenant's space requirements, showing wall and door locations, room sizes and sometimes furniture layouts.

  • Special assessment

    Special charges levied against real property for public improvements that benefit the assessed property.

  • Special servicer

    A firm that is employed to work out mortgages that are either delinquent or in default.

  • Specified investing

    Investment in individually specified properties or portfolios, or investment in commingled funds whose real estate assets are fully or partially specified prior to the commitment of investor capital.

  • Speculative space

    Any tenant space that has not been leased before the start of construction on a new building.

  • Stabilized net operating income

    Projected income less expenses that are subject to change but have been adjusted to reflect equivalent, stable property operations.

  • Stabilized occupancy

    The optimum range of long-term occupancy that an income-producing real estate project is expected to achieve after exposure for leasing in the open market for a reasonable period of time at terms and conditions comparable to competitive offerings.

  • Step-up lease (graded lease)

    A lease specifying set increases in rent at set intervals during the term of the lease.

  • Straight lease (flat lease)

    A lease specifying a fixed amount of rent that is to be paid periodically, typically monthly, during the entire term of the lease.

  • Strip center

    Any shopping area comprised of a row of stores but smaller than a neighborhood center anchored by a grocery store.

  • Subcontractor

    A contractor working under and being paid by the general contractor, often a specialist in nature, such as an electrical contractor, cement contractor, etc.

  • Sublessee

    A person or identity to whom the rights of use and occupancy under a lease have been conveyed, while the original lessee retains primary responsibility for the obligations of the lease.

  • Subordinated classes

    With regard to CMBS, describes those classes with the lowest priority to receive payments from the underlying mortgage loans.

  • Subordination

    The process of sharing the risk of credit losses disproportionately among two or more classes of securities.

  • Surety

    One who voluntarily binds himself to be obligated for the debt or obligation of another.

  • Surface rights

    A right or easement granted with mineral rights, enabling the possessor of the mineral rights to drill or mine through the surface.

  • Survey

    The process by which a parcel is measured and its boundaries and contents ascertained.

  • Synthetic lease

     A transaction that appears as a lease from an accounting standpoint but as a loan from a tax standpoint.