Real Estate Glossary M

Main water shut-off valve - The primary valve that halts the flow of water from the water meter into a home.  

Maintenance - The care and work put into a building to keep it in operation and productive use; the general repair and upkeep of a building. If maintenance is deferred, the building will suffer a loss in value.

Maintenance fee  - The monthly assessment members of a homeowners' association pay for the repair and maintenance of common areas.

Mall - A landscaped public area set aside for pedestrian traffic.

Managed-competition lots  - Lots in which buyers choose between one of several builders.

Mansard roof  - A roof with four sides that slope upward from the roof edge to the square peak.

Mantel - The facing of stone, marble or other material around a fireplace.

Manufactured housing - Prefabricated homes that can range from simple trailers to larger dwellings.

Margin - The lender's "retail markup" on the mortgage. For example, if the index rate for an adjustable rate mortgage is 5 percent but the lender has a 2.5 percentage point margin, the rate the borrower will pay is 7.5 percent.

Marginal land - Land, which is of little value because of some deficiency, such as poor access, lack of adequate rainfall, or steep terrain.

Market conditions - Factors affecting the sale and purchase of homes at a particular point in time.

Market value - The highest price, estimated in terms of money, which a property will bring if exposed for sale in the open market, allowing a reasonable time to find a purchaser who buys with knowledge of all the uses to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used.

Marketable title - Good or clear title reasonably free from risk of litigation over possible defects; also referred to as merchantable title. Marketable title need not, however, be perfect title.

Masonry - The brick or stone work on a building.

Master plan - A comprehensive plan to guide the long-term physical development of a particular area. term physical development of a particular area.

Master-planned community - A suburban plan that includes homes and commercial, work, educational and community facilities. 

Maximum financing - A loan amount within 5 percent of the highest loan-to-value ratio allowed for a property.

Meander line - An artificial line used by the surveyors to measure the natural, uneven, winding property line formed by rivers, streams and other watercourses bordering a property.

Mechanical systems - A home's plumbing, wiring, heating and cooling systems.

Median price  - The price of the house that falls in the middle of the total number of homes for sale in that area.

Mediation  - A disputed resolution process in which a neutral party works to resolve contract differences.

Merged credit report - A report that draws information from the Big Three credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union Corp. reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union Corp.

Military clause - A clause inserted in some residential leases to allow the military tenant to terminate the lease in case of transfer, discharge or other circumstances making termination appropriate.

Mineral rights - Rights to subsurface land and profits. Normally, when real property is conveyed, the grantee receives all right and title to the land including everything above and below the surface, unless excepted by the grantor.

Mint condition - Mint condition, or blue-ribbon condition, refers to a house that looks as close to new as possible. ribbon condition, refers to a house that looks as close to new as possible.

Misrepresentation - A false statement or concealment of a material fact made with the intent to induce some action by another party.

Mixed-income housing - A neighborhood that contains houses of widely varying prices.   A neighborhood that contains houses of widely varying prices.

Mixed-use development - A project that combines several different functions, such as residential space above a commercial establishment or an entire development combining commercial, residential and public accommodations.  

Modification - A change in any of the terms of the loan agreement.

Molding - Decorative trim elements applied to walls, ceilings, and window and door openings.

Money - The cash deposit (including initial and additional deposits) paid by the prospective buyer of real property as evidence of his good faith intention to complete the transaction; called hand money or a binder in some states.

Money market account - Accounts that work like money market funds and allow individual investors to participate in certain managed investments and withdraw funds under most conditions.

Money market funds - A mutual fund that pools the resources of individuals to invest in certain managed investments.

Month-to-month tenancy - A periodic tenancy where the tenant rents for one month at a time. In the absence of rental agreement (oral or written), a tenancy is deemed to be month to month, or in the case of boarders, week to week.

Monuments - Visible markers, both natural and artificial objects, which are used to establish the lines and boundaries of a survey.

Mortgage acceleration clause - A clause, which allows a lender to demand that the entire balance of the loan, be repaid in a lump sum under certain circumstances. The acceleration clause is usually triggered if the home is sold, title to the property is changed, the loan is refinanced or the borrower defaults on a scheduled payment.

Mortgage insurance - Required by lenders in some loans to protect them from a possible default . All conventional loans with less than a 20 percent down payments require private mortgage insurance, or PMI.

Mortgage interest deduction - The tax write off that the Internal Revenue Service allows most owners to claim for the annual interest payments they make on their real estate loans.

Mortgage life insurance - A special type of insurance that will pay off a mortgage if the borrower dies before the debt is retired.

Motivated buyer  - Any buyer with a strong incentive to make a purchase.

Motivated seller - Any seller with a strong incentive to make a deal.

Move-in condition - A house that is ready for a new occupant.  A house that is ready for a new occupant.

Move-up buyer - A buyer who has purchased a home before and is looking for a bigger or more expensive home.  

Mullion - A vertical dividing bar between window lights or panels.

Multi-dwelling property - A property that contains individual units for several households but carries only one mortgage.

Multifamily mortgage - A mortgage on a multifamily dwelling with more than four families, typically an apartment building.

Multiple offers - Multiple purchase offers occur in hot markets or hot neighborhoods.

Municipal housing inspector  - Inspectors employed by cities or counties to check all construction sites and verify that contractors are meeting building codes.