Main water shut-off valve The primary valve that halts the flow of water from the water meter into a home.
Mansard roof A roof with four sides that slope upward from the roof edge to the square peak.
Manufactured housing Prefabricated homes that can range from simple trailers to larger dwellings.
Mantel The facing of stone, marble or other material around a fireplace.
Maintenance fee The monthly assessment members of a homeowners’ association pay for the repair and maintenance of common areas.
Managed-competition lots Lots in which buyers choose between one of several builders.
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.
Market conditions Factors affecting the sale and purchase of homes at a particular point in time.
Market value The price that a piece of property sells for at a particular point in time.
Masonry The brick or stone work on a building.
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.
Mechanical systems A home’s plumbing, wiring, heating and cooling systems.
Mechanic’s lien Subcontractors or suppliers sometimes will file an encumbrance, or mechanic’s lien, against a property to seek payment.
Mediation A dispute-resolution process in which a neutral party works to resolve contract differences.
Median price The price of the house that falls in the middle of the total number of homes for sale in that area.
Merged credit report A report that draws information from the Big Three credit-reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion Corp.
Metes and bounds A time-honored land surveying method of describing land in terms of shape and boundary dimensions.
Mint condition Mint condition, or blue-ribbon condition, refers to a house that looks as close to new as possible.
Mixed-income housing 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 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.
Mortgage A legal document specifying a certain amount of money to purchase a home at a certain interest rate, and using the property as collateral.
Mortgagee A bank or other financial institution that lends money to the borrower. The borrower is considered the mortgagor.
Mortgagor The person who borrows money to purchase a house. The lender is called the mortgagee.
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 banker A company that provides home loans using its own money. The loans are usually sold to investors such as insurance companies and Fannie Mae.
Mortgage broker A company that matches lenders with prospective borrowers who meet the lender’s criteria. The mortgage broker does not make the loan, but receives payment from the lender for services.
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.
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.
Multidwelling 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 listing service (MLS) The service combines the listings for all available homes in an area, except For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) properties, in one directory or database.
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.