Dictionary M

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main girder
The main support running between foundation walls to carry the weight of a floor.
main water shut-off valve
The primary valve that halts the flow of water from the water meter into the home.
maintenance fee
The monthly assessment paid by homeowners’ association members for the repair and maintenance of common areas.
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 a square peak.
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The facing of stone, marble, or other material around a fireplace.
manufactured housing
Prefabricated homes that can range from simple trailers to large dwellings.
A percentage added to the index and fixed for the life of the loan. When the initial interest rate on an adjustable-rate loan has expired, the interest rate moves toward the sum of its index plus a margin.
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.
marketable title
A good or clear title that is free of defects.
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The brick or stone work on a building.
master-planned community
A suburban plan that includes homes and commercial, work,educational, and community facilities.
Construction adhesive, usually applied with a caulking gun.
material defect
Any defect in a specific property that could either affect a buyer’s decision to purchase it or affect the property’s value, such as a cracked foundation.
material fact
Any information about a specific property that could affect a buyer’s decision to purchase it, such as an upcoming zoning change in the neighborhood.
maximum financing
A loan amount within 5 percent of the highest loan-to-value ratio allowed for a property.
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mechanic’s lien
Subcontractors or suppliers sometimes will file an encumbrance, or mechanic’s lien, against a property to seek payment.
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 an area.
A dispute-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.
A device that measures electrical current or water flow to a property.
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meter pan
A piece of equipment through which the service conductor runs.
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.
The manner in which two boards that meet at right angles are cut so that ends do not show.Miters are usually 45-degree cuts.
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.
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MLS (multiple listing service)
The service combines the listings for all available homes in an area, except For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties, in one directory or database.
A change in the terms of a loan agreement.
modified annual percentage rate

The modified APR is an index of loan cost based on the standard APR and adjusted for the time the borrower expects to hold the loan.
Decorative trim 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 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.
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monolithic slab
A slab that is part of the footings.
monthly association dues
A payment due monthly to a homeowners’ association, to be used for maintenance and communal expenses. Condominiums, townhouse complexes, and planned unit developments (PUDs) may require monthly homeowners’ association dues.
Cement-based material that provides the base for brick, stone, and other masonry materials.
In casual use, a sum of money borrowed to purchase a home at a certain interest rate using the property as collateral. In formal use, a mortgage is the legal document that pledges property as collateral for a loan.
mortgage acceleration clause
A clause that allows a lender to demand repayment of the entire loan balance in a lump sum under certain circumstances, such as when the home is sold, title 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.
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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 on some loans to protect lenders from a possible default. Most conventional loans with down payments or home equity percentages that are less than 20 percent of the home value require private mortgage insurance (PMI).
mortgage life insurance
A special type of insurance that will pay off a mortgage if the borrower dies before the debt is retired.
mortgage-interest deduction
The tax write-off that the Internal Revenue Service allows most owners to claim for annual interest payments made on real estate loans.
A bank or other financial institution that lends money to the borrower. The borrower is considered the mortgagor.
The person who borrows money to purchase a house. The lender is called the mortgagee.
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mortise lockset
A doorknob and latch set designed to fit into a rectangular pocket cut into the edge of a door.
motivated buyer
A buyer with a strong incentive to make a purchase.
motivated seller
A 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.
A vertical dividing bar between windowpanes or panels.
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multidwelling property
A property that contains individual units for several households but carries only one mortgage.
multifamily mortgage
A mortgage on a multifamily dwelling (typically an apartment building) with more than four families.
multiple listing service (MLS)
A service that combines listings of all available homes in an area into one directory or database, with the exception of For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties.
multiple offers
More than one purchase offer made on a property. Multiple offers commonly occur in seller’s 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.
A wooden division that separates panes of glass in a multi-paned window or door.