Terms Defined

The Real Estate Industry has its own unique language and, without some knowledge of this language, you may find yourself a bit confused if you become involved in a real estate transaction. Wayne County Title Agency, Inc. has compiled the following Definition of Terms commonly used in the real estate industry. Whether you are entering the real estate market for the first time or have invested in it before, this handy reference will provide an understanding of basic real estate words and phrases.

1 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Z
Marketable Title

A title which a reasonable purchaser, well informed as to the facts and their legal meaning, would be willing to accept.

Master Deed

See Condominium declaration.

Mechanics’ Lien

The lien which by statute a laborer or materialman may have against the land by reason of furnishing labor or material for the improvement of the property. The priority of such lien varies among the states;  in some states mechanic's liens take priority over prerecorded mortgages.

Mechanics’ Liens Surety Bond

A bond  in which  an approved  surety  company agrees  to indemnify  the  title  insurance  company  for any  loss  it may  suffer  due  to the insurer’s issuing a specific policy without mechanics’ lien exception.

Metes and Bounds

A description of a parcel of land by describing the boundary lines in length and direction.


One who because of insufficient age or status is legally incapable of making contracts.


An instrument whereby an owner conditionally transfers title of property to another as security for payment of a debt. The owner retains possession and use of the land and, upon the payment of the debt, the mortgage becomes void.

Mortgage Broker

A person or company that buys and sells mortgages for another on commission or who arranges for and negotiates mortgage contracts.

Mortgage Commitment

A written notice from the bank or other lending institution saying it will advance mortgage funds in a specified amount to enable a buyer to purchase a house.

Mortgage Insurance

Insurance written by an independent mortgage insurance company protecting the mortgage lender against loss incurred by a mortgage default, thus enabling the lender to lend a higher percentage of the sale price.

Mortgage Location Survey

See Surveys.

Mortgage Note

A written agreement to repay a loan. The agreement is secured by a mortgage, serves as proof of an indebtedness, and states the manner in which it shall be paid. The note states the actual amount of the debt that the mortgage secures and renders the mortgagor personally responsible for repayment.  Also referred to as a promissory note.

Mortgage Policy

See Loan policy.


The lender who provides the money for the mortgage and to whom the mortgage is given.

Mortgagee Policy

See Loan policy.


The person who borrows the money from the mortgagee, and who signs the mortgage as security.

Multiple Listing

The pooling in a central bureau of listings of properties for sale. These listings are held  individually by members of a group of real estate brokers, with the agreement that any member of the group may sell the properties and, in the case of a sale, the commission will be divided between the broker making the sale and the broker who filed the listing.