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Glossary

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.


  • Magic page

    Included in the offering prospectus, the magic page is a projected growth story, describing how a new REIT will accomplish its future expectations for funds from operations or funds available for distribution.

  • Maker

    One who creates or executes a promissory note and promises to pay the note when it becomes due.

  • Mandate

    A mandate is an authorization or directive to carry out a policy or course of action. For example, an investment manager could receive a mandate from an investor to use an allocation of funds for a specific purpose or strategy. 

  • Mark to market

    The process of increasing or decreasing the original investment cost or value of a property asset or portfolio to a level estimated to be the current market value.

  • Market capitalization

    One measure of the value of a company; it is calculated by multiplying the current share price by the current number of shares outstanding.

  • Market rental rates

    The rental income that a property most likely would command in the open market, indicated by the current rents asked and paid for comparable space.

  • Market study

    A forecast of future demand for a certain type of real estate project that includes an estimate of the square footage that can be absorbed and the rents that can be charged.

  • Market value

    The highest price a property would command in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale.

  • Marketable title

    A title free from encumbrances that could be readily marketed to a willing purchaser.

  • Master lease

    A primary lease that controls subsequent leases and may cover more property than subsequent leases.

  • Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.

    One of the most crucial criteria that must be met in order for a partnership to be legally classified as an MLP is that the partnership must derive most (~90%) of its cash flows from real estate, natural resources and commodities. 

    The advantage of an MLP is that it combines the tax benefits of a limited partnership (the partnership does not paytaxes from the profit - the money is only taxed when unitholders receive distributions) with the liquidity of a publicly traded company.

  • Master servicer

    An institution that acts on behalf of a trustee for the benefit of security holders in collecting funds from a borrower, advancing funds in the event of delinquencies and, in the event of default, taking a property through foreclosure.

  • Maturity date

    The date when the total principal balance comes due.

  • Mechanic's lien

    A claim created for the purpose of securing priority of payment of the price and value of work performed and materials furnished in constructing, repairing or improving a building or other structure.

  • Meeting space

    In hotels, space made available to the public to rent for meeting, conference or banquet uses.

  • Metes and bounds

    The boundary lines of land described by listing the compass directions and distances of the boundaries. Originally, metes referred to distance and bounds referred to direction.

  • Mezzanine financing

    Mezzanine financing is somewhere between equity and debt. It is that piece of the capital structure that has senior debt above it and equity below it. There is both equity and debt mezzanine financing, and it can be done at the asset or company level, or it could be unrated tranches of CMBS. Returns are generally in the mid- to high-teens.

  • Mid-rise

    A building with four to eight stories above ground level. In a central business district this might extend to buildings up to 25 stories.

  • Mixed-use

    A building or project that provides more than one use, such as office/retail or retail/residential.

  • Modern portfolio theory (MPT)

    An approach to quantifying risk and return in a portfolio of assets. Developed in 1959 by Harry Markowitz, MPT is the foundation for present-day principles of investment diversification. It emphasizes the portfolio rather than individual assets, and how assets perform in relation to each other based on the assumption that investors can benefit from diversification when asset class returns do not move in lock step with one another. Overall investment strategy that seeks to construct an optimal portfolio by considering the relationship between risk and return, especially as measured by alpha, beta and R-squared. This theory recommends that the risk of a particular stock should not be looked at on a standalone basis, but rather in relation to how that particular stock's price varies in relation to the variation in price of the market portfolio. The theory goes on to state that given an investor's preferred level of risk, a particular portfolio can be constructed that maximizes expected return for that level of risk. also called modern investment theory.

  • Mortgage

    A legal document by which real property is pledged as security for repayment of a loan until the debt is repaid in full.

  • Mortgage broker

    A firm or person that serves as an intermediary, helping to facilitate a mortgage transaction between a lender (source of capital) and a borrower. 

  • Mortgage constant

    The ratio of an amortizing mortgage payment to the outstanding mortgage balance.