Anything that can be legally owned may be called property. All property can be grouped into two main categories: real property and personal property. Personal property can be further classified as chattels and intangibles.
Real property: Land and buildings
Real property describes land and things that are attached to the land, which is why land is sometimes called real estate or realty. Even though wood, steel, and other building materials aren’t land themselves, when they’re built into structures attached to the land, they become real property, too. Trees and other plants naturally growing on the land are also part of the real property. But plants that require regular human cultivation and labor, such as grains and vegetables, sometimes aren’t treated as part of the real property.
Personal property is all property that isn’t real property. That’s a big category. It can be further divided into two subgroups: chattels and intangibles.
Personal property: Chattels
The term chattel sometimes refers to all kinds of personal property, but often it refers only to tangible personal property (such as nose flutes and toenail clippers) as opposed to intangible property. A chattel, such as a furnace, can be affixed to land and become part of the real property. Such chattels are called fixtures.
However, fixtures may retain their quality as separate personal property for certain purposes. For example, at the end of a lease term, the tenant generally has the right to remove fixtures she installed even though she doesn’t have any more right to the real property when the lease ends.
Personal property: Intangibles
Intangibles are all kinds of personal property that aren’t tangible, that can’t be seen or touched. So you can say this kind of property doesn’t involve a thing at all; it involves only a legal right. The mere existence of such a category of property is a reminder that, in the law, property most accurately refers to legal rights, not to things.
A person can own all sorts of intangible things, including the following:
• Bank accounts
• Franchises and licenses
• Insurance policies
• Intellectual property such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks
• Stocks, bonds, promissory notes, and similar documents that aren’t themselves valuable but merely represent intangible rights; currency is sometimes treated as an intangible.
Property rights: Things that can’t be owned
Some things can’t be owned at all and therefore can’t be private property. Some of these things, such as light, air, and the high seas, can’t be owned because they naturally seem communal. Other things, such as rivers and coastal waters, can’t be owned because they belong to the public. And some things can’t be owned because they’re illegal, like heroin. Much of business law deals with property. There are actually two different types of property: personal property and real property. This lesson explains the differences between these two types of property.
Personal property is movable property. It’s anything that can be subject to ownership, except land. Real property is immovable property – its land and anything attached to the land. Normally, a piece of property can be easily classified as either personal property or real property. The difference between the two is usually fairly straightforward. However, sometimes it’s a little harder to categorize property. Let’s look at one example.
Personal property includes possessions, of really any kind, as long as those possessions are movable and owned by someone. Personal property isn’t affixed to or associated with land. These moveable items are sometimes known as chattels. The law regarding chattels includes those laws covering possession, gifts, lost property, abandoned property, and stolen property.
It’s helpful to note that personal property includes both tangible and intangible items. A tangible item is an item that can be felt or touched. For a business, tangible personal property includes items the business owns such as:
• Office furniture
• Business equipment
• Business vehicles
• Business goods
An intangible item is simply an item that can’t be felt or touched. For a business, intangible personal property includes items the business owns such as:
• Intellectual property
Real estate and real property certainly sound very similar, and the two concepts have a lot to do with each other, but there are subtle differences between them. Understanding those differences can help you understand the subtleties of the land you own and how you own it. While real estate often refers to land, the term real property takes things a little further and examines the rights related to that land.
• Real estate is simply a piece of land plus any natural or artificial man-made improvements that are attached or have been added. Natural attachments are part of the land and include trees, water, valuable mineral deposits, and oil. Artificial improvements include buildings, sidewalks, and fences. Real estate can be split into two broad categories: residential and commercial.
• Residential real estate is property intended for human habitation by a single family or multiple families. Real estate may be leased or owner-occupied, but the term residential real estate most often refers to leased property.
• Commercial real estate has a business use and focus. This property type includes office buildings, malls, restaurants, and other such activities. Commercial real estate may be owner-occupied or leased. Industrial real estate is a subdivision of commercial real estate and includes property where manufacturing, warehousing, production, and assembly take place.
Real property is a less commonly used term and as such, is a less commonly understood concept. Real property is a broader term and includes the land itself and also any buildings and other improvements attached to the land.
It also encompasses the rights of use and enjoyment of certain land, as well as any of its improvements. Renters and leaseholders may have the right to inhabit land or buildings, a real property consideration, but those things are not considered real estate.
Real property includes real estate, and it adds a bundle of rights. This bundle of rights is a broad term used to organize property rights as they relate to real estate. In a nutshell, it grants property owners the ability to use their property as they see fit.
A bundle of rights is composed of five different rights of the property owner:
• The right to possess is the right to occupy the property.
• The right to control is the right to determine interests and uses for others.
• The right to enjoy is the right to use the property without outside interference.
• The right to exclude is the right to refuse others’ interests or uses for the property.
• The right to dispose of is the right to determine how and if the property is sold or given to another party.
There are some other complex exceptions and restrictions to these rights and legal treatments.
In general, the difference between real estate and real property boils down to the inclusion of the bundle of rights. The real property consists of both physical objects and common law rights whereas real estate consists only of physical objects. Real estate is a great investment for many reasons. You can enjoy an excellent rate of returns, amazing tax advantages and leverage real estate to build your wealth. Here are the top five reasons why real estate is a great investment. Real estate provides better returns than the stock market without as much volatility.
Historically in real estate, your risk of loss is minimized by the length of time you hold on to your property.
When the market improves, so does the value of your home, and as a result, you build equity. The risk never changes in the stock market and there are numerous factors beyond your control that can negatively impact your investment. Real estate gives you more control of your investment because your property is a tangible asset that you can leverage to capitalize on numerous revenue streams, while enjoying capital appreciation. Real estate has a high tangible asset value. There will always be value in your land, and value in your home. Other investments can leave you with little to no tangible asset value such as a stock which can dip to zero, or a new car which decreases in value over time. Home owners insurance will protect your investment in real estate, so be sure to get the best policy available so your asset is protected in the worst-case scenario. History continues to prove that the longer you hold onto your real estate, the more money you will make. The housing market has always recovered from past bubbles that caused home appreciation to slip, and for those who held on to their investments during those uncertain times, prices have returned to normal, and appreciation is back on track. Now, real estate investors in the top performing markets are enjoying a windfall.
You can get tax deductions on mortgage interest, cash flow from investment properties, operating expenses and costs, property taxes, insurance and depreciation (even if the property gains value) and other benefits. The end of the year is a very busy time for real estate because people want to take advantage of the numerous tax benefits before the end of the year! An investment in real estate is not only a safe financial investment; it is also an investment that can provide years of fun, happiness and priceless memories that will last a lifetime. Most times, real estate owners like to know the current price of their properties before they sell the properties to prospective buyers. Similarly, those who are planning to buy land or properties would like to know if the price is right and if they are getting what they are paying for.
Real estate analysis is important and useful for both the seller and the buyer and it will serve as a guide to the investors and real estate agents. Real estate analysis is prepared by real estate agents in order to provide correct information regarding the current price of land or property. This property, including its improvements such as buildings and fences is assessed or appraised to determine its market value and how much it should be advertised or how much it is more likely to sell. For buyers, on the other hand, it is an assurance that the property they are buying is worth the amount they are paying. Real estate analysis is applied by taking into consideration the location or site, the size, which includes the land area and the floor area, the community or the locality where the land or real estate property is situated, building structure or its architectural designs, trees, minerals, and other immovable assets found within the land premises. This process is needed in buying or purchasing commercial and income properties – and preferably before selling.
It is needed in order to evaluate the sale price of land or property and to appraise a building’s worth. It helps provide the seller with calculations on different ratios, indicators as well as reports concerning residential real estate value. It explains, describes, and predicts supply and demand in the real estate industry. It includes the internal rate of return on the down payment after capitalization; also including the net present value, and other facts and figures about the properties. If you are selling your property, it is preferable to have an appraisal from the real estate agent because real estate values change depending on the current market. The prices can move upward or downward according to the condition of the economy. An analysis can provide a portrait of your investment if you are buying land or properties because while some properties may have had low value once, in due time, this market value can increase once considering other real estate factors.
The difference between the legal definitions of real vs. personal property can be seen in many areas of law. For instance, in contract law, sales of real property must always be in writing, whereas not all personal property sales contracts need to be written. Some other legal implications of real and personal property may involve:
• Personal property tax consequences
• Divisions of property in a divorce or separation setting
• Property distributions in a will or trust
• Descriptions of property in a title deed
• Personal property contracts
• Distributions of property when a business is sold
• Various other applications
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