Real Estate Investing 101 – What is Real Property?

Real estate is real property consisting of the actual buildings and land on it, and its accompanying natural resources like water, plants or minerals; and an equitable interest in it, buildings, houses or real property in general. Real estate can be a private “given,” meaning that it is jointly possessed by the owners of the property, or it can be a public “given,” meaning that it is publicly owned and open to all interested persons. There are different types of real estate including residential real estate, commercial real estate, industrial real estate, single-family real estate, multiple-unit residential real estate, agricultural real estate, ski real estate, luxury real estate and land trust real estate among many others.

Whether natural or synthetic, no part of real estate can be alienated without the consent of the owner. No personal right of any kind can be exercised on real property without the consent of the owner. The law does not distinguish between “personal” and “public” in relation to real estate. “Personal property” includes such items as automobiles, boats, recreational vehicles, computer software, houses, hotels, and other similar items. “Public property” includes streets, parks, waterfronts, bays, lakes, forests, and mineral deposits.

In contrast to the “natural” category, “asset” is the right of ownership possessed only by the individual or individuals within a specific limited period. The most common examples include deeds of trust, mortgages, corporate bonds, bank accounts, personal, real property, and “other property.” Within the “asset” category are examples include property held by others for a period of time as security for loans, brokerage houses, insurance companies, trusts, and similar examples. For example, a parcel of real estate may be held by a trust for the benefit of its trustees until an heir receives his inheritance. Similarly, a deed of trust will record title to real property only to the individual who holds the deed.