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Real Estate 101 - What is Real Estate?

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  • Real Estate 101 - What is Real Estate?

    Many people believe that real estate is nothing more than houses, apartment buildings, large office structures. And while that may be true, real estate, by definition is much more.

    Once upon a time the powers that be decided to split "property" into two separate groups. Real and Personal. What's the difference between these two? In a word, movability. If it moves, it's considered to be personal with a few exceptions.

    Real property consists of three things. Land, things attached or affixed to that land and lastly, appurtenances.

    Land is pretty easy. However it's not just the land you own. You also own sub-terrain rights, depending on your location. This is also true with the airspace above your property. You own up to a certain height, again depending on your location. At some point the government takes over and says, okay that's it. The rest is ours. We have airways to think of and we're not going to have every flight file a million easements every time they took off.

    Two, items attached to the land. We take this for granted. Your home is considered an attachment. If you look on your deed, I doubt you'll find any mention of the structure on your land. The house transfers with the sale because of its' attachment to the land.

    If there is a question regarding whether an item is Personal or Real, many courts use the MARIA system to decide.

    M - Method of attachment - How was it attached? Foundation? Nuts and bolts?

    A - Adaptability of the attachment - How easily does the attachment go with the overall structure? Think solar panels.

    R - Relationship of the parties - Is this a sale? Is this between family members?

    I - Intent of the parties - What was the original intent of the party installing the attachment?

    A - Agreement between the parties - What did they originally agree on?

    This issue usually comes up when a property is sold and the seller wants to take an item such as an outdoor barbeque, and the buyer insists that it comes with the sale.

    Lastly, appurtenances are considered real property. The official definition is this; A right or privilege that is attached to another property and is conveyed with it.

    Suppose Property A had a right (easement) to cross over a part of Property Bs' property to get to the main road. If the owner of A sells his property, the right to cross over Bs' goes with it. This is a type of appurtenance, called an easement appurtenance.

    As you can see, "real estate" is much more than the physical structure that sits on a piece of land. Before buying or selling, make sure you know what is staying and what is going.

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