What is ‘Real Property’?
Real Property is generally the land with anything permanently attached to it, either on the surface or beneath. Structures such as buildings, garages, in ground pools and fences are permanently attached to land and are therefore considered part of the Real Property. Substances beneath the ground such as oil, gas, coal, gold and other forms of minerals are permanent part of the land and are also considered Real Property. Structures such as mobile homes and tool sheds are not considered to be real property as they are not permanently attached to the land.
If you own or obtain the mineral rights associated with a parcel of land, you may extract the substances beneath the property. If you do not own the mineral rights to the land, you are restricted to surface rights meaning you can make use of the structures on the land.
When you own land, you may do with it whatsoever you want. For instance, you may sell, rent, give away, use it for loan as collateral or just let it lie fallow without doing anything with it. Real Property should, however, not be confused with a Homestead. A Homestead is public land granted to an individual who must then improve the land and then can file a claim for ownership of that land. Homesteading is no longer possible in the United States.
There are several different types of land ownership. These include:
- Sole Ownership: is land owned entirely by one person or entity.
- Joint Tenancy: Property ownership of equal share with one or more persons. Here, a surviving joint tenant gets your share if you die whether or not you will it to someone else.
- Tenancy by the Entirety: This is joint ownership only by a husband and wife. Full title becomes that of a surviving spouse if one dies. Selling or mortgaging cannot be done by one spouse without approval by the other. If a ranch is owned by this method, the husband may not put up the ranch for with the wife’s approval and vice versa.
- Tenancy in Common: In this type of ownership, you own shares in a property with one or more people. These people are called Tenants. When you die, your share can be passed to your heir or anyone in your will.
- Community Property: It is a special joint tenancy similar to joint tenancy between husband and wife but each owning one half and only recognized by some states like Arizona and California.
There are certain federal, state, county and local laws, restricting what you can do with your real property. For example, zoning laws may restrict the use of the property as to residential, industrial, agricultural, or for commercial purposes. The size and height of improvements attached to the property are likewise subject to restriction.
Another type of restriction includes public easement and right of way. This means a portion of the property may have to be left open for others to use. Easements and right of way are used to allow access to other property, to provide for roads and sidewalks and to enable electric/gas/telephone/sewer lines to be installed.