Real Property Defined

Real property is defined as land and those things permanently attached to it. If you think of real estate, you'll be on the right track. Land itself as well as the things within the land oil, coal, minerals are considered real property. Some buildings are also included in the definition. Improvements to land refers to permanent buildings, however, buildings that are not permanent are not considered real property. A house is real property, but a shed is not.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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What is real property? If you’ve ever bought a house then you were dealing with a real estate agent, that should give you a clue.

Real property is generally defined as the real estate assets and the permanent structures attached to the property owners physical land.  Things that are permanently attached to the land include homes, garages, office buildings, fences, sprinkler systems, and other types of buildings often referred to as “improvements to land”. Substances in nature that are beneath the land, such as gas, oil, trees, minerals, are also considered permanently attached. This immovable property is all part of the bundle of ownership for a piece of property.

Items that can be attached to the land but are not necessarily permanent, such as mobile homes and tool sheds, are not considered real property. Examples of property types that can be removed include furniture or television and aren’t real estate property.

If you have concerns about real property law, you can find a real estate attorney near you with our FREE search tool.

What are the laws governing real property?

Property is generally divided into real property and personal property. Real property includes things like your home and the land on which it lies, while personal property ownership includes moveable goods. Your individual car, clothes, and most of your personal possessions are personal property.

There are special legal requirements controlling the ownership rights of ownership for real property estates. Under the Statute of Frauds, all contracts for the sale of real property must be in writing. If a contract regarding real property estates is not in writing, it will not be enforced in a court of law.

Real property of an owner is not covered under the Uniform Commercial Code, or UCC, which refers only to consumer goods. This means UCC warranties and regulations do not apply to the purchase or sale of real estate property.

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What’s the bottom line?

Real property is the legal way to refer to land, things contained in the land like oil or minerals, and “improvements” a term that refers to permanent structures on land like houses or buildings or wells.

Generally, states set the rules governing real property within its borders. To understand the application of real property laws in your state, consult a local attorney with experience in this area of law. You can find an experienced real estate attorney near you with our FREE search tool.

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