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Real estate is "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; (also) an item of real property; (more generally) buildings or housing in general. Also: the business of real estate; the profession of buying, selling, or renting land, buildings or housing."
It is a legal term used in the following jurisdictions; the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
In the laws of the United States of America, the 'real' in 'real estate' means relating to a thing (res/'rei', thing, from O.Fr. 'reel', from L.L. 'realis' 'actual', from Latin. 'res', 'matter, thing'), as distinguished from a person. Thus the law broadly distinguishes between 'real' property (land and anything affixed to it) and 'personal' property or chattels (everything else, e.g., clothing, furniture, money). The conceptual difference was between 'immovable property', which would transfer title along with the land, and 'movable property', which a person could lawfully take and would retain title to on disposal of the land.
Real Estate has become a major area of business, commonly referred to as commercial real estate. Purchasing real estate requires a significant investment, and each parcel of land has unique characteristics, so the real estate industry has evolved into several distinct fields. Specialists are often called on to appraise teh value of real estate and to facilitate the transactions between buyers, sellers, lessees, lessors, landlords, or tenants.
Some kinds of real estate businesses include:
- Appraisal: Professional valuation services
- Brokerages: A mediator who charges a fee to facilitate a real estate transaction between the two parties.
- Development: Improving land for use by adding or replacing buildings
- Net leasing
- Property management: Managing a property for its owner(s)
- Real estate marketing: Managing the sales side of the property business
- Real estate investing: Managing the investment of real estate
- Relocation services: Relocating people or business to a different country
- Corporate Real Estate: Managing the real estate held by a corporation to support its core business.
Within each field, a business may specialize in a particular type of real estate, such as residential, commercial, or industrial property. In addition, almost all construction business effectively has a connection to real estate.
Professional university-level education in real estate is primarily focused at the graduate level. Focus in towards the commercial real estate sector, primarily real estate development or investment rather than residential real estate sales conducted by a Realtor.
See also graduate real estate education for a discussion and list of university-level real estate programs.
"Internet real estate" is a term coined by the internet investment community relating to ownership of domain names and the similarities between high quality internet domain names and real-world, prime real estate.
Residential real estate
The legal arrangement for the right to occupy a dwelling in some countries is known as the housing tenure. Types of housing tenure include owner occupancy, Tenancy, housing cooperative, condominiums (individually parceled properties in a single building), public housing, squatting, and cohousing. The occupants of a residence constitute a household.
Residences can be classified by, if, and how they are connected to neighboring residences and land. Different types of housing tenure can be used for the same physical type. For example, connected residents might be owned by a single entity and leased out, or owned separately with an agreement covering the relationship between units and common areas and concerns.
Major categories in North America and Europe
Attached / multi-unit dwellings
- Apartment - An individual unit in a multi-unit building. The boundaries of the apartment are generally defined by a perimeter of locked or lockable doors. Often seen in multi-story apartment buildings.
- Multifamily house - Often seen in multistory detached buildings, where each floor is a separate apartment or unit.
- Terraced house (a.k.a. townhouse or row house) - A number of single or multi-unit buildings in a continuous row with shared walls and no intervening space.
- Condominium - Building or complex, similar to apartments, owned by individuals. Common grounds and common areas within the complex are owned and shared jointly. There are townhouse or rowhouse style condominiums as well.
- Cooperative (a.k.a. co-op) - A type of multiple ownership in which the residents of a multi-unit housing complexown shares in the cooperative corporation that owns the property, giving each resident the right to occupy a specific apartment or unit.
- Duplex - Two units with one shared wall.
- Single-family detached home
- Portable dwellings
- Mobile homes - Potentially a full-time residence which can be (might not in practice be) movable on wheels.
- Houseboats - A floating home
- Tents - Usually very temporary, with roof and walls consisting only of fabric-like material.
The size of an apartment or house can be described in square feet or meters. In the United States, this includes the area of "living space", excluding the garage and other non-living spaces. The "square meters" figure of a house in Europe may report the total area of the walls enclosing the home, thus including any attached garage and non-living spaces, which makes it important to inquire what kind of surface definition has been used.
It can be described more roughly by the number of rooms. A studio apartment has a single bedroom with no living room (possibly a separate kitchen). A one-bedroom apartment has a living or dining room separate from the bedroom. Two bedroom, three bedroom, and larger units are common (A bedroom is defined as a room with a closet for clothes storage).
To be certain of your particular real estate dealings, consult with a Cunningham Miller P.A. real estate attorney.