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What Is Property?

Property is a tangible or intangible object or idea that is owned by someone and that others can be economically, physically, or otherwise excluded from. Ownership of property entails the right to possess and use the property as well as the right to exclude others from the right to possess and use the property. 

Property consists of two components, possession and title. Title is the legal documentation that states who has the legal right to possess and control the property. Possession is the physical control over the property. Title and possession are very important in determining who legally owns and has the right to use the property. Title and possession may be vested in two different persons or entities. For example, someone who leases a car has possession of the car, but not title to the car.

What Is Real Property?

Real property is any interest in land including anything permanently affixed to the land. Real property is also called immovable property. Real property consists of residential real estate and commercial real estate.

What Is Personal Property?

Personal property is any interest in anything other than land. Any property that can be moved from one location to another is usually personal property. Personal property is also called movable property or chattel.

What Is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property is an intangible personal property that refers to any invention, creation, discovery, innovation, improvement, symbol, or design used in commerce. There are four main areas of intellectual property: 

Rights Property Owners Have

Property owners have the right to: 

  • Control the use of the property
  • Take the benefits of the property (including profits made from the property)
  • Transfer or sell the property
  • Exclude all others

Do I Need an Attorney?

Property law is very complex and often the rules vary by jurisdiction. A real estate attorney can help you understand your state or locality's property laws. Speaking with the proper property attorney will inform you of your rights and protect your interests.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 03-01-2018 01:25 AM PST

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