Real Estate Terminology: Real Property

Understanding real estate terminology is a fundamental part of buying or selling property. This blog post dives deep into one of the most used terms, “real property”. We’ll discuss what it means, its importance, different types, and how it is distinguished from personal property. Buckle up for this in-depth exploration.

Understanding Real Property: A Definition

Real property, often simply called “real estate,” refers to land and anything attached to it or built on it, including buildings and structures, along with the rights associated with owning the land. This definition may seem straightforward, but there’s more to it when you begin to understand the nuances and implications.

The term “real” in real property is derived from the Latin word “res”, meaning “thing.” Therefore, real property is “real” because it’s physical, tangible, and can’t be moved or lost as easily as other assets. Understanding this can provide you with a deeper insight into why real property is such an important asset class.

Importance of Real Property: The Cornerstone of Wealth

Real property often represents a significant portion of an individual’s or corporation’s wealth. Here are the key reasons why real property is crucial:

  • Asset Appreciation: Real property, particularly land, tends to appreciate in value over time. This makes it a favored investment avenue for many.
  • Collateral for Loans: Real property can be used as collateral to secure loans, providing financial flexibility.
  • Income Generation: Renting or leasing out real property can generate consistent income.
  • Tax Advantages: Many countries offer tax benefits linked to owning and investing in real property.

Classifying Real Property: Breaking it Down

Not all real properties are the same. They are generally classified into three main categories:

  1. Residential Property: This category includes homes, apartments, townhouses, and vacation properties. Essentially, any property designed for people to live in.
  2. Commercial Property: These properties are designed for businesses. They include office buildings, warehouses, retail spaces, and shopping centers.
  3. Industrial Property: These properties include factories, mines, farms, and any land used for manufacturing goods or extracting minerals.

Real vs. Personal Property: The Critical Distinction

A common confusion in real estate is the difference between real and personal property. Personal property refers to anything that can be moved and is not permanently attached to the land. Here are some examples to clarify this distinction:

  • A built-in dishwasher in a house is considered real property as it is fixed and integral to the house. On the other hand, a freestanding refrigerator can be easily moved and is therefore personal property.
  • A tree growing in the yard is real property as it is permanently attached to the land. However, a potted plant, although it’s living and placed on the property, can be easily moved and is therefore personal property.

This distinction becomes especially important during the sale of a property. Generally, the sale of real property includes the land, the structures built on it, and anything permanently affixed to those structures. However, personal property is usually not included unless specified in the agreement.

The Legal Side of Real Property

When you own real property, you don’t just own the physical land and structures; you also own a bundle of legal rights associated with the property. These generally include:

  • Right of Possession: The right to occupy the property.
  • Right of Control: The right to control the property’s use within legal limits.
  • Right of Exclusion: The right to prevent others from entering the property.
  • Right of Enjoyment: The right to enjoy the property as you wish.
  • Right of Disposition: The right to sell, rent, or transfer ownership of the property.

Conclusion: Embracing Real Property

Understanding the concept of real property and its distinction from personal property is essential for any real estate endeavor. Whether you’re a real estate agent, a first-time buyer, a seasoned investor, or just trying to increase your general knowledge, this understanding can prevent confusion and potentially costly mistakes.

If you’re thinking of becoming a real estate agent, real property is just one of many terms you’ll come to understand. Our blog has in-depth explanations of many real estate terms, and you’ll master them all through our pre-license course.

Real property is more than just land and buildings; it’s a cornerstone of wealth, an investment opportunity, and an avenue for income generation. So, whether you’re dreaming of that perfect home, planning your next big investment, or exploring your rights as a property owner, remember to think about real property’s implications. Because when it comes to real estate, it’s more than just bricks and mortar—it’s about understanding the ‘real’ in real property.

Understanding Steering in Real Estate: Definition, Examples, and Prevention

What Is Steering In Real Estate

If you are looking to buy a property, navigating the world of real estate can be overwhelming, especially when faced with the many specialized terms used in the industry. One such term that you may have come across is “steering.” This article will explore what steering means, why it is illegal, and what you can do if you encounter it.

What is “Steering” in Real Estate?

Steering is a practice in which a real estate agent influences a property buyer to purchase a particular property based on their unconscious prejudices. This practice is illegal because it goes against the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.

For example, if a real estate agent withholds information about properties that meet a potential buyer’s criteria based on their prejudices, they are engaging in steering. Similarly, if a real estate agent shows properties only in certain neighborhoods based on the buyer’s race or ethnicity, they are guilty of steering.

It’s worth noting that some steering can occur due to miscommunication or vagueness. For instance, if a buyer requests properties in a “safe” or “good” area without specifying their criteria, the real estate agent may interpret these terms based on their prejudices, which could lead to steering.

What Should a Buyer Do if They Notice Steering in Real Estate?

If you suspect that a real estate agent is steering you, it’s essential to report it. You should immediately drop the agent and find another agent who does not engage in discriminatory practices. You can also report the agent to their brokerage or other relevant authorities to prevent this behavior from continuing.

What Can Real Estate Agents Do to Avoid Steering in Real Estate?

Real estate agents can take several measures to avoid steering. Firstly, they must take the time to evaluate every choice when looking through properties. When a potential buyer tells them to look at “nice” or “good” properties, they must consider their potential unconscious biases.

Real estate agents must be objective and show potential buyers properties that meet their criteria, regardless of their identity characteristics. If they are unsure or believe their biases may influence their decisions, they should communicate directly with the buyer to clarify their criteria.

For instance, if the buyers say they want to live in a “nice” neighborhood, the real estate agent should ask them to elaborate and clarify what they mean. They can also ask the buyers about their price points and any specific features they want in the property.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Steering vs. Redlining?
Steering and redlining are both illegal, discriminatory practices under fair housing laws. Steering refers to influencing property buyers based on unconscious prejudices, while redlining is denying loans or insurance based on a person’s race, ethnicity, or other protected characteristic.

What are the Penalties for Steering?
Steering in real estate can result in civil fines, lawsuits, criminal charges, revocation of a real estate license, and damage to an agent’s reputation. The penalties can be severe, so real estate agents must avoid discriminatory practices like steering.

What is Puffery in Real Estate?
Puffery is a legal term that refers to the act of exaggerating the value or qualities of a property to persuade someone to buy it. It is not considered a deceptive practice as long as the claims made are not false or misleading. For instance, a real estate agent may describe a property as “gorgeous” or “amazing,” even if it’s not objectively true.

How can I protect myself from steering?
The best way to protect yourself from steering is to educate yourself about fair housing laws and the signs of discrimination. If you feel that a real estate agent is engaging in steering, you should report them immediately and find another agent. When communicating with real estate agents, you can also research the neighborhoods you are interested in and be clear about your criteria.

Final Thoughts

Steering is a discriminatory practice that violates fair housing laws. It occurs when a real estate agent influences a property buyer based on their unconscious prejudices. As a buyer, you must educate yourself about the signs of discrimination and report any instances of steering. Real estate agents can avoid steering by being objective, communicating clearly with potential buyers, and taking the time to evaluate every choice when looking through properties. These and other critically-important topics are discussed in Chamberlin Real Estate School’s Real Estate Salesperson Pre-license Course.

What Are Appurtenances In Real Estate?

What Are Appurtenances In Real Estate

As you delve deeper into the world of real estate, you’ll come across numerous terms that are specific to this field. One term that you’ll encounter frequently is “appurtenances.” While the concept might initially seem overwhelming, it is easy to understand. Moreover, it plays an essential role in property ownership and truthful advertising. This blog post will discuss appurtenances, their definition, and how they relate to the broader real estate profession.

What is the Definition of an Appurtenance?

Appurtenances refer to additions to a house that have become permanent, such as improvements or rights that become a permanent part of the entity at large. These additions are considered part of the property transaction. They are often seen as an added bonus when purchasing a new house. Therefore, they are recognized as a part of the larger entity. They cannot be temporary items or pieces of equipment that belong to an individual.

According to the exact definition of appurtenance, they are “property rights or items that are permanent and are passed along with the sale of the property.” By categorizing parts of the property as appurtenances, real estate transactions become much easier since these additions do not have to be separated from the property itself, which can lead to additional paperwork and expenses.

History of Appurtenances in Real Estate

Appurtenances became a defined term in the profession of real estate after the Cohen v. Whitcomb case in 1919. A heated debate occurred about whether a hot water heater, which the tenant installed, would still be owned by them or if it was now part of the property at large. Ultimately, the court decided that the hot water heater, classified as a “repair” and “improvement” to the property, now became a permanent part of the property itself and was technically owned by the landlord.

Can Appurtenances Be Removed?

For something to be classified as an appurtenance, it must be fixed to the building rather than being something that can easily be removed or replaced. If removing the item would cause a considerable amount of damage to the property, it would be considered an appurtenance. The permanence of the addition to the property is essential, and it is where the term can become a little gray and vague in its definition.

For example, while fences are considered appurtenances, they need to be fixed to the land, and removing them would cause damage to the soil outside of the house. Therefore, a baby fence placed by the stairs that can be picked up and moved around is not considered an appurtenance. Similarly, if an antenna has been attached to a chimney and has become installed to the chimney itself, it would be classified as an appurtenance, and removing it would cause damage.

Examples Of Appurtenances

Common examples of additions and repairs to a home that would be classified as appurtenances include Examples Of Appurtenances

  • Driveways
  • Fences
  • In-ground Swimming Pools
  • Garages
  • Barns
  • Sheds
  • Cabinets
  • Septic Tanks
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Furnaces
An easy way to determine if something is or is not an appurtenance is to recognize whether it can be removed from where it has been placed and if the current owner is able to take this attachment with them when they move to another property. Anything attached via a plug or not built with the intention of being permanent is not considered an appurtenance, such as an above-ground pool designed to be temporary and can be moved without causing damage to the property.

What Is An Appurtenant Easement?

An appurtenant easement refers to someone lending a part of their attached real property to another person for a specific purpose. It is an agreement made between two people to allow an outsider to traverse across parts of their property to get to another destination.

Example: the owner of a property who has built a driveway may allow someone else to walk or drive through the driveway in order to get to a facility that is further on. Sometimes, this can be done without any money being passed between both parties. In other cases, the landowner may require a one-time fee in exchange for granting access to the other person.

Appurtenant easements can also include the right to use a shared driveway or common areas such as a park or a swimming pool in a housing community. These easements are usually recorded in the property deed and can affect the property’s value.

Why Are Appurtenances Important in Real Estate?

Appurtenances are crucial in real estate transactions since they can affect the property’s value, ownership, and transfer. When buying or selling a property, it’s essential to consider all the appurtenances attached to it and understand its classification. Failure to recognize an appurtenance can result in legal disputes or additional expenses.

Moreover, appurtenances can also affect the use and enjoyment of the property. For example, suppose an appurtenant easement allows someone to cross through the property at specific times. In that case, it can limit the owner’s privacy and restrict the use of the property.


Appurtenances are additions to a house that have become permanent, such as improvements or rights that become a permanent part of the entity at large. They are recognized as part of the larger property entity and cannot be temporary items or pieces of equipment that belong to an individual. Appurtenances can affect the property’s value, ownership, and transfer, and it’s essential to consider all of them during real estate transactions. Understanding appurtenances and their classification is vital for real estate agents, buyers, and sellers to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

Learn More About Appurtenances

Appurtenances are just one of hundreds of terms which you’ll master as you study for your real estate license. The pre-license course from Chamberlin Real Estate School presents terms in a way that makes them easy to understand and remember. Any time you have questions, whether about terminology or fundamental concepts in real estate, you’ll have a live instructor available to help you as you prepare to become a Real Estate Agent. Start your journey today!