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Real property

Real property or real estate is land and everything that is permanently attached or affixed to the land—buildings, fences, and those things attached to the buildings, such as light fixtures and plumbing and heating fixtures.

Real property includes the legal rights of ownership—such as the rights to possess, sell, use, lease, and enjoy the land. The terms real property and real estate are generally synonymous.

Land is generally defined as the earth’s surface, extending downward to the center of the earth and upward to infinity—including everything that is permanently attached by nature, such as trees and water. Land includes minerals below the earth’s surface and airspace above the land.

Real property is often classified and referenced according to its use as residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, or special purpose property. Real property is generally contrasted with personal property, which includes all movable, tangible things that are not real property.

In Texas, real property, also known as real estate, encompasses land and any structures or fixtures permanently attached to it, such as buildings and fences. This definition extends to components fixed to buildings like light fixtures and plumbing. The ownership rights associated with real property include the ability to possess, sell, lease, use, and enjoy the property. The concept of land in Texas covers the surface area, the space above and below it to an indefinite extent, and naturally attached elements like trees and bodies of water. It also includes subsurface rights, such as mineral rights, which are particularly significant in Texas due to its oil and gas reserves. Air rights are part of the property as well, which can be pertinent in urban development. Texas law categorizes real property based on its use, such as residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, or special purpose. This classification can affect zoning, taxation, and regulatory matters. Real property is distinct from personal property, which refers to movable items that are not affixed to the land. The Texas Property Code and various other state statutes, along with federal law, govern real property rights and transactions.


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