What Is Real Estate?
Real estate is land including all the buildings and land on it, and its accompanying natural resources like water, plants or minerals; immovable property of that kind; an ownership vested in a parcel of immovable real estate, buildings, land or housing in whole or in part. In simple terms, real estate can be defined as any real thing not the tangible object produced by human labor that can be bought, rented, leased, or transferred for a definite period of time with the right of redemption. In today’s highly urbanized world, the term real estate has many shades and varieties, depending on whom one speaks to. For example, the New York Times Magazine refers to real estate as the “ultimate financial vehicle of American business”. The Washington Post Magazine refers to real estate as an “economic generator”.
While these definitions are very broad and don’t exactly define what real estate is, they do give us some basic ideas. The definition most commonly seen in reference to the urban region of the country, where much of the middle class lives, is that of residential real estate. This may refer to properties such as apartment buildings, row houses, townhouses, condos, and multi-family residences that all fall under this broader rubric. The term also encompasses natural areas, including parks, forests and other non-urban or rural areas that have all of the economic characteristics of real estate, and are therefore often referred to as land.
There are four main types of real estate. These are: residential real estate, commercial real estate, vacant land, and manufactured land. Within the residential real estate category are two broad sub-types: owner occupied and tenants’ occupied. The term “owner occupied” indicates that the property was, at one time, owned by a single family or household, and as such, is considered to be residential real estate. On the other hand, the term “tenants’ occupied” identifies the type of dwelling structure that is inhabited by members of a similar family or household. Vacant land, also known as “open land,” is any property that has been zoned as open land, but which is not actually designed as a housing development.