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Differences between Personal Property and Real Property

Differences between Personal Property and Real Property

When it comes to the law, there are two main types of property: personal property and real property. Though they may sound similar, these two categories of property have some very important distinctions. To understand the differences between them, let’s take a closer look at each one.

What is Personal Property?

  • Personal property is defined as any type of movable property that is owned by an individual. This includes items such as clothing, furniture, jewelry, and vehicles. Personal property can be either tangible or intangible.
  • Tangible personal property is a physical property that can be touched, such as a piece of furniture or a vehicle. Intangible personal property is a nonphysical asset, such as copyright or trademark.
  • When an individual dies, their personal property becomes part of their estate and is distributed to their heirs according to the terms of their will. Personal property can also be pledged as collateral for a loan, and if the loan is not repaid, the lender has the right to seize the property.

What is Real Property?

  • Real property is a legal term that refers to land and anything that is permanently attached to it, such as buildings, trees, or minerals. Real property is different from personal property, which includes things that are not permanently attached to the land, such as cars, furniture, or jewelry.
  • In general, real property is owned by an individual or a business and can be bought, sold, leased, or inherited. When someone owns real property, they have the right to use it and enjoy it in any legal way that does not damage or interfere with the rights of others. Real property can also be mortgaged as collateral for a loan.
  • If the owner fails to make their mortgage payments, the lender has the right to foreclose on the property and sell it in order to recoup their losses. Real property law is complex and often requires the assistance of a lawyer. However, understanding the basics of real property can help individuals make informed decisions when buying or selling land.

Differences between Personal Property and Real Property

Personal property and real property are two distinct types of property ownership.

  • Personal property is any movable asset that is owned by an individual, such as furniture, clothing, or jewelry. In contrast, real property refers to land and any immovable structures on it, such as buildings or trees.
  • Real property can be further divided into two categories: residential and commercial. Residential real property is any land or structure that is used for living purposes, such as a home or an apartment.
  • Commercial real property, on the other hand, is any land or structure that is used for business purposes, such as an office building or a retail store.

While personal property can be easily moved from one location to another, real property is much more difficult to relocate. As a result, the personal property typically has a lower value than real property.


The main difference between personal property and real estate is that personal property is movable, while real estate is not. This means that you can take your personal belongings with you when you move, but you cannot take the land or building with you.

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