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Real Property vs. Personal Property

In legal terms, there are two different types of property: real and personal. This distinction between types of property comes from English common law, but our modern laws continue to make the distinction. Each type of property is treated differently under the law and there are many types of laws that distinguish between real property and personal property. During or before a divorce, it could be extremely helpful to know the differences between each one.

Differences Between Property Types

Personal property is anything that can be moved. It’s anything that can be subject to ownership, except land. Real property is property that cannot be moved. It is land and anything that is attached to the land.

Most of the time a piece of property can easily be classified as either personal property or real property because the difference between the two is usually straightforward, but sometimes it’s a little more difficult to distinguish between the two.

For example, if you were to go to Lowes and buy lumber, a hammer, and other tools that you will need for a job, this will be considered personal property. It is moveable and belongs to you.

However, once you use the property to build a shed in your backyard, the shed is considered to be real property. Why? Because it is attached to and is now a part of your land. Whatever building supplies you have leftover will be considered personal property, but the shed is not.

Personal Property

Personal property includes possessions. To be considered personal property the possessions must be moveable and owned by someone. Personal property can also include tangible and intangible items.

Tangible items are anything that can be touched. Such as:

  • Office furniture
  • Business equipment
  • Business vehicles
  • Business goods

Intangible items are items that can’t be felt or touched. Intangible items would be anything like:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Intellectual property
  • Money

Real Property

The main difference between personal property and real property is that real property is property that is fixed to a specific location. This includes land and anything that is built onto it and does include anything that is growing on the land. For businesses real property includes immovable property that the business owns, such as:

  • Land
  • Buildings
  • Crops
  • Mineral rights

Contact A Legal Representative 

If you have any further questions about real property versus personal property or are in need of legal advice or representation please call (315) 488-5544 or contact Bombardo Law Office, P.C.


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