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What Exactly Does it Mean to Own Real Property?

Joshua Dorkin
1 min read

The American Heritage Dictionary defines property as something owned, and the right of ownership as well. Therefore, property is not just the thing that is owned, but also includes the bundle of rights that come along with ownership. These rights are as important as the actual property itself. Without them, we’d just have something that we couldn’t do anything with.These rights include the right to occupy, or rent out the property, the right to control, and alter the property, the right to use the property as you see fit without meddling from outsiders, and lastly, the right to transfer the property or the various rights to that property to others.

In truth, we never really fully own anything, as the government has the right to take your property for a better and higher use, but most of us will not face takeover or interference from the government.

Real Property relates to the land and anything immovable attached to the land. This is why real estate is also known as real property. Ownership of real property includes more than what we can see, though. Along with the purchase of your home, you traditionally gain air space rights, meaning the right to use the air above the property. You have the right to build a second, third, or fiftieth story on your home, provided local statutes don’t prevent it. You also have a right to that which is below the earth . . . remember the Beverly Hillbillies? All that oil on your land is yours! Diamonds, gold, and other commodities found below the surface of the earth on your land are also yours. Lastly, trees, shrubs, and other permanent plant life yours as well.

While much of this may seem obvious, many people may forget about the rights they have that come along with the purchase of real property. As you can tell, the rights that go with a property may be more valuable than the property itself. Imagine buying some land where you discover oil below the surface. You’ve made it, right? What if you forgot to buy the mineral rights to the land? That wouldn’t be good, would it? No.

Make sure you get all the rights to your property or you won’t really own it at all.

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.