Real Estate, Real Property, and Land

Though often used as synonyms, there are subtle distinctions among the terms. Land primarily refers to the surface of the ground and all natural objects within it or on top of it. Theoretically, land is the section of the earth’s sphere, and includes all earth down to the center, and upward into space. Yes, it’s nice to know that as a real estate owner, you own a significant part of the universe. As a practical matter, land is the surface and anything underneath within reach of technology, and no, the sky isn’t the limit, but a land owner does enjoy air rights to some extent, although with the advent of modern air travel and neighbors these rights have been limited by necessity. After all, Joe, your neighbor, isn’t going to get a tan basking in the shadow of your skyscraper.
Real estate is land and any additions and improvements, such as buildings, sewers, sidewalks, and anything else considered to be permanently attached to the land. This is yet another reason why real estate doesn’t extend into space, as some textbooks on the subject claim, because space isn’t attached to it. As the earth rotates, and revolves about the sun, which in turn is revolving around the center of the galaxy, and so on, the space over real estate is always changing. The citizens of Alpha Centauri can breathe easier, knowing that you will never press any of your claims against them because they happened to be in “your” particular sector of space that happens to be over your land at that moment.
And there are problems with claiming ownership beneath the surface of your land. Do you own the oil down below, for instance? Technically you do, but oil has 2 characteristics that might make it difficult for you to retain ownership. It is liquid, and usually extends over a large area, crossing many real estate boundaries. If your neighbor, who might be miles away and where the oil might be closer to the surface, drills a well and starts pumping it out, the oil will start to flow from under your land to under his.
Thus, there are practical, technical, and legal limitations to real estate ownership. The reality is real estate is basically the surface, anything permanently attached to it, anything that can be extracted from the surface, and certain air rights.

Two things…
That post was kinda out there.
You and sarajean should really get together.

It’s Basic Principles of Real Estate 101. Revisited.


Yeah, I totally don’t get these posts, and there seems to be a rash of them lately. almost like they’re computer generated or something… :bs