Personal Property vs Real Property: Difference and Comparison

The difference between personal and real property is very intriguing as many of us still think that whatever we buy with our money becomes our personal property.

But, they vary on a lot of factors. For example, buying land and building a house on it is referred to as real property.

But, the furniture inside the house, various appliances, vehicles, etc, are referred to as personal property. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Personal property includes movable items like furniture, clothing, and vehicles.
  2. Real property consists of immovable assets such as land and buildings.
  3. Ownership rights, taxes, and legal protections vary between personal and real property.

Personal Property vs Real Property

Personal property is transferred through a bill of sale or other contract types, while real property is transferred through a deed. Real property may also be subject to additional regulations like zoning laws, building codes, and environmental regulations, which may not apply to personal property.

Personal Property vs Real Property

Personal property is also known as movable property or chattels. There are two ways in which personal property can be insured.

In the first case, the current value of the property is taken into consideration, taking depreciation into account. And, in the second case, how much value it can compensate for a similar new item. 

In simple words, real property constitutes lands and everything permanently attached to it. Understanding real property valuations is very complex as it depends on several factors.

For example, a land of 10 acres in a metropolitan city might cost more than a land of 15 acres in a remote village. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPersonal PropertyReal Property
DefinitionPersonal property can be classified as those properties that include any form of any asset but real estate. Real property mainly refers to land and anything permanently attached to it like houses, walls, etc. 
DurabilityPersonal properties are not always very durable and in most cases, the value depreciates with time. For example, a car or furniture. Since real properties mainly refer to the land they are long-lasting and very durable. 
Legal ProcedureLegal procedure for buying or selling personal property is comparatively much easier. People buying real properties have to go through many tedious legal procedures and take a lot of time. 
ComplexityPersonal properties are less complex and they are not taxed like fixed property. Real properties are a bit complex to understand as after buying one has to pay tax and know things like who has the authority to sell, valuation in the current market, etc. 
Immovability One can easily move personal properties from one place to another. Since real property mostly refers to real estate, one can neither move a land nor a house. 
CategoriesPersonal properties are mainly classified as tangible and intangible. In general, real property can be classified as residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc. 

What is Personal Property?

From home appliances to automobiles, everything falls under personal property. Though most personal properties depreciate value over time, in the case of antiques, it is the opposite.

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One of the main characteristics of personal property is that it is movable.

Personal property is classified into two groups, tangible and intangible.

Tangible personal property includes vehicles, collectables, furniture, appliances, etc., whereas intangible personal property includes bank accounts, stocks, insurance policies, etc. Money also falls under intangible property. 

When families insure their homes, the insurance policies cover personal properties as well and not just the building.

In case of an accident, the policyholders get two options for covering their personal property, either the actual cash value or the replacement value. 

personal property

What is Real Property?

 When one buys a piece of land, everything that is attached to it, both natural and man-made, falls under ownership. Real property can be of several types.

For example, a private resident also falls under real property as well as land for industrial use, like building a factory also falls under the same category. 

There is a difference between land and real estate. Land refers to what is underneath the land, such as minerals and the airspace above the land.

But in the case of real estate, it includes the structures permanently attached to the land, like buildings, sewers, streets, lakes, etc. 

Once a person owns real property, he/she can sell it, keep it for further development, lease it, etc. Estates in real property can also be further divided into freehold estates and non-freehold estates. 

real property

Main Differences Between Personal Property and Real Property

  1.  Personal properties are those properties that include any form of any asset but real estate, whereas real property mainly refers to land and anything permanently attached to it, like houses, walls, etc. 
  2. Personal properties are not always very durable; in most cases, the value depreciates with time. For example, a car or furniture. On the other hand, real properties mainly refer to the land they are long-lasting and very durable. 
  3. A legal procedure for buying or selling personal property is comparatively much easier as compared to real property, which takes a lot of time and multiple steps.
  4. Personal properties are less complex and not taxed like fixed property. But, real properties are a bit complex to understand as one has to pay tax and take care of other proceedings after buying. 
  5. One can easily move personal properties from one place to another, whereas real property mostly refers to real estate, one can neither move a land nor a house.
  6. Personal properties are mainly classified as tangible and intangible, whereas real property can be classified as residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc. 
References
  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/mnlr54&section=36
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/nclr63&section=17
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Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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6 thoughts on “Personal Property vs Real Property: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Very insightful information about personal and real property. I like how the article examines both topics in great detail.

    Reply
  2. This article does a great job breaking down the differences between personal property and real property. Very informative.

    Reply
  3. I find this article to be very educational and enlightening. I’ve gained a lot of valuable knowledge through this.

    Reply

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