Real Estate

Real estate is a legal term (in some jurisdictions, notably in the USA, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia) that encompasses land along with anything permanently affixed to the land, such as buildings, specifically property that is stationary, or fixed in location. Real estate law is the body of regulations and legal codes which pertain to such matters under a particular jurisdiction. Real estate is often considered synonymous with real property (also sometimes called realty), in contrast with personal property (also sometimes called chattel or personalty under chattel law or personal property law).

However, in some situations the term “real estate” refers to the land and fixtures together, as distinguished from “real property,” referring to ownership rights of the land itself.

The terms real estate and real property are used primarily in common law, while civil law jurisdictions refer instead to immovable property.

Real estate terminology and practice outside the United States (around the world)

Real estate as “real property” in the U.K.

In British usage, “real property”, often shortened to just “property”, generally refers to land and fixtures as such while the term “real estate” is used mostly in the context of probate law, and means all interests in land held by a deceased person at death excluding interests in money arising under a trust for sale of or charged on land.

See Real property for a definition and Estate agent for a description of the practice in the UK.

Real estate in Mexico and Central America

The real estate business in Mexico and Central America is different from the way that it is conducted in the United States.

Some similarities include a variety of legal formalities (with professionals such as real estate agents generally employed to assist the buyer); taxes need to be paid (but typically less than those in U.S.); legal paperwork will ensure title; and a neutral party such as a title company will handle documentation and monies in order to smoothly make the exchange between the parties. Increasingly, U.S. title companies are doing work for U.S. buyers in Mexico and Central America.

Prices are often much cheaper than most areas of the U.S., but in many locations prices of houses and lots are as expensive as the U.S., one example being Mexico City. U.S. banks have begun to give home loans for properties in Mexico, but, so far, not for other Latin American countries.

One important difference from the United States is that each country has rules regarding where foreigners can buy. For example, in Mexico, foreigners cannot buy land or homes within 50km of the coast or 100km from a border unless they hold title in a Mexican Corporation or a Fideicomiso (a Mexican trust). In Honduras, however, they may buy beach front property directly in their name. There are also different special rules regarding certain types of property: ejidal land – communally held farm property – can only be sold after a lengthy entitlement process, but that does not prevent them from being offered for sale.

Many websites advertising and selling Mexican and Central American real estate exist, but they may need to be researched.

In Costa Rica, real estate agents do not need a license to operate, but the transfer of property requires a lawyer.

Purchasing a home in New York City is definitely a unique experience for the first-time home buyer. Real estate, banking, New York short sale and corporate law.

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