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 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.[clarification needed]
In law, the word real means relating to a thing (res/rei, thing, from O.Fr. reel, from L.L. realis "actual," from Latin. res, "matter, thing"), as distinguished from a person. Thus the law broadly distinguishes between "real" property (land and anything affixed to it) and "personal" property (everything else, e.g., clothing, furniture, money). The conceptual difference was between immovable property, which would transfer title along with the land, and movable property, which a person would retain title to. The oldest use of the term "Real Estate" that has been preserved in historical records was in 1666.
The use of "real" to refer to land also reflects the ancient preference for land, and the ownership thereof (and the owners thereof). This, in turn reflects the values of the medieval feudal system, which is the ultimate root of the common law.
Some have claimed that the word Real is derived from "royal" (The word royal—and its Spanish cognate real—come from the related Latin word rex-regis, meaning king. For hundreds of years the Royal family / King owned the land, and the peasants paid rent or property taxes to be on the Royal's land. Today, just like hundreds of years in the past, we pay property taxes, or rent to be on the government's land or the Royal Estate). However, the "real" in "real property" is derived from the Latin for "thing".
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