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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Ng, Esq.

The Basics of Real Estate Law

As an experienced real estate attorney, I know firsthand that real estate law encompasses a vast and intricate landscape that governs property ownership, utilization, and conveyance. It's crucial for property owners, investors, and professionals engaged in real estate transactions to have a firm grasp of the underlying principles. In this blog, I'll shed light on the fundamentals of real estate law, delving into the various property classifications, property rights, and the significance of staying well-versed in local and state regulations.

Types of Property

There are two primary categories of property:

Real property

Real property, also known as real estate, includes land and any permanent improvements attached to the land, such as buildings, structures, and fixtures. Real property can be further divided into residential, commercial, and industrial properties.

Personal property

Personal property refers to movable assets that are not permanently attached to land, such as furniture, vehicles, and personal possessions. Personal property can be tangible (physical objects) or intangible (e.g., intellectual property, stocks, and bonds).

Property Rights

Property rights are the legal rights that determine how an owner can use, control, and transfer their property. Some key property rights include:

  • Possession: The right to physically occupy and control the property.

  • Use and enjoyment: The right to use the property as the owner sees fit, within the confines of the law.

  • Exclusion: The right to prevent others from entering or using the property without the owner's permission.

  • Transfer: The right to sell, lease, or bequeath the property to others.

  • Understanding Local and State Regulations

State and local laws and regulations primarily govern real estate law. It's essential to familiarize yourself with these rules, as they can significantly impact property ownership, use, and transfer. Some important aspects to consider include the following:

  • Zoning and land use regulations: These rules determine how a property can be used and developed based on its designated zoning classification (e.g., residential, commercial, or industrial).

  • Building codes and permits: Local building codes set standards for building construction, maintenance, and safety. Property owners often need to obtain permits for new construction or significant renovations.

  • Property taxes: Property taxes are imposed by local governments and are based on the property's assessed value. Tax rates and assessment methods can vary depending on the jurisdiction.

  • Environmental regulations: State and federal environmental laws can impact property use and development, particularly if the property contains wetlands, endangered species habitat, or contaminated soil or groundwater.

  • Real estate transaction laws: State laws regulate various aspects of real estate transactions, such as required disclosures, purchase agreements, and title insurance.


Understanding the fundamentals of real estate law is crucial for property owners, investors, and real estate professionals to protect their interests and make informed decisions. Familiarize yourself with the different property types, property rights, and the relevant local and state regulations governing real estate transactions. Feel free to contact me for a free consultation to learn more.

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