Real propertyReal property is type of property that is opposed to personal property. Real property is generally a term used in common law jurisdictions as opposed to immovable property in civil law jurisdictions (immobilier in French). Generally speaking most real property consists, at least partially, of real estate.
Real property is not just the ownership of property and buildings, it includes many legal relationships between owners of real estate that are purely conceptual such as the easement, where a neighboring property may have some right on your property, right-of-way, or the right to pass over a property, and incorporeal heridiments such as profit a prendre. Real property can also be held in various ways. In some jurisdictions it is held absolutely, in other places it may still be considered to be carved out of the Crown's ownership of all property in the realm. Such distinctions are important in terms of the law of escheat or when property reverts to the state because it lacks an owner or has been abandoned.
An important area of real property are the definitions of estates in land. These are various interests that may limit the ownership rights one has over the land. The most common and perhaps most absolute type of estate is the fee simple which signifies that the owner has the right to dispose of the property as she sees fit. Other estates include the life estate where the owner's rights to the property cease at their death and fee tail estates where the property at the time of death passes to the heirs of the body (i.e. children, grandchildren descendents) of the owner of the estate before he died.
Estates may also be held jointly as joint tenants with right of survivorship or as tenants in common. The difference in these two types of joint ownership of an estate in land is basically the inheritability of the estate. In joint tenancy (or in marriage this is sometimes called tenancy of the entirety) the surviving tenant (or tenants) become the sole owner (or owners) of the estate. Nothing passes to the heirs of the deceased tenant. In some jurisdictions the magic words "with right of survivorship" must be used or the tenancy will assumed to be tenants in common. Tenants in common will have a heritable portion of the estate in proportion to their ownership interest which is presumed to be equal amongst tenants unless otherwise stated in the transfer deed. There are other types of estates in land that are used to prevent the alienation of land (also used in the law of trusts). Generally these are called future interests, an example being the rule against perpetuities, see for example The Rule in Shelley's Case.
Real property may not only be owned it may be leased in which the possession of the property is given to the tenant for a limited period of time. Such leases are also called estates such as an estate for years, a periodic tenancy or an estate at will.