Property in the real world is exactly what it describes: anything that you own or have the legal right to claim belongs to you and whether as part of something or as an independent attribute. In a simple sense, everything that exists is property, and all property can be owned by someone or something. But that’s not really all there is to it. There are two more levels of property that will be touched in this article, and I’m going to touch on them so you can see just how big of a concept property is in real life. And just how complex it can actually be.


Private Property – This refers to any physical property that only you have access to. A patch of land where you can build your own house is considered private property. A vacation home that you rent out to your neighbors is a form of private property. Private property exists in both tangible and intangible forms, and the most common examples of intangible property are patents, deeds of trust, and trademarks. When talking about property in the real world, it is generally assumed that private property is something that is possessed by individuals, but this assumption could not be further from the truth.

Public Property – Anything that is not considered private is considered public property. This could include roads, forests, beaches, national parks, buildings, etc. The definition of public property can extend to bodies of water, streets, and even entire planets! Some things in the world are publicly owned while others are privately owned; in both cases, the ownership is dependent upon the jurisdiction in which the property exists.

Financial Property – This is any financial property that you own, such as stocks or bonds. Things like bank accounts, bonds, mutual funds, pension plans, and other types of investments are considered part of personal property. They do not necessarily exist within the property they are tied to; if something is not owned by someone, it is not necessarily tied to that person. For instance, bank accounts are often tied to a person’s employment; if an employee does not have enough money for an account, it will not be opened. Financial property does not necessarily always exist with the individual; it can exist in the form of a company, trust, or government. In this case, the ownership is determined by the legal setup of the company or institution.

Goods and Services – Just as with personal property, the goods and services that people create and produce are considering property. These things do not necessarily exist within the property they are tied to, but they can exist in the mind of the person who produces them. If a business produces widgets, then they are considered property, unless the owner sells them to someone who makes them and keeps them. People may own raw materials, resources, and labor when they produce something tangible and hire someone to produce it.

Real Estate Property – This is any property that an individual owns outright. A piece of real estate can either be freehold or leasehold. If it is freehold real estate, it will be under the jurisdiction of the Crown. Leasehold real estate signifies that the property is open to rent.