What Is Real Estate?
No, it’s not a trick question, and we don’t think you’re dumb. But this definition isn’t as simple as many people think, especially first timers. It’s not just the house we’re talking about here.
Also called “real property,” real estate is the land and all the things permanently attached to it, like houses, garages, outbuildings like play houses, fences and trees. You might hear those things called “appurtenances.”
Everything else is what real estate agents would call “chattels.” That’s personal property that’s removable.
Carpet that's nailed to the floor is an appurtenance; a rug you can roll up and take with you is a chattel.
The word "appurtenance" recently came to me via The Free Dictionary's word of the day.
Definition: (noun) Equipment, such as clothing, tools, or instruments, used for a specific purpose or task.
Synonyms: paraphernalia, gear
Usage: He had half expected that she would drive up to the side door in a hansom, would wear a thick veil, and adopt the other appurtenances of a clandestine meeting.
"Clandestine" deserves its own column. "Chattel" is perhaps a simpler concept, with its legalism extending past removable objects to movable people.
1. Law. Often, chattels. a movable article of personal property.
2. Often, chattels. any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to land.
3. a slave.
Veering back to appurtenance, we find a word richly endowed with synonyms: accessories, trappings, appendages, accoutrements, equipment, paraphernalia, impedimenta, bits and pieces, things, and stuff.
So, in the end, is the city's corporate attorney an appurtenance of Jeff Gahan's, or his chattel?
Rinse, repeat -- and discuss among yourselves.