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|Part of the common law series|
|Estates in land|
|Future use control|
|Other common law areas|
Real estate is “property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; (also) an item of real property; (more generally) buildings or housing in general. Also: the business of real estate; the profession of buying, selling, or renting land, buildings or housing.”
In British usage, “real property”, often shortened to just “property”, generally refers to land and fixtures, while the term “real estate” is used mostly in the context of probate law, and means all interests in land held by a deceased person at death, excluding interests in money arising under a trust for sale of or charged on land.
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Some similarities include legal formalities (with professionals such as real estate agents generally employed to assist the buyer); taxes need to be paid (but typically less than those in U. S.); legal paperwork will ensure title; and a neutral party such as a title company will handle documentation and money to make the smooth exchange between the parties. Increasingly, U. S. title companies are doing work for U. S. buyers in Mexico and Central America.
Prices are often much lower than prices in countries such as the U. S., but in many locations, such as Mexico City, prices of houses and lots are as expensive as houses and lots in countries such as the U. S. U. S. banks have begun to give home loans for properties in Mexico, but, so far, not for other Latin American countries.
In Mexico, foreigners cannot buy land or homes within 50 km (31 mi) of the coast or 100 km (62 mi) from a border unless they hold title in a Mexican Corporation or a Fideicomiso (a Mexican trust). In Honduras, however, foreigners may buy beach front property directly in their name. There are different rules regarding certain types of property: ejidal land — communally held farm property — can be sold only after a lengthy entitlement process, but that does not prevent them from being offered for sale.
Real estate agents in Costa Rica currently do not need a license to operate, but the transfer of property requires a lawyer. CCCBR (Camara Costarricense de Corredores de Bienes Raices) is the only official body that represents the Real Estate industry to the government. The Costa Rica MLS is the official MLS of the Costa Rica Chamber of Real Estate Brokers Board. The Chamber institutes the rules, regulations and ethical guide for officially licensed brokers in Costa Rica.
In Mexico, real estate agents do not need a license to operate, but the transfer of property requires a notary public.
In Thailand it is possible for a foreigner to own a condominium freehold provided ownership does not exceed 49% of the total building; it is not easily possible for a foreigner to own land but normal practice is that investment property can be purchased then Land acquired under a 30 year lease option; Until recently it was considered by most legal advisors that the ownership of land by a foreigner through a Thai Limited Company was acceptable, although the Law clearly states that foreigners cannot own land in Thailand. The Government has now made clear that such ownership may be illegal. The legitimacy of such ownership depends on the status of the Thai Shareholders who must be shown to be active and financially participating shareholders.
In the Philippines, real estate is an area for growth. Aside from the development of high rise buildings in the Greater Manila area, nearby provinces are now seeing much land development with its continuous expansion for horizontal development projects in the nearby provinces such as Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga and Batangas.
The major expansion in vertical real estate development outside Metro Manila south of the metropolis, Cebu and Iloilo in the Visayas, Cagayan de Oro and Davao in Mindanao, where medium‑to‑high rise buildings are beginning to appear.
Foreigners are generally not allowed to hold more than a 40% interest in any land, although there is an exemption for pensioners who deposit more than US$50,000 in a specified account. Philippine rules distinguish between a house and the land it sits on.
The legal arrangement for the right to occupy a dwelling in some countries is known as the housing tenure. Types of housing tenure include owner occupancy, tenancy, housing cooperative, condominiums (individually parceled properties in a single building), public housing, squatting, and cohousing. The occupants of a residence constitute a household.
Residences can be classified by, if, and how they are connected to neighboring residences and land. Different types of housing tenure can be used for the same physical type. For example, connected residents might be owned by a single entity and leased out, or owned separately with an agreement covering the relationship between units and common areas and concerns.
The size of an apartment or house can be described in square feet or meters. In the United States, this includes the area of “living space”, excluding the garage and other non-living spaces. The “square meters” figure of a house in Europe may report the total area of the walls enclosing the home, thus including any attached garage and non-living spaces, which makes it important to inquire what kind of surface definition has been used.
It can be described more roughly by the number of rooms. A studio apartment has a single bedroom with no living room (possibly a separate kitchen). A one-bedroom apartment has a living or dining room separate from the bedroom. Two bedroom, three bedroom, and larger units are common. (A bedroom is defined as a room with a closet for clothes storage.)
The size is measured in Gaz (square yards), Quila, Marla, Beegha, and acre.
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|This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (March 2013)|
That makes real estate assets 54% and financial assets 46% of total stocks, bonds, and real estate assets. Assets not counted here are bank deposits, insurance “reserve” assets, natural resources, and human assets. It is not clear if all debt and equity investments are counted in the categories equities and bond.