The Bundle Of Rights
This section will cover some brief definitions concerning the rights of real estate. Land and anything attached to it is considered Real Estate because it is tangible and can be appraised for value. Real Estate refers to items that cannot be picked up and moved without dismantling anything. For example, when you appraise a home you don't evaluate the furniture which can be picked up and removed from the house. You evaluate the building itself which cannot be picked up and moved (unless you hire a house moving company that actually uses huge cranes, jacks, and equipment to lift a house up off the foundation and move it to another location). Real Estate and Realty refer to the same thing. Personal items, such as the furniture, are called Personalty.
Real Property refers to the rights of ownership of real estate which together are called the Bundle of Rights. When you sell real estate you're selling the rights of the real estate. The rights of real estate are:
The right to use. This refers to the owner's right to use his property as he wishes, as long as it isn't for an illegal purpose.
The right to exclude. This refers to the owner's right to rent out his property to whoever he wants to, as long as it isn't for an illegal purpose.
The right to dispose. This refers to the owner's right to sell his property when he wants.
There are Sub-Surface, Surface and Air Rights of real estate. This refers to the fact that the ownership of real estate is considered to start at the center core of the earth. This ownership extends up to the heavens like a big "V" encompassing the property. Therefore, when you purchase real estate you also will own the sub-surface, surface and air rights of that property, unless specified otherwise in the deed for the property.
Fee Simple and Fee Simple Absolute refer to having full ownership rights of a property. Let's say that someone has mineral rights (sub-surface) to your property. You or a prior owner may have purchased the property but later sold the mineral rights to someone else. For example, an oil speculator may have purchased the rights to any crude oil underneath your property. If that were the case then you would not have full Fee Simple ownership of the property. This must be taken into account when determining the market value of the real estate since it will affect the appraised value of the property.
The rights of real estate are severable and divisible. This means that the rights can be cut up and sold to other people. An example is a life estate which is the right granted to someone to use a property until they die. There was a house in my area that was sold by an old man to a builder. The agreement they had was that the builder would subdivide the vacant parts of the property and build three new homes to sell for a profit. The old man not only got his purchase price for the property, but he also was given the right to stay in the house until he died. At the time of the elderly man's death, the property would revert to the builder to sell the last house on the lot which he occupied. Both parties got what they wanted in the transaction.
A more common right granted with real estate is an easement. This is the right to provide access through your property for someone else to run utility lines, install driveways, build a walkway on your property, etc.
All ownership of real estate comes from the sovereign. The sovereign in the United States is the individual states and the Federal government.