You may be interested, as I was, to read about some technical real estate terms that have drastic implications for how we own our property. (Of course, take everything from Wikipedia with a grain of salt.)
- Allodial title: It describes a situation where real property (land, buildings and fixtures) is owned free and clear of any encumbrances, including liens, mortgages and tax obligations. Allodial title is inalienable, in that it cannot be taken by any operation of law for any reason whatsoever.
- Fee simple: It is the most common way real estate is owned in common law countries, and is ordinarily the most complete ownership interest that can be had in real property short of allodial title, which is often reserved for governments. Fee simple ownership represents absolute ownership of real property but it is limited by the four basic government powers of taxation, eminent domain, police power, and escheat.
- Fee tail: It describes an estate of inheritance in real property which cannot be sold, devised by will, or otherwise alienated by the owner, but which passes by operation of law to the owner's heirs upon his death.
- Adverse possession: In real estate common law, adverse possession is a means of acquiring title to another's real property without compensation, by, as the name suggests, holding the property in a manner that conflicts with the true owner's rights. Adverse possession requires the actual, visible, hostile, notorious, exclusive, and continuous possession of the property, and some jurisdictions further require the possession to be made under a claim of title or a claim of right.
- Leasehold estate: An ownership interest in land in which a lessee or a tenant holds real property by some form of title from a lessor or landlord. ... Various forms of leasehold estates exist, or have existed in the past. Ancient forms no longer used include socage and burgage. There are four modern leasehold estates — the tenancy for years, the periodic tenancy, the tenancy at will, and the tenancy at sufference.
- Life estate: common law is an estate in real property that ends at death. Although it is technically a tenancy (the holder is called a life tenant), it is treated the same as a fee simple with respect to the constraints upon its use for the duration of the estate. Since it ends at death, and the owner of the life estate cannot leave it to his heirs or convey a larger interest in the land than what the owner actually owns, a life estate is not an estate of inheritance.
- And then there's a ton to learn about easements.
- The rule against perpetuities may also be of interest.