Personal Property

What is 'Personal Property'

Personal property is a type of property which, in its most general definition, can include any asset other than real estate. The distinguishing factor between personal property and real estate is that personal property is movable. That is, the asset is not fixed permanently to one location as with real property such as land or buildings. Examples of personal property include vehicles, furniture, boats, collectibles, etc.

Also known as "movable property", "movables" and "chattels."

BREAKING DOWN 'Personal Property'

It's tough to have a precise definition for "personal property" as it is very much a legal term. The concept is perhaps best understood with a comparision to real property. Under common law systems it is possible to place a mortgage upon real property. Because the lender has rights to the property it makes the extension of credit relatively safe and easy. After all, it's tough to flee the country with your house. On the other hand, it's tougher for a creditor to secure personal property. While common law systems do allow liens to be placed on personal property (such as vehicles) to protect the rights of creditors, there is obviously much more risk that the debtor simply drives away with the collateral if fleeing the country.

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