In a real estate contract, the property is the land within the legally described boundaries and all permanent structures and fixtures. Ownership of the property confers the legal right to use the property as allowed within the law and within the restrictions of zoning or easements. Fixture property refers to those items permanently attached to the structure, such as carpeting or a ceiling fan, which transfers with the property.

Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, sell, rent, mortgage, transfer, exchange or destroy their property, and/or to exclude others from doing these things. Important widely recognized types of property include real property (land), personal property (physical possessions belonging to a person), private property (property owned by legal persons or business entities), public property (state owned or publicly owned and available possessions) and intellectual property (exclusive rights over artistic creations, inventions, etc. ), although the latter is not always as widely recognized or enforced.

A title, or a right of ownership, establishes the relation between the property and other persons, assuring the owner the right to dispose of the property as they see fit. Some philosophers assert that property rights arise from social convention. Others find origins for them in morality or natural law. Various scholarly disciplines (such as law, economics, anthropology or sociology) may treat the concept more systematically, but definitions vary within and between fields. Scholars in the social sciences frequently conceive of property as a bundle of rights. They stress that property is not a relationship between people and things, but a relationship between people with regard to things.

Property is usually thought of as being defined and protected by the local sovereignty. Ownership, however, does not necessarily equate with sovereignty. If ownership gave supreme authority, it would be sovereignty, not ownership. These are two different concepts. Public property is any property that is controlled by a state or by a whole community. Private property is any property that is not public property. Private property may be under the control of a single person or by a group of persons jointly.

Modern property rights are based on conceptions of owners and possession as belonging to legal persons, even if the legal person is not a natural person. In most countries, corporations, for example, have legal rights similar to those of citizens. Therefore, the corporation is a juristic person or artificial legal entity, under a concept that some refer to as "corporate personhood". Property rights are protected in the current laws of most states, usually in their constitution or in a bill of rights. Protection is also prescribed in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17, and in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), Protocol 1.

Traditional principles of property rights include:Traditional property rights do not include:Not every person or entity with an interest in a given piece of property may be able to exercise all possible property rights. For example, as a lessee of a particular piece of property, you may not sell the property, because a tenant is only in possession and does not have title to transfer. Similarly, while you are a lessee, the owner cannot use their right to exclude to keep you from the property, or, if they do, you may be entitled to stop paying rent or sue for access. Further, property may be held in a number of forms, such as through joint ownership, community property, sole ownership or lease.

These different types of ownership may complicate an owner's ability to exercise property rights unilaterally. For example, if two people own a single piece of land as joint tenants then, depending on the law in the jurisdiction, each may have limited recourse for the actions of the other. For example, one of the owners might sell their interest in the property to a stranger whom the other owner does not particularly like.

Legal systems have evolved to cover transactions and disputes that arise over the possession, use, transfer, and disposal of property, most particularly involving contracts. Positive law defines such rights, and the judiciary is used to adjudicate and to enforce property rights. According to Adam Smith, the expectation of profit from "improving one's stock of capital" rests on private property rights.

It is an assumption central to capitalism that property rights encourage their holders to develop the property, generate wealth, and efficiently allocate resources based on the operation of markets.

From this has evolved the modern conception of property as a right enforced by positive law, in the expectation that this will produce more wealth and better standards of living. In his text The Common Law, Oliver Wendell Holmes describes property as having two fundamental aspects. The first is possession, which can be defined as control over a resource based on the practical inability of another to contradict the ends of the possessor. The second is title, which is the expectation that others will recognize rights to control resource, even when it is not in possession. He elaborates the differences between these two concepts, and proposes a history of how they came to be attached to persons, as opposed to families or entities such as the church. Both communism and some kinds of socialism have also upheld the notion that private property is inherently illegitimate.

This argument centers mainly on the idea that creation of private property always benefits one class over another, giving rise to domination through the use of this private property.