What Is Residential Real Estate?

Residential real estate encompasses houses, apartments and condos used for living purposes. This property type is distinct from commercial real estate, which includes office buildings, retail spaces, warehouses and industrial complexes.

Real Estate

Investing in either commercial or residential real estate offers a variety of benefits for investors. Choosing the right property type depends on your financial goals and risk tolerance. Contact Real Estate Savannah GA for professional help.

Residential real estate refers to structures designed for individuals and families to live in, such as single-family homes, condos or apartments. Investors who own and operate residential properties can generate rental income from tenants. In addition, residential property values may appreciate over time due to economic growth or housing market trends, resulting in capital gains when the investor decides to sell.

There are several types of property ownership in residential real estate, including sole ownership, joint tenancy, tenancy in common and ownership through a trust. Investors should carefully consider their goals and financial capability before choosing an ownership structure. For example, a commercial asset typically requires a larger initial investment than a residential rental. This includes not only the purchase price, but potential renovations, legal fees and a buffer to cover initial vacancy periods. Residential assets, on the other hand, are less expensive and accessible to a broader range of investors.

Ownership of a property can be transferred by sale or inheritance. However, the most common form of property ownership in residential real estate is through joint tenancy. Joint tenancy refers to two or more people owning equal percentages of the property. Each person has the right to possess and use the property, and responsibilities for maintenance and rent payments are shared according to each owner’s percentage of ownership.

Other types of property ownership in residential real estate include tenancy in common and ownership through titling. When a property is owned by a trust, a trustee holds title on behalf of beneficiaries, who enjoy the benefits and protections of ownership without having to worry about the administrative responsibilities of property management. This type of ownership is most often seen in the context of investment property, such as rental buildings.


A residential lease is a contract between landlords and tenants (also called lessors and lessees) that outlines the terms of occupancy. It can be written or verbal, and must be signed by both parties before it becomes valid. The lease agreement may include provisions that stipulate occupancy rules, maintenance responsibilities and other important details. The terms of a lease may also stipulate that any guests staying in the property must sign the lease and pay rent as well. If a tenant stays after the end of the lease term, it is called a holdover and can only be terminated by giving the landlord notice of non-renewal.

Investors choose to own and manage residential real estate because it usually has a steady demand. This is because people need to live somewhere and renting a house or apartment is an easy way to make money. In contrast, commercial real estate is used for business purposes and requires a greater investment from investors.

When investing in residential real estate, it is important to conduct a thorough screening of prospective tenants before signing a lease agreement. The process involves evaluating income, credit history and previous tenancy records. It is also vital to ensure that the property complies with all safety and health regulations for housing.

Residential leases tend to be shorter than commercial leases, which can result in more frequent turnover and vacancies. Finding a new tenant can be challenging for landlords, who lose money when the property is empty. This is different from a commercial property, where the leases are longer and there is usually more than one tenant in the building. A property manager can help with the process of choosing a residential investment property.


A property’s appreciation rate determines its overall value and how much of a profit you may make when you sell it. This appreciation is due to factors like economic growth, housing market trends and local development. It is also important to note that appreciation rates vary by location and even by property within the same city. Keeping track of both national and local appreciation rates is vital for homeowners.

Residential and commercial properties often appreciate in value over time, especially if they are located in high-demand areas or close to popular attractions. This is because these types of locations tend to attract more buyers, leading to higher demand and prices. Appreciation also occurs when a property is undergoing major renovations, as these improvements can enhance its curb appeal and increase its overall marketability.

Real estate investments are a great way to build wealth over the long term, as the monthly rent payments from tenants provide consistent cash flow. Over time, this can help you pay off your mortgage and build equity in your home. This equity can then be used to purchase a new home or other investments.

Appreciation can be measured by comparing the current value of your home to its original purchase price. To calculate this, subtract your current home’s value from its original price and multiply it by 100 to express the percentage of appreciation.

The most common type of property appreciation is price appreciation. This happens when a property’s value increases over time, resulting in a greater return on investment than the initial cost. However, this type of appreciation can also be impacted by external factors. For example, if a nearby road project causes increased traffic, the value of your home may decrease.

Legal Protections

Real estate law provides a number of protections for owners, contractors, builders and real estate professionals. Some of these laws are federal, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, and others are state or local, such as homeowner association rules and environmental regulations. The laws also protect against discrimination, a breach of the warranty of habitability and fraud in the sale of property.

Homeowners have several rights with respect to their property, including the right of possession, control, exclusion and disposition. However, despite having these rights, homeowners do not have complete reign over their property. They must abide by zoning restrictions and other laws and ordinances that govern the use of a property. These restrictions can affect the enjoyment and value of a property.

For example, a homeowner may not build a house in an area that is zoned for commercial use, such as a retail storefront. This is considered a violation of the property’s zoning restriction. In addition, a homeowner cannot use his or her property for illegal purposes, such as drug manufacturing or animal cruelty.

A home seller and real estate professional are prohibited from discriminating in the sale, lease or rental of a property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national origin. Home sellers and real estate professionals are also bound by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, which prohibits kickbacks and referral fees, excessive escrow accounts and false statements in loan applications.


Residential real estate investors rely on tenants to pay rental payments and upkeep costs. As a result, landlords conduct thorough screenings of potential tenants, including evaluating credit history and income, and checking previous tenancy records. Landlords also need to ensure that the property will not be used for illegal activities or in violation of local zoning ordinances.

Like commercial properties, residential rentals have many tax advantages. Owners can deduct mortgage interest, repairs and maintenance expenses, rental income, and depreciation on their taxes. These deductions can offset the initial investment and help them generate significant cash flow, reducing their tax burden.

Real estate taxes vary between and within states, due to differences in statutory property tax rates and the methods used by local governments to assess residential home values. These taxes are based primarily on a property’s assessed value, but they also take into account other factors such as location, school district, and the cost of local services and amenities.

When you sell a residential property, you may be subject to capital gains taxes if you make a profit on the sale. However, you can avoid these taxes if you use the property as your primary residence for two of the five years before you sell it.