Most of the time people assume I appraise real estate when I tell them I am a personal property appraiser. They rattle on for a moment about the housing market, prime rate, etc. Eventually I interrupt them and define personal property. The look of befuddlement on their faces as their brain catches up with their mouth is comical. I’m used to it and keep a straight face. Even lawyers and CPA’s have to comb through their mental scrapbook looking for the notes they took in professional school that covered property definitions. If you are a professional, you need to know these definitions if you’re going to interact intelligently with any appraiser.
Personal property is anything that can be moved – tables, chairs, art, cars, yachts, jets, horses, etc.
Real property is anything that cannot be moved – skyscrapers, houses, farms, buildings, asteroids, etc.
Public property is anything owned by a government entity – White House, Smithsonian collection, courthouses, etc.
Private property is anything owned by a non-government entity – art, jewelry, cars, houses, yachts, factories, jets, cattle, etc.