Fee simple is a legal term for solely owning all
of your own property. For most Americans, this is what they think
owning real estate is all about. A single family house is the most
common example of fee simple real estate. You own your home, the
land it sits on and you have complete control over it. If the roof
blows off and you don't want to fix it, you don't have to. Your
home is your castle.
Fee simple is a great way to own real estate when there is plenty
of space to build on. But in a city, most people cannot afford to
own a single family home on a quarter-acre because the land is too
expensive. In order to afford living in a city, people often join
together and own a shared interest in a common building. This form
of ownership usually takes form in either a condominium or a cooperative.
If you refer to the links for those pages, we'll give you a little
more detail on those forms of ownership.