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.