In addition to specializing by function, many professionals also specialize in the type of property they work with. According to the purpose of ownership, properties are classified as residential, commercial, or investment properties.

Residential property refers to property that is owned and used for habitation. Such properties may be further classified in terms of how many families they are designed to house, whether they are attached to other units or detached, and so forth.

Commercial property generally refers to retail and office properties, but may also include industrial real estate. The term “commercial” relates to the fact that the property can potentially generate income from a business’s usage.

Investment property refers to any property that is held by its owners for investment purposes. All classifications of property may be investment properties. Generally, however, the term does not refer to owner-occupied residences, even though such properties constitute an investment. Apartments, condominiums, cooperatives, and single-family homes may be considered as investment property if non-occupants own the property for investment purposes. These properties are also referred to as residential income properties.

According to use, the following classifications of real properties are commonly accepted.

These categories often have overlapping uses. A bank, for example, may have retail as well as office operations. An industrial distribution facility may include extensive office space. A retail center may contain offices.

Special purpose properties include publicly or privately owned recreational facilities, government buildings, churches and schools.