The distinction between these types of property is significant for a variety of reasons. Usually one's rights on movables are more attenuated than one's rights on immovables (or real property). The statute of limitations or the prescriptive periods are usually shorter when dealing with personal or movable property. Real property rights usually are enforceable for a much longer period of time and in most jurisdictions real estate or immovables are registered in government sanctioned land registers. In some jurisdictions rights can be registered against personal or movable property.
In the common law it is possible to place a mortgage upon real property. Such mortage requires payment or the owner of the mortgage can seek foreclosure. Personal property can often be secured with similar kind of device called a security interest. There is no similar institution to the mortgage in the civil law, however a hypothec is a device to secure real rights against property. These real rights follow the property along with the ownership. In the common law a lien also remains on the property and it is not extinguished by alienation of the property, liens may be real or equitable.