I didn’t honk, because I didn’t want to spook the horse

SANTIAGO, Chile–In Chile, real estate commissions are split 50/50 between the buyer and seller – two percent on each side. There is no MLS, so the seller does not realize universal exposure and, therefore, the listing agent captures both sides and earns 4 percent.

Lawyers are used on both sides of the transaction and a transfer fee, dubbed a registration charge, is levied on most property sales. Condos are popular, dues are minimal, property taxes are low and real estate is hot, in both Santiago, which is like Los Angeles, the South, which is like Lake Tahoe, Washington and Oregon and on the beaches, which are like the California coast.

But, this is South America.

Yesterday, while traveling south onto Highway 5, the entrance ramp was slowed down as a huaso on a horse with his dog trailing behind was in full gallop in front of me. We both made it safely onto the road. – Bradley Inman

What is the trade-in-value?

SANTIAGO, Chile–South American builder Socovesa has come up with a new twist on an old idea, though in the past more suited for cars than houses.

The Chilean firm will take your old house as a trade-in or partial payment on a new home in their Santiago developments. “Casa en parte del pago.”

The old house can only be 50 percent of the value of the newly constructed home, and a third-party appraiser is hired to assess the value. The sale is handled through a local real estate agent.

So far, so good, say the developers.

If nothing else, it’s great marketing for attracting home buyers to Socovesa projects. – Bradley Inman

Commercial speech not altogether free

A federal government agency has fined a broadcast fax company $5.4 million for sending unsolicited fax ads to consumers. The penalty assessed against Fax.com is the biggest fine–$11,000 for each of 489 separate violations–ever imposed by the Federal Communications Commission for a violation of this type.

Fax.com has argued–and some may agree–that unsolicited faxes should be protected by the same free speech guarantees that protect other types of commercial messages. But the government seems to be saying that while the content of commercial speech is protected, methods of disseminating such speech that impose a cost or burden on the recipient aren’t free ways of commercial communication.

The Fax.com fine was a long time in coming, but it could be a sign of what’s still to come for violations of federal do-not-call and can-the-spam laws. – Marcie Geffner

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