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Reasons to mediate

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Controversies born from real estate transactions take various forms. Many are created via deposit disputes. At this time, deposits in the amount of $5,000 and under should be resolved via small claims court, pursuant to the C.A.R. purchase agreement used by most Realtors.

However, in January 2006, SB 422 will take affect raising the small claims maximum amount to $7,500. This will allow parties, whether resolving deposits or leaking roofs, to seek cost effective remedies on their own.

Conversely, those parties with matters over $7,500 still need a place to resolve their disputes in a cost effective manner. That's where mediation comes into play, as required by most purchase agreements.

The ability to mediate in the beginning stages of a real estate dispute, without creating a perception of fault or vulnerability, demonstrates that it makes sound business sense.

However, as many attorneys recognize, the expressed principles of their clients are often more expensive than that of the case. This leads both the clients and their attorney down a tumultuous path wherein the client is unhappy with large legal fees and the attorney, who was simply acting on behalf of the client's wishes and bidding, now looks like the bad guy.

Although the fiduciary duty is to give the realistic version of the case to the clients, principles and anger often overrule a client's realistic thought process. Here are a few tips that may assist you on reasons why clients should mediate before the matter is out of control:

1. The focus shifts from the positional and adversarial posturing to finding creative, mutually acceptable solutions. 2. It allows the parties meaningful participation in the mediation process. 3. Mediation focuses the parties' attention and energy on coming to grips with the problem and negotiating solutions. 4. Confidentiality is preserved. 5. Disgruntled parties can release personal animosities or hostilities in a way that leads to resolution, rather than escalation, of the conflict. 6. The strengths, weaknesses and risks of each side can be assessed and evaluated. 7. Valuable business and personal relationships can be preserved or enhanced by skillful mediators.

If you have a client struggling with a real estate issue or vacillating with how to resolve it, the Real Estate Mediation Center (REMC) can assist both the client and the attorney through the process with qualified staff and mediators experienced in real estate issues.

For more information go to www.realestatemediationcenter.com or call REMC at (858) 715-8020.

Submitted by Tiffiney Welles for the Real Estate Mediation Center

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