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Resolve disputes through mediation

Nobody wants to deal with legal disputes over a real estate transaction, but knowing what to do when such a dispute happens can significantly improve your experience.

Most residential purchase agreements used in the state of California contain mediation clauses. A mediation clause requires that both parties seek a resolution through mediation before exploring other legal recourse. This is a confidential process that allows both sides to try to negotiate mutually beneficial outcomes before bringing in heavy legal fees and everything else involved in traditional dispute resolution methods.

Mediation can be an excellent way to resolve a dispute, but certain guidelines should be followed. Coming to the table with the appropriate goals and objectives and with a few proven techniques will make all the difference.

It is important that you prepare your case. That means take the time to thoroughly document every pertinent fact with photographs, legal documents, receipts, estimates, invoices, and any relevant correspondence. You may have to present your case in the presence of the opposing party, so communicate how the situation has personally affected you.

It may be helpful to tell the other party what you will be presenting in mediation prior to the meeting itself. You are not trying to win a case. You are trying to help the other party see your point of view and reach an agreement as a result.

Because there is no judge or jury involved, you and your opponent -- with the help of a professional mediator -- are the decision makers. That means that you will need to determine what you want out of the agreement, and what your opponent may want. Understanding both parties’ interests will help you guide the discussion toward a resolution.

Think outside of the box. Mediation is a flexible form of conflict resolution that allows for more than just an exchange of money. There are other kinds of value that can be exchanged and may help to smoothly end a disagreement. Consider what else you can bring to the table, be original, and be open to similar offers from your opponent.

The Real Estate Mediation Center, through its dedicated, experienced and professional mediators, helps Realtors and their clients reach settlements. Resolutions are reached through a confidential, convenient and cost-effective process built to handle all types of real estate disputes, including deposits disputes, commission disputes, non-disclosure and more.

To learn more about the professional mediation services visit: www.realestatemediationcenter.com

Lee is Board President of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors.

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