Monday, March 24, 2008

Real Estate Mediation Blog By Jim W Hildreth

March 24 2008

New Real Estate Mediation Blog
Real Estate Mediation BlogFrom InmanWikiThere are may articles written about real estate; however, there are few about Real Estate Mediation.This is a new blog that will deal with real estate and disputes.Disputes can have many faces.Landlord-Tenant issuesContract Disputes, buyer-sellerNon-Disclosure IssuesBroker vs AgentHomeowner associationsProbateMoldRealtor DisputesConstruction-Related DisputesMediation is a process in which a "neutral" person -- the mediator -- helps parties reach a settlement to their dispute by opening lines of communication, objectively evaluating the case, identifying the parties' real needs and finding a solution to address those needs.Mediation is an [Alternative Dispute Resolution] process of exploring solutions and negotiating mutually acceptable resolutions.Unlike the legal process, mediation allows the parties to decide the fairest and most reasonable solution.However, mediation is voluntary and will not waive your rights to later pursue the matter legally.One excellent source for information is, which features extensive articles and the ability to locate a mediator in your own community.Many cities have local mediation panels that can be found via a local telephone directory or the Internet.Many courts also are developing mediation panels as an alternative to the litigation road.In the San Francisco Bay area, East Bay Mediation, located in Berkeley, has volunteer mediators and mediators who specialize in area of conflict resolution.In Modesto, Calif., Stanislaus County has trained mediators from the local bar association who partispate with the local Superior Court.Many states have a mediation clause both in the listing and buyer seller agreements that offer mediation as a first step, vs [Arbitration] (Binding or non-Binding) and [Litigation].Jim W Hildreth - MediatorRetrieved from ""
March 24 2008

Phases of a Mediation

Mediation Conference

The following are the phases of a Real Estate Mediation.

1. Mediator's opening statement and questions. A review of the process, rules,
goals, the confidentiality and neutrality.
2. Parties initial statements or questions.
3. What are the issues?
4. Creation of an agenda.
5. Communication, feelings, thoughts and venting.
6. The Caucus (Private Meeting) with the parties to clarify needs, options and solutions.
7. Building an agreement. What may be workable.
8. Conclusion An agreement is reached & signed before leaving mediation or an agreement that
no further progress can be made.
The next step can lead to arbitration or litigation.
The mediation conference success is up to the parties and the williness to listen and the williness to work towards resolution.
The time process can be as short as an hour, a half day or longer.
My experience is that 2-4 hours is normal.
Of my past mediations, setttlement did occur and the dispute were successfull resolved.
Jim W Hildreth- Mediator
Mediating Real Estate Disputes
Sunday, February 4, 2007

Real Estate Mediation Can Be a Winner
Real Estate is a complex transaction and what happends if there is a dispute?In California including agents, buyers, and sellers will face a mazeof legal disclosures such as wells, septics, zoning, mold, water intrusions, naturalhazards, Megans Law, square footage, noise, mining sites, airports, home owners associationsor illegal drug activity.In addition easements such as utility or railroad may come to play.

If an error should occur or a dispute, Dispute Resolution is a part of most real estate contracts and between all parties such as sellers and brokers or buyers and sellers.

Dispute Resolution is broken into two areas Mediation & Arbitration.

The scope of this article is about mediation, a softer side of a conflict vsArbitration or long term litigation that is both finacially and emotionally draining for the partispants.Arbitration is binding and final and is enforceable by California Law.

What is mediation?Mediation is an opportunity to try and resolve disputes outside of court. Manydisputes that go to mediation are settled because the parties have control of the outcome.

In Mediation, the parties to the dispute are assisted by a person called a mediator.The mediator is "Neutral" and is not empowered to impose a deciscion, instead the mediator faciltates discussions and negotiation between the parties with a goal of reaching a mutually acceptablesettlement.Who should go to Mediation?Everyone should attempt mediation. But mediation can really help in most real estate transactions or in relationships such as landlord/tenant, neighbors, business partners, realtors vs realtors or buyers and sellers or consumer vs a contractor

.Advantages to mediation is that it is private and confidential and there is no public record.How much does it cost and who pays for it?The cost of mediation depends on a variety of factors.

As an example in Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties the courts have set up mediation panels and may pay a portion of the dispute. many cities in California have set up private low cost mediation services. In many cases the cost is shared among the parties.

Where do you locate a mediator or mediation services? By looking in the local telephone directory under "Mediation," "Arbitration, " or "Dispute Resolution" or asking a local attorney or bar association.On line has a web link for mediation specialist.Most Mediators are professionals who have attended training programs through conflict resolution studies in both colleges or private mediation groups. Pepperdine University, UC Berkeley and Stanford offer advanced work in conflict resolution.In most cases mediation is highly successful, in the event mediation does not resolve a disputes parties are free to pursue any other system of dispute resolution such as arbitration, or litigation.

Jim W Hildreth- MediatorMediating Real Estate

Disclosure Reports

Sellers: Don't withhold bad inspection report
Hiding unfavorable information can backfire, spark lawsuitBy Dian Hymer, Monday, March 24, 2008.
Inman News
Inspections are an important part of home buying, but the inspection process can be nerve-racking for both buyers and sellers. Both parties want the deal to go through without a hitch. However, sometimes problems surface that the buyers weren't aware of when they entered into contract.
All houses have defects, even new ones. So it should come as no surprise when defects are discovered. The pertinent issues are: Is there a problem? How serious is the problem? How much will it cost to repair?
A home inspector may have a contractor's license. But, few inspectors also are engineers, architects, and plumbing, heating, roofing, wood pest (termite) and drainage contractors. Nor are they pool, spa, sprinkler or security-alarm specialists. For this reason, most home inspection reports are loaded with disclaimers and recommendations to contact the appropriate specialist to evaluate the severity of a problem.
HOUSE HUNTING TIP: It's highly recommended that buyers follow up with further inspections, and get estimates to repair defects that are a concern before removing an inspection contingency. An inspection contingency protects the buyers, but only if they carry through and complete necessary inspections.
Don't be surprised if a second opinion confuses rather than clarifies an issue. For example, a home inspector might be concerned about the internal mechanics of an older furnace. And, he may not have the expertise necessary to say with confidence that there is no problem. So, he recommends that the buyers consult with a licensed heating contractor.
Just because an inspector suspects there might be a problem doesn't mean that one exists. Several years ago, buyers of an older home in the Oakland Hills east of San Francisco were advised to have a heating contractor check the furnace because the home inspector thought it might need replacing for safety reasons. A furnace with a cracked heat exchanger leaks carbon monoxide fumes that can be deadly.
The buyers called in a heating contractor who inspected the furnace and said that it needed replacing. The buyers were disappointed, but wanted to continue with the sale. So they asked the sellers to share in the expense of a new furnace.
The sellers weren't convinced that the furnace needed replacing. And they didn't want to contribute to the cost of a new one if it wasn't necessary. They contacted a second reputable furnace contractor who inspected the furnace and said it was fine and didn't need replacing.
To resolve the dispute, the buyers and sellers agreed to call in an inspector from the local utility company who would have red-tagged the furnace and put it out of commission if it was dangerous. The verdict was that the furnace was fine and had years of life left.
More and more, sellers are having their homes inspected by professionals before putting their homes on the market. This is done so that sellers have an opportunity to make repairs before marketing or for disclosure purposes.
It is risky for sellers to hide a bad report from buyers. There have been cases where sellers chose not to give the buyers a report they didn't like. Later, the buyers coincidentally called in the same contractor for an opinion who informed the buyers that they had already done a report on the house for the sellers.
Lawsuits have resulted from sellers withholding detrimental reports, although disclosure laws vary from state to state. Check with a knowledgeable real estate attorney for answers to questions about a seller's disclosure obligations.
THE CLOSING: Sellers who aren't pleased with a report should consider getting a second opinion and disclose both reports to the buyers.
Dian Hymer is author of "House Hunting, The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers" and "Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer's Guide," Chronicle Books.

Jim W Hildreth