Sunday, April 22, 2007

Neighbor against neighbor

The neighbors used to talk, but after a series of disputes over fencing, an easement and the lack of access, the level of frustration and non- communication became common ground.

They shared the same roadway and would have to pass one another.

The feud reached the scale of physical threats.
The only option was a lawsuit.

Attorneys were retained and litigation was started.

The Superior Court suggested mediation. The neighbors were reluctant and would never allow face-to-face meetings.

The attorneys agreed to a mediator and the parties agreed to give it a chance. The attorneys had the experience that it was more than likely this litigated case would go to trial.

The mediation took place, positions were discussed openly and within 3.5 hours both neighbors reached a written settlement.

Joy filled the room, the neighbors shook each others hands and openly stated they could be friends again.

Mediation allows the parties to "work" for a common benefit.

A "neutral" was valuable and the real estate mediation was a success.

Jim W Hildreth Real Esate Mediator

Real Estate Mediation Advantages

Real Estate Mediation Advantages

John and David had purchased a home in Berkeley. They were in a committed relationship, would split all expenses and were approved for a $600,000 mortgage. Their plan was to sell the home within two years.

Within months, their relationship went sour and they faced a relationship disaster and a financial crisis.

Beth and Susan entered into a partnership as a real estate broker and agent to offer property management services.

Susan became sick and the business relationship failed. Susan wanted $40,000 for settlement.

Two real estate Brokers and agents disclosed a home had dual pane windows. The escrow closed and the new buyer discovered single pane windows and sued for non-disclosure.

Real Estate Disputes do occur, and these disputes can be costly and a major stress to all parties including buyer, seller, real estate agents, landlords, tenants and the courts.

In California most real estate contracts allow for Mediation, And Arbitration, prior to litigation.
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.

Participation in mediation will not waive your rights to later pursue the matter legally.

Mediation 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 solutions to address those needs.

The advantages to mediation are cost, confidentiality, fairness and the potential for resolution.
After 30 years in the real estate brokerage business, seeing all phases of real property issues, the concept of mediation was appealing.

Training at UC Berkeley, actual cases in small claims court and mediation, both in the public and private sector, have led to a mediation practice that that is exclusive to real estate issues.

John and David had many more issues than the value of a Bay Area home worth $775,000.
Issues of trust, lack of communication and the individual perception in dealing with feelings vs. factual information.

The mediator's role of having a long-term background in real estate was valuable to all parties, especially when questions arose about mortgages, present and future values, discounts and an understanding of the present real estate market.

David stated, a Realtor-Mediator "added value, credibility and trust in helping me form a decision"

Within 3.5 hours, a written settlement occurred and they left the mediation shaking hands.

Beth and Susan and her attorney invested 4 hours in their mediation session. The consensus in the end was a deadlock and all parties agreed that binding arbitration would be the next phase.

The attorney for Susan stated, "As a mediator you did an outstanding job of keeping us on a level of open communication, fairness and being neutral. We felt respected."

The non-disclosure issue over dual pane windows made headway as all parties agreed that the non-disclosure issues were not one of fraud, but an honest mistake.

The Realtor-mediator played an important role in creating an open dialog between buyer, seller and agents.

The conflict was settled and all parties reached a written agreement within 2 hours.

Many communities offer alternative dispute resolution, including local associations of Realtors. The San Diego Association of Realtors Is well-recognized in panels that mediate real estate disputes.

The legal community offers mediation and arbitration and privately mediators who specialize in areas, such as family law, probate, construction defects and real estate.

Submitted by Jim W Hildreth-Realtor Real Estate Mediator