Real Estate Disputes Mediation

Although buying or selling a property is transactional in nature, disagreements can arise that might threaten to derail the deal. Worse still, these conflicts can lead to costly and time-consuming litigation. Fortunately, there is also the availability of mediation: an alternative forum wherein a neutral third party facilitates communication and helps parties reach a mutually agreeable solution. 

Mediation can be an effective tool for resolving common real estate conflicts such as the following:

  • Buyer's remorse — Imagine a buyer gets cold feet after signing a contract. Mediation can create a space for open communication with the seller. Perhaps an extension of the closing date or an adjustment of the sale price can be negotiated.

  • Neighborly nuisances — Disputes with neighbors regarding noise, boundary lines or shared amenities can fester. Mediation allows the neutral facilitator to hear both sides and work towards a solution, like establishing clear boundaries or agreeing to noise abatement.

  • Seller's secrets — When a seller hasn't disclosed known defects like a leaky roof or faulty wiring, mediation can lead to a fair resolution. The seller might agree to repairs before closing or offer a buyer a financial concession.

  • Lease agreement ambiguity — Unclear terms in a lease agreement can cause friction between landlord and tenant. Mediation can help clarify expectations regarding maintenance responsibilities, rent increases or early termination.

  • Contract clarification — Conflicts over the meaning of contractual terms are best resolved through mediation. By facilitating discussions about challenged terms, the mediator helps draft amendments that protect both parties' interests.

  • Post-sale disputes — Sometimes, disagreements arise after a sale closes. For instance, the seller may remove appliances that were meant to be part of the sale. Mediation allows for a swift and cost-effective resolution, like returning the items or paying the buyer replacement value.

The mediation process typically unfolds in stages. First, the parties agree to participate and choose a qualified mediator, often a lawyer with expertise in real estate. During an initial session, the mediator establishes ground rules, ensuring a respectful and open environment for discussion. Each party then presents their perspectives on the dispute, with the mediator actively listening and asking clarifying questions.

The mediator guides the conversation, helping parties identify underlying interests and exploring potential solutions. This might involve creative brainstorming, forging compromises on certain aspects or proposing alternative options. If an agreement is reached, the mediator drafts a formal document outlining the terms., Both parties sign, making it legally binding.

The value of using a real estate-focused mediator is that they understand the intricacies of contracts and real property issues. This allows them to guide the conversation productively, suggest solutions tailored to the specific situation and draft a settlement that embodies the solution reached.

Quinn & Kronlund LLP in Stockton, California provides effective mediation of real estate disputes. Feel free to contact us online or call 209-943-3950 to learn more about our services.