Providing quality Mediation Services is one of my specialties. Over the years I've spent as a real estate broker, I've learned to be comfortable dealing with areas of confidential information. In our world clients routinely share financial and personal information of a sensitive nature with the understanding that it will remain private and confidential. This is, in fact, at the very heart of the fiduciary relationship that is well understood by any competent and ethical real estate professional.
Providing Mediation Services Is An Honor
Of all the sensitive and personal areas I've encountered in my professional life, there is none more personal, more sensitive, or that requires more expertise than that of dispute mediation and mediation services. Assisting in a real estate transaction, either commercial or residential, or consulting on a new development or subdivision ... these are certainly rewarding in and of themselves. They are important; they affect the lives of those involved and possibly many more for generations to come. But, providing mediation services is different. Being asked to assist in the resolution of a legitimate dispute in a real estate matter is more than just an "assignment" or a "task"; it's an honor.
When people come to me for Mediation Services in a real estate dispute, they are often at a very vulnerable time. No matter who you are or what your situation, real estate transactions are important. When one starts to go off the rails because of a dispute ... emotions can become raw, principals and agents alike can feel exposed and at risk. This is a very sensitive time, and I always feel priviledged to be asked to assist in these times.
What Type Of Mediation Services Do You Provide?
What I try to provide in this area is simple: dispute resolution for problems that might come up regarding commercial or residential transactions, inspections, construction and contractor impasses, and development issues. Whenever there is a situation where disagreements, communications breakdowns, and misunderstandings can still be solved amongst the principals and their agents without legal final judgements, mediation may be of service.
In many situations, mediation services may be a requirement of the dispute resolution process. Most real estate agents will know that almost all real estate contracts require some form of mediation be attempted before a dispute goes to some more binding form of resolution, such as arbitration or trial. When this is the case, all parties should have as their goal the selection and appointment of a completely dis-interested third party.
Mediation Services: A Neutral 3rd Party
The success of any mediation services depends on there being no doubt in anyone's mind that the mediator is totally non-partisan. In many cases of transaction disputes, the Brokers involved will attempt to mediate the situation. Anyone can recognize that this is a flawed process where the agents and principals are dealing with one Broker; there is an obvious conflict of interest in this case. Even where there are two Brokers involved, mediation by those Brokers can very often produce an outcome where there is substantial doubt about the objectivity of the assigned mediator. This can lead to non-compliance with mediated agreements and more acrimony later on.
The point here is obvious: To achieve a successful mediation and avoid any binding legal adjudication of a dispute, it is essential to select a completely independent mediator. Agents who truly care about the well-being of their clients, and Principals who want to insure the integrity of their dispute resolution process, should always insist upon the appointment of an "outside" mediator, and avoid the problems of an "in-house" mediation. Agents may have some resistance on the part of their Brokers with this, but an agent's first duty is to represent the interests of their Client ... and that is best served by an "outside" Mediator.
How Can Mediation Services Help You?
Who Can Benefit From The Services Of a Qualified Mediator? Potential candidates can be individuals, real estate Sellers or Buyers who find themselves in transaction disputes. They can be Landlords and Tenants who find themselves contesting the terms of a lease agreement. Sometimes we'll find disputes among Customers and Merchants where the terms of sales contracts can be called into question. There are many different situations that might be best served by Mediation rather than Adjudication. In fact, almost any relationship where a contract is involved can lead to a dispute where Mediation might be of service. Real estate Agents and Brokers, DBS's, Corporations, Trusts, Municipalities, Governmental bodies, religious organizations, private foundations ... all of these deal with contractual agreements and all of them can benfit at times from the process of mediation of diputes.
Remember this: Mediation is usually the final chance the Principals in a dispute will have to contribute to the resolution of their conflict! If a dispute goes to Binding Arbitration, for instance, the Arbitrator doesn't ask the parties, "Well, what do YOU want to do about this?" He tells them, "Well, here is how it's going to go!". The same is true of a court decision. None of the Principals have any say in what a judge or a jury decides. In Arbitration or in Court ... you take what's given to you. In Mediation, it is the Principles who actually decide what the resolution will be and how it will be carried out.
Which brings us to our final important point: just how does mediation work?
Mediation Services: What Is The Process Like?
Actually, there are many styles of Mediation Services and they vary from Mediator to Mediator. In all cases, the objective of the Mediator is to help facilitate an agreement between the parties that keeps everyone out of court or arbitration. However, different Mediators will go about this in different ways. Sometimes the process is very free-form where all sides contribute and the Mediator is very, very "hands off", not even making suggestions. In other cases the Mediator will assess the situation and literally say, "This is what you should do".
In my style of Mediation I try to incorporate the best points of both of these methods. Thos who work with me in any mediation will find that my usual process will be to help define all of the main points of dispute in the situation, and then assist the parties with an accounting of all possible actions that could be taken to help ameliorate the situation. I will make suggestions as to what I believe the best course of action would be, based on the knowledge I've gained from listening to all sides.
What I will not do is make any kind of decision for the principals. This is what Mediation is all about. The benefits of the process derives from the fact that Mediation results in a voluntary agreement decided upon by the Principals and their Agents. My part in all that is to help separate the facts from the emotions ... and bring a mutually beneficial resolution into view, so that all parties may find an area in which they can agree.
How Do We Begin The Process
Beginning the process of Mediation is simple: First you must agree upon a Mediator ... who is going to provide your Mediation Services? If you are a Principal or an Agent involved in a dispute and looking for an objective, third-party Mediator to assist you ... and if you like what you've been reading here so far ... you can do yourself no harm by going to the next step. Contact me. Let's discuss it all. It usually only takes a short conversation to tell if I can help you and if you are comfortable dealing with me. One conversation and we will know if going to the next step ... making a proposal to the others involved in the dispute ... would be worthwhile.So, if that's you and you've come across these pages, I urge you to contact me today. All my contact information is below, or you can use the form on the "Contact Me" page of this website and I'll respond within 24 hours.
If you have need of Mediation Services, you also need to make sure it's done correctly. In working with you, my aim will be to insure that your dispute resolution is done with the utmost integrity and timeliness, with the interests of all parties protected and represented at all times. As I said before, to me, mediation is more than a service ... it's an honor.
I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Brion Costa, CCIMSenior Broker AssociateCommercial DirectorDesignated CCIM, CRB, CRS, GC, GRI, SRESFirst Class Real Estate & Development Services ... Since 1986Century 21 Adams & Barnes
433 West Foothill Boulevard
Monrovia, CA 91016
Note:We do not provide mediation for Family, Divorce, Child or Medical and other related dispute issues, however we can certainly provide appropriate references upon request.