How to Prepare for Real Estate Mediation

A mediator working with a landlord and tenant to resolve a real estate dispute with mediation

Whether you’re struggling with boundary disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, co-owner disputes, or something else, the real estate mediation world is full of challenges — and they can often get nasty. Real estate mediation is an essential piece of the puzzle for navigating these problems, but it’s crucial to have the right approach.

Here’s how to prepare.

Understand How Mediation Works

Before you even think about the specifics of your case, you need a basic understanding of how mediation works and what to expect from it. Otherwise, you might be going in with unrealistic expectations and curtailing the process.

For instance, did you know that mediation is confidential but that outcomes can be legally binding? Are you going into the process ready to mediate and not to attack or defend to prove you’re right? It’s time to do your research.

Part of this preparatory phase should also involve selecting the right mediator and getting documents you’ll need ready, such as invoices, proof of damages, or photographs (depending on your case).

Exchange Information

Now that you’ve begun collecting the information and proof that will form part of the real estate mediation sessions, don’t just leave them in an office gathering dust — send them to your opponent (or their legal representative). With any luck, they’ll return the favor.

This saves precious time by ensuring that both parties can enter the process educated about the key details instead of wasting the first session on getting up to scratch with the basics. One of the most essential documents to exchange is a summary of damages, proof of expenses, and a testimony.

Understand What the Other Side Wants

Mediation is all about compromise and listening to what the other party wants to get out of the process. So, when you exchange information with your opponent and hear what they have to say during mediation, avoid the temptation to adopt a defensive approach.

Consider if their requests are really so unreasonable and if what they’re saying might have a degree of truth. This doesn’t mean you have to “take the blame” in every aspect, but a willingness to concede a few points is likely to bring out the best in the other side.

Have a Backup Plan

In an ideal world, the real estate mediation approach will go smoothly, and everyone will leave with an outcome they’re happy with a few weeks later. But unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.

Even before the mediation process begins, you should have a Plan B in place if things don’t work out. Will you go through arbitration? A court trial? Or even walk away?

Get the Outcome You Want

Taking the proper steps before you begin real estate mediation is critical, but even the best-prepared people can only go so far without an excellent mediator who’s capable of listening to both parties and reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.

Few professionals fit the bill better than Donita King. She’s a lawyer-mediator with years of experience in the field and is willing to work with both parties until they achieve a mutually beneficial agreement in real estate mediation. To find out more about her services and whether she’s a good fit, contact her law offices today.

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Donita King

Ms. King is a member of the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and D.C. State Bars. She also serves as a University of Richmond School of Law Adjunct Professor of Mediation. She previously served on the Virginia Bar Association Joint ADR Council (2015 Chair), and served for several years on the Governor of Virginia’s Interagency Dispute Resolution Council. Ms. King currently serves as a board member of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board by appointment of the Virginia Supreme Court and has been active with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Women in Business as well. Se habla espanol.

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