1. How is mediation initiated and what is the process?
The initiating party is required to complete Form RM, Request to Mediate, pay a nonrefundable $500 filing fee and follow the steps outlined in Begin the Process. The responding party may submit Form RRM, Response to Request to Mediate, or provide their response via email. Once the parties have mutually agreed to the mediator, the matter is referred to the mediator, who will have two business days to accept/decline the mediation. Once accepted, the mediator will reach out to the parties to begin coordinating the mediation. The mediator generally has 20 days to schedule the mediation. All mediations are generally held within 60 days of their assignment to the mediator.
2. How are mediators chosen by the parties?
An overview of each mediator and their fees and policies is available for review and selection by the parties. We ask that the initiating party propose a first and second choice mediator (in case of conflict or other inability of first choice mediator) or request that one be proposed by the Center. When proposed by the Center, factors such as geography and hourly rate will be considered. The mediator will not receive the assignment until there is mutual agreement by the parties.
3. What types of disputes can be mediated by the Center?
Almost any type of dispute between or among buyers, sellers, brokers and other parties to a real estate transaction can and should be mediated. These include, among other common disputes, those related to earnest money deposits, cost of repairs where there is an allegation of a failure to disclose a known defect and claims for damages associated with a claim of misrepresentation about the condition of the property.
4. Does the Program accept mediation applications for all real estate disputes?
Each application is carefully reviewed by the Center. In some instances, the Center may determine that the subject of the dispute to be mediated involves extremely complex legal issues, allegations of criminal misconduct or violations of state licensing laws that may not be appropriate for mediation at the Center. In the rare case that the Center declines a request to mediate, all filing fees of the parties are refunded (minus a $18 processing fee). In addition, disputes between REALTORS® that are subject to arbitration or a hearing before a REALTOR® Professional Standards panel will not be mediated at the Center and will be referred to a local association of REALTORS®.
5. What costs and fees are permitted and how are mediation fees collected?
There is a non-refundable filing cost to the parties to the mediation of $500 to be paid directly to the Center to initiate the process. Center mediators agree to a mediator fee of $200 per hour for the first 2 hours of hearing time. Thereafter the parties will be charged for hearing time at the mediator’s published hourly rate or as otherwise agreed to in writing by the mediator and parties. The parties are required to commit to four hours of mediation time, except as otherwise noted in the mediator fee and policy schedule. All mediator fees are billed by the mediator and paid directly to the mediator by the parties. Except as noted above, each mediator establishes his/her own rates.
6. How long does the process take?
In almost all cases, the mediation conference will be held within 60 days from the date the Center accepts the parties request to mediate. The typical mediation conference lasts 4 hours and a second conference is rarely needed. The parties are required to commit to a minimum of 4 hours of mediation time, unless as otherwise noted in the mediator fee and policy schedule, to ensure sufficient time for the mediation process to be successful.
7. What are the mediator panel experience and education requirements?
In general, we seek experienced mediators with significant real estate dispute expertise. Mediators are required to be either attorneys in good standing or real estate licensees with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Center mediators must have received 32 hours of general mediation training and attend C.A.R. real estate focused training. Mediators interested in applying for the Center panel should email their request to [email protected].
8. Which services are Center mediators required to provide?
In addition to compliance with all Center Rules and Regulations for Mediators, mediators are required to provide the following services as part of their participation in the Center program:
• All invoicing and collection of mediation fees ($200 for the first two hours and mediator’s hourly rate thereafter), including any required deposits.
• All scheduling matters with the parties and participants to the mediation.
• Identifying and securing a suitable facility to host the mediation.
• Ability to conduct online (e.g., Zoom) mediations.
• Maintain professional liability insurance coverage for their mediation activities.
• Participate in annual training and period teleconferences as needed.
9. Who do I contact for more information?
Email the program administrator at [email protected] to request a panel application or for all other inquiries. Thank you.