In 2014 the Texas Real Estate Commission made some significant changes to its contracts. Now, if a contract-related issue can't be solved through informal discussion, you must go through mediation before anyone files a lawsuit. Okay, your avoiding attorneys and courts. That sounds okay on the surface, but what about the particulars. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers, courtesy of the Texas Association of Realtors.
Who chooses the mediator?
Both parties must agree on a mediator. The complainant party should take the initiative and suggest a mediator. The respondent party can accept or reject the suggestion and/or suggest another mediator. If your client has an attorney, the attorney usually works with the other party to select a mediator, time, and place.
Where can someone find a mediator?
If your clients search for “mediator (name of your city)” on the Internet, they’ll find many names. They should choose a mediator who specializes in contract disputes. Check out the mediator’s background, experience, education, training in mediation, and credentials.
How are mediators regulated?
Texas doesn’t license mediators. Texas mediators do their own credentialing and maintain standards of training, experience, and ethics through the Texas Mediators Credentialing Association (TMCA). The TMCA website also lists credentialed mediators. A “CDM” after a name indicates a Credentialed Distinguished Mediator, the highest rank. The mediator’s affiliations, such as Texas Association of Mediators or State Bar of Texas - ADR Section, will usually be listed on the mediator’s website.
What happens after the parties agree on a mediator?
The parties then agree on a mediation date, time, and place. Usually, the mediator will require a deposit when scheduled and the balance of the fee to be paid before mediation begins. The total fee is to be divided equally between the parties.
What should my Realtor do to help prepare for mediation?
Ask your Realtor to help you go into the mediation session prepared with all pertinent evidence. (They should have copies of all relevant documents, for example.) A good Realtor can also help you practice how you will present your side of the conflict.
About 80% of all cases that go to mediation are resolved, which is a huge percentage. You may think mediators work magic. They do not—but they don’t mind if you think so.