Advantages of Legal Representation During Mediation in Real Estate Conflicts

When a problem arises with a real estate contract, mediation is almost always the proper first step. The residential purchase agreement form that is almost exclusively used in California makes mediation essentially mandatory – if a party refuses to mediate they lose the right to recover attorney fees, and it is those fees that often drive these cases. While it is not mandatory to have an attorney at mediation, facing mediation without proper representation can be a daunting position. Consider these advantages legal representation offers:

Preparation. Preparation is key to a successful mediation. Choosing representation with a qualified real estate attorney ensures more productive meetings, and before that the selection of the appropriate mediator for the problem to be solved. It also lessens the chance that mediation sessions will be canceled and the process postponed due to lack of preparation. Solid preparation also serves to reduce overall costs of the mediation.

Perspective. Sometimes during an intense conflict, one or more parties will lose perspective. It helps to have a representative who can keep a logical discussion of the problem on track and who can present realistic solutions to the problem.

Two heads are better than one. In most big decisions in life, it helps to get another person’s opinion or point of view. A real estate attorney who is experienced in mediation can bring new ideas or viewpoints to the table.

Someone to speak for you. When people get emotional, it can be difficult for them to express their side of the argument. Having a representative during mediation helps to clarify events as they really happened.

Having an “authority” present. Most people respond better to authority figures. In the case of mediation, a knowledgeable expert lends credence to an argument, and encourages the other side to listen and compromise.

Intervention in heated disputes. Often during a conflict, discussions can become heated. When the two parties get emotional, the discussion can quickly turn into a non-productive fight. A cool-headed representative can spot warning signs and prevent the negotiation from breaking down in this way. If it does happen, a skilled representative knows how to turn things around quickly.

Prevent “giving up.” Parties who represent themselves in mediation sometimes become overwhelmed, give up, and lose what otherwise would have been a winning argument. A skilled representative knows when to regroup and come up with a new strategy.

Drafting the agreement. Once an agreement is reached, it needs to be worded very carefully to prevent further conflicts. A real estate attorney is experienced and knowledgeable about which clauses need to be included in the agreement

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