Real estate contract disputes, a ripe area for mediation

The contract form approved by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC form 20-11) provides the option to agree to mediation if a dispute occurs. The language is:

MEDIATION: It is the policy of the State of Texas to encourage resolution of disputes through alternative dispute resolution procedures such as mediation. Any dispute between Seller and Buyer related to this contract which is not resolved through informal discussion ‰[ ] will   [ ] ‰will not be submitted to a mutually acceptable mediation service or provider. The parties to the mediation shall bear the mediation costs equally. This paragraph does not preclude a party from seeking equitable relief from a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

Why should a person selling or buying a property check the “will” box? The answer is simple: mediation can be conducted before a lawsuit is filed and, indeed, hopefully before feathers are too ruffled to permit effective discussion. The contracting party does not necessarily need an attorney but it will usually be best to have legal counsel.

The other part of “why do it” is that the mediation process can take place quickly, in a private forum as opposed to hanging your dirty laundry in public, and at a tiny fraction of the cost of even getting a lawsuit ready to file.