Mediation Services are available for buyers and sellers for dispute resolution.
I. Respect for the Public
- Follow the "Golden Rule”: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- Respond promptly to inquiries and requests for information.
- Schedule appointments and showings as far in advance as possible.
- Call if you are delayed or must cancel an appointment or showing.
- Communicate with all parties in a timely fashion.
- Leave your business card if not prohibited by local rules.
- Never criticize property in the presence of the occupant.
- Inform occupants that you are leaving after showings.
- When showing an occupied home, always ring the doorbell or knock—and announce yourself loudly before entering. Knock and announce yourself loudly before entering any closed room.
- Present a professional appearance at all times; dress appropriately and drive a clean car.
- Encourage the clients of other brokers to direct questions to their agent or representative.
- Communicate clearly; don’t use jargon or slang that may not be readily understood.
- Be aware of and respect cultural differences.
- Show courtesy and respect to everyone.
- Be aware of—and meet—all deadlines.
- Promise only what you can deliver—and keep your promises.
- Identify your REALTOR® and your professional status in contacts with the public.
- Do not tell people what you think—tell them what you know.
- If a prospective buyer decides not to view an occupied home, promptly explain the situation to the listing broker or the occupant.
- When entering a property ensure that unexpected situations, such as pets, are handled appropriately.
- If occupants are home during showings, ask their permission before using the telephone or bathroom.
II. Respect for Property
- Be responsible for everyone you allow to enter listed property.
- Never allow buyers to enter listed property unaccompanied.
- When showing property, keep all members of the group together.
- Never allow unaccompanied access to property without permission.
- Enter property only with permission even if you have a lockbox key or combination.
- When the occupant is absent, leave the property as you found it (lights, heating, cooling, drapes, etc.) If you think something is amiss (e.g. vandalism), contact the listing broker immediately.
- Be considerate of the seller's property. Do not allow anyone to eat, drink, smoke, dispose of trash, use bathing or sleeping facilities, or bring pets. Leave the house as you found it unless instructed otherwise.
- Use sidewalks; if weather is bad, take off shoes and boots inside property.
- Respect sellers’ instructions about photographing or videographing their properties’ interiors or exteriors.
III. Respect for Peers
- Identify your REALTOR® and professional status in all contacts with other REALTORS®.
- Respond to other agents' calls, faxes, and e-mails promptly and courteously.
- Be aware that large electronic files with attachments or lengthy faxes may be a burden on recipients.
- Notify the listing broker if there appears to be inaccurate information on the listing.
- Share important information about a property, including the presence of pets, security systems, and whether sellers will be present during the showing.
- Show courtesy, trust, and respect to other real estate professionals.
- Avoid the inappropriate use of endearments or other denigrating language. Do not prospect at other REALTORS®' open houses or similar events.
- Return keys promptly.
- Carefully replace keys in the lockbox after showings.
- To be successful in the business, mutual respect is essential.
- Real estate is a reputation business. What you do today may affect your reputation—and business—for years to come.
Although the majority of real estate transactions close without incident, there is a possibility that a problem or dispute could occur. When that happens, it is usually successfully resolved by the parties through normal communication and negotiation. In the past, when negotiations failed, parties took their case to court. Today, they are taking their disputes to mediation.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process in which disputing parties attempt to resolve their disagreements with the help of an impartial, trained neutral third party... the mediator. The mediator does not pass judgment or render legally binding decisions. The mediator's function is to help the parties open communication, identify their differences and reach agreement on how to resolve them. When the disputing parties have reached a mutually acceptable solution, they sign a written agreement which outlines the terms of the settlement. Once the agreement is signed, parties are legally bound to abide by its terms. If the parties cannot reach a mutually agreeable settlement, they are free to arbitrate or litigate their dispute as if the mediation never took place. In addition to being easier, faster and less expensive than litigation, mediation is non-adversarial. Decisions rendered by an arbitrator or judge usually determine a winning and losing party. In mediation the parties have retained control of the outcome of the process and together have fashioned the terms of the settlement.
Procedural Guidelines have been established to insure uniformity and consistency in the process. Procedural guidelines are available upon request by calling the Mediation Service Provider, O.M. Services at 888-412-6740. You will be requested to provide your name and address and information will be mailed to you within 24 hours. Any questions you should have regarding the procedures should be directed to O.M. Services.
Parties who decide to submit potential disputes to mediation sign a written Agreement to Mediate. Parties can sign this agreement either before or after a dispute arises.
The mediators are experienced and have completed an intensive training program. Mediators are selected based on considerations such as firm affiliation, location, expertise in area of dispute, and availability. Role of Attorney Although parties have the right to be represented by counsel, attorneys do not have to participate in the mediation conference. Parties should consult an attorney if they have questions or concerns about mediation.
Any party can request mediation by contacting the mediation service provider and simply returning the written request form(s) provided to them. The mediation service provider arranges, schedules and conducts the mediation conference. Generally the conference is held within 60 days of the date on which the mediation service provider receives a request to initiate mediation. Usually it is scheduled within 30 days. The typical conference lasts between two and four hours. To request a mediation packet and/or for information, please contact the Mediation Service Provider: O.M. SERVICES 960 W. Pulaski Highway Elkton, MD 21921 888-412-6740
Fees for mediation services are established by the mediation service provider and are published and available through O.M. Services. Please check with O.M. Services for further details.
Facts About Mediation
Mediation is faster than litigation. A lawsuit can take anywhere from several months to several years to be decided. As a rule, mediation takes about thirty to sixty days from beginning to end. Mediation is generally less expensive than litigation. Because parties typically split fees and costs, no one pays an excessive amount. Mediation is non-adversarial. Arbitration and litigation focus on disagreements between the parties and result in win-lose decisions imposed by the arbitrator or judge. Mediation, on the other hand, focuses on agreement between the parties and results in a win-win settlement reached and agreed on by the parties themselves. Parties who agree to mediate retain the right to pursue other legal remedies. If parties cannot reach a mutually acceptable settlement during the mediation conference, they are free to arbitrate or litigate their dispute as if mediation never took place.
Statistics show that MEDIATION is SUCCESSFUL the majority of the time.