December 7th, 2022

Why Mediation Can Be a Powerful Tool for Real Estate in Washington State


Matters involving real estate can grow complicated quickly. In many cases, a seemingly simple real estate transaction or contract can escalate into a major dispute that requires legal assistance. Real estate issues tend to be nuanced and complex, so you are far from alone if you find yourself in this situation. However, before you picture a long, expensive, and contentious legal battle, it’s important to recognize that other options are available for resolving real estate disputes. Mediation, a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), offers a more informal environment in which the parties can discuss and negotiate the issue with the guidance of a neutral third party (the mediator). Unlike a judge, the mediator does not determine the outcome; instead, the parties work collaboratively to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. Let’s take a look at how the mediation process works in Washington and how it may be your best option for resolving your real estate dispute.

Understanding the Mediation Process in Washington State

The Washington State Legislature defines mediation as “a process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute.” Essentially, mediation is a negotiation process facilitated by a neutral third party who does not control or determine the outcome. Instead, the mediator serves as a guide for the parties, helping them articulate and focus on their goals, work through disagreements, and move toward a resolution productively. Before the date of the mediation, the parties will exchange all relevant documents and materials with one another, providing a comprehensive overview of the history and context of the dispute. While each mediator has their own style and approach to the process, the parties can expect the mediator to serve as their point of contact during the negotiation stage. For instance, shuttle diplomacy places the parties in separate rooms, with the mediator traveling back and forth between the parties to facilitate the exchange of information and working through any major issues. The mediator will then use the information from these exchanges to craft a written settlement that defines the terms of the agreement. When both parties agree to these terms, they can sign the document and walk away from the matter, avoiding litigation altogether.

Mediation For Real Estate Disputes

Whether you are struggling with a land use issue, a tenancy matter, or a real estate transaction, mediation offers several benefits for achieving a fair and favorable resolution. Mediation tends to be a much more efficient forum for resolving a real estate dispute, saving you considerable time, energy, and money. Below are a few advantages of using mediation to resolve your real estate matter.

A More Condensed Timeline

Parties facing legal disputes are at the mercy of the court’s schedule. Litigation often takes considerable time to move forward since the court’s schedules remain hampered by the aftereffects of the COVID pandemic Since mediation is outside of court,, the process moves forward much more quickly. The mediator will work with you and the other party to schedule a convenient time, and the process itself usually concludes within a day.

A Customized Approach

Another benefit of mediation is that the mediator will work with you to determine your specific needs and cut through the charge emotions that generally accompany a contention matter. The most effective mediators understand how to tailor their approach to accommodate the parties’ needs and goals.

Shaping Your Desired Outcome

In traditional litigation, the judge or jury determines the outcome. In contrast, mediation empowers the parties to arrive collaboratively at a workable solution. The mediator facilitates open, respectful, and productive communication between the parties and encourages them to focus on creating a shared resolution. The mediator uses these discussions to draft a written settlement document, then presents it to the parties for their approval and signature. Those who participate in mediation often walk away from the experience feeling satisfied with the outcome, as they played a direct role in determining the resolution.

Explore Your Seattle Mediation Options Today

Struggling with a real estate dispute can be overwhelming and stressful. However, it’s essential to understand that you have several options for obtaining a fair and equitable resolution. Consider meeting with an experienced mediator to learn more about how this process can provide you with the support you need to move forward. Reach out to a trusted and friendly King County mediator today to discuss your options.

If you are struggling with a real estate or contract dispute in the Seattle area, reach out to the Hemmat Law Group at (206) 682-5200 to learn more about our mediation services.

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John Socha is Hemmat Law's firm’s Legal Operations Director. He graduated from the University of Washington and has led HLG's administration since 2019.