How does one begin an arbitration against a buyer or seller. Does an attorney have to be hired?

Asked by Jean, Wildwood, CA Sat Feb 5, 2011

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Shel-lee Davis’ answer
Shel-lee Dav…, Agent, Rolling Hills Estates, CA
Sat Feb 5, 2011

I see a string of questions regarding this home and the seller cancelling the contract. This must be one special home for you to want to try and force the seller to sell, even though they have changed their mind about selling. My questions to you: Is this home really worth the time and trouble to enforce the contract? How cooperative do you think the seller is going to be, if you force them to perform? What are the chances that they may damage the property before moving out? If they are willing to refund your full deposit, plus any out of pocket expenses, doesn't it make more sense to just move on?

Of course, if you want to pursue the matter through arbitration, you must first go to mediation (assuming you signed a C.A.R. Residential Purchase Agreement when you made your offer). Your agent, their broker, the local Board of Realtors and/or a real estate attorney, are good places to get additional information about how to proceed. Just make sure it is worth it, as this can be a relatively long process and there are no guarantees. Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis, QSC®
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1 vote
Centermac Re…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sat Feb 5, 2011
You begin an arbitration by making a written demand on the other side to arbitrate the dispute. Of course, there must first be arbitration clause -chances are it's there if you have a standard CAR agreement. In addition, the arbitration clause must have signed been initialed by both sides.

A word of caution... If you have a CAR form contract, there's a mediation clause which requires you to attempt mediation before proceeding. If you don't do that, you may regret that when you try to seek attorney's fees as a prevailing party.

I wrote a couple of blogs on these issues. Here are the links:……

After you've read my blogs above and if you still think arbitration is a good idea, you will then decide if you need an attorney. The decision is usually made by looking at the amount in dispute and the complexity of the issue and whether the other side is represented by an attorney.

If the amount in dispute is small, say less than $15,000, the issue is not too complicated, and the other side is pro per, then may be you should do this without an attorney,. Otherwise, it is highly recommended that you get an attorney - not just any attorney but a real estate attorney.
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