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When is Real Estate Arbitration Necessary?

Tuesday, October, 2, 2012


No one likes going to trial for any reason, and real estate issues are no different. Luckily, real estate arbitration is a less costly, stressful and time consuming solution than litigation. Before you go into arbitration, you should know your rights and choices.

When is Real Estate Arbitration an Option?

Usually, most homeowners opt for arbitration once they have discovered that the home they just bought had some hidden flaws. There are many problems that can sneak under the radar, such as bursting pipes, weak foundations that create new cracks in the walls or hidden termite damage.

One might expect these issues to come up in an older structure. As strange as it may seem, newer homes can have these same problems. Whatever the case, it happens too often that the previous owners, builders or anyone else who might responsible is not being cooperative.

Is an Arbitration Attorney Necessary?

While not necessary per se, it is always in your best interest to hire an arbitration attorney. While you do have the added expense, the typically higher arbitration award will more than offset the expense. Of course, no outcome is guaranteed, but having a lawyer on your side shifts the odds into your favor.

According to the laws of several states, a construction expert may be chosen to oversee your arbitration. While this is sound logic on one level, on another, this person could be biased from a relationship with the builders or previous owner. Having an attorney can help you overcome this possible situation.

What Do Arbitration Lawyers Need from Me?

First of all, arbitration lawyers will need to know what your homeowner's warranty covers. Warranties can vary from provider to provider in what they cover for the first year of ownership. Besides that, good lawyers can advise you about rights and options that are not specifically in the warranty.

You will also need to have made a written request to the previous owner and/or builder to fix the problems. Phone calls are fine for informal requests, but what is said over the phone can be disputed as a misunderstanding. When you have a hard copy of your request, it is much harder to dispute your request.

Make sure you have triple copies of every request you have made. One of these goes to the warranty company, one you will need to keep for your records and the other will go to your attorney. Do this, and you will have sealed a major hole in your case.