Arbitration & Dispute Resolution


Traditionally, real estate industry disputes rely on negotiation for solutions. If negotiation fails, litigation is often initiated. Mediation involves the skillful intervention of a third-party professional to help resolve disputes that arise between two or more parties.

Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts. The parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the "arbitrators", "arbiters," or "arbitral tribunal"), whose decision (the "award") they agree to be bound. It is a settlement technique in which a third party reviews the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding for both sides.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Steps During Pre-Mediation

  • Get the right mediator
  • Draft the mediation rules
  • Have an informal pre-mediation get-together
  • Make the dispute "mediatable"
  • Identify the person who must approve of the settlement
  • Deal with logistics
  • Prepare pre-mediation statement
  • Emphasize good faith commitments

Steps During Post-Mediation

Document all agreements reached in mediation

  • Facilitate ratification
  • Create a decision maker
  • Offer proposals
  • Schedule additional mediation sessions
  • Keep in touch

Source: Entrances and Exits: Strategies to Pursue Outside the Mediation, (Dispute Resolution Journal, May-July 2007) E

Understanding Mediation & Conflict Resolution

Real Estate Mediation and Arbitration for Disputes, (The Balance, May 4, 2018)

Mediation: The High Art of Conflict Resolution (2/2), (Huffington Post, Feb. 23, 2017)

How to Resolve Business Disputes with Arbitration or Mediation, (The Balance, Nov. 6, 2016)

Mediate, Arbitrate or Litigate – The Choice is Yours, (Coeur d’Alene Press, Sept. 25, 2016)

Arbitration vs Mediation for Real Estate, (Kimberly Howell Blog, Dec. 28, 2015)

Arbitration vs Mediation and the Conflict Resolution Process in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), (Harvard Law School, Aug. 5, 2015)

Help resolve workplace conflicts with communication, (Sacramento Business Journal, May 10, 2013)

Real Estate Mediation and Arbitration, (Mediate, Apr. 2012)

Mediation: Ten Rules for Success, (NOLO Law for All)

Real estate mediation and arbitration for disputes, ( Real Estate Business Guide)

Know all of your options for resolving work disputes, (Philadelphia Business Journal, Jan. 13, 2012)

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Creative Ways to Draft and Use ADR Clauses, (Shopping Center Law & Strategy, Winter 2018) E

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – Mediation & Arbitration, (Money Crashers Blog, Apr. 22, 2016)

Promoting Professional Standards Through Alternative Dispute Resolution, (National Association of REALTORS®, Legislative Live, May 16, 2015)

Dispute Resolution System: Mediation/Arbitration, (National Association of REALTORS®, May 1994) (nar.REALTOR login required)

Early ADR in U.S. History: Talking versus War, (Mediate, Feb. 12, 2007)

Business disputes less likely to go before judge, (Buffalo Business First, Mar. 28, 2005)

Planners, hoteliers try staying out of court, (Successful Meetings, Mar. 2005) E

Arbitration & Mediation Issues

Arbitration in Real Estate Contracts, (Orange County Business Journal, May 8, 2017) E

How to Resolve Business Disputes with Arbitration or Mediation, (The Balance Blog, Nov. 6, 2016)

Arbitration & Mediation: Trending Worldwide for all the Right Reasons, (Bloomberg, June 22, 2016)

Finding right mediator worth doing legwork, (Atlanta Business Chronicle, May 20, 2011)

Mediation in Real Estate Disputes, (Knoji, Feb. 17, 2011)

Mediation: The better way to solve commercial real estate disputes, (REJournals, Feb. 3, 2011)

Update on Foreclosure Mediation, (Dispute Resolution Journal, May-July 2011) E

Useful Websites

Association for Conflict Resolution

Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual (National Association of REALTORS®).

Dispute Resolution Magazine (American Bar Association)


Mediation Tools/Resources (National Association of REALTORS®). Note: Via link, scroll downward for MS Word docs and PowerPoint presentations

National Association for Community Mediation

Professional Standards Training & Mediation Resources Database (National Association of REALTORS®).

Books, eBooks & Other Resources

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Advanced Facilitation Strategies (eBook)

The Anatomy of Peace (eBook, Kindle, Audiobook)

The Art of Constructive Confrontation (Kindle, eBook)

Breakthrough Business Negotiation (Kindle, eBook)

Conflict Resolution (eBook)

The Coward's Guide to Conflict (Audiobook)

Facilitating With Ease! (Kindle, eBook)

Good for You, Great for Me (eBook, Audiobook)

The Handbook of Dispute Resolution (Kindle, eBook)

Have a Nice Conflict (Kindle, eBook)

Improvisational Negotiation (Kindle, eBook)

Legal Negotiation (eBook, Audiobook)

Mediation for Fidgety Skeptics (eBook, Kindle, Audiobook)

The Negotiation Book (eBook, Kindle, Audiobook)

Negotiating Success (Kindle, eBook)

Negotiating the Impossible (eBook, Kindle, Audiobook)

Resolving Conflicts at Work (Kindle, eBook)

Settling the Unsettling (eBook)

The Triangle of Truth (Kindle, eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Disagreements, disputes, and all-out war: 3 simple steps for dealing with any kind of conflict, (New York, NY: Amacom, 2008) HD 42 SC03

Handling conflict, (Cincinnati, OH: South-Western, 2002) HD 42 G65

The mediator's handbook: advance practice guide for civil litigation, (Cincinnati, OH: South-Western, 2002) KF 9084 C77

Leaders working together: five steps to conflict resolution, (Washington, DC: American Society of Association Executives, 2001) HF 294 A1

Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.

The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.