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Erika Kauzlarich-Bird: Program aims for speedy, informal resolutions

Real Estate Talk

Posted: June 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

In an effort to settle disputes in the purchase or sale of a home quickly and informally, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors recently unveiled its new Ombudsman program.

Anyone in a dispute with a member of the Association who has not yet or does not want to file an official complaint can take advantage of our new, free program.

Use of an ombudsman will help resolve disputes in a timelier and less formal fashion. This benefits all parties.

In some instances, the official, formal grievance process can take up to four months or longer before a dispute is resolved.

With the Ombudsman program, the individuals seeking assistance can expect to be contacted by their assigned ombudsman within two business days.

The program uses trained volunteers who will work with the parties from the start to the finish of a dispute.

An ombudsman will contact the other party on the complainant’s behalf in an attempt to resolve the issue without the need to file a formal complaint.

The role of the ombudsman is not to take sides or determine who is in violation, but rather to facilitate proper communication among the disputing parties and find a resolution agreeable to all sides.

Volunteer ombudsmen are trained in and familiar with the Realtors’ Code of Ethics, California real estate regulations and current real estate practices.

They can respond to a wide variety of inquiries and complaints.

The association hopes that through this process, we can quickly resolve any issues consumers and Realtors may encounter.

In the event an issue proves to be too complex, a party decides against using an ombudsman, or if the ombudsman is unable to facilitate a resolution of the dispute, any of the parties can file a formal complaint through SRAR’s Professional Standards Department.

Best of all, the Ombudsman program is free and completely confidential.

For more information, contact Michelle Gerhard, SRAR’s Professional Standards administrator, at 818-947-2226.

Erika Kauzlarich-Bird is President of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. David Walker, of Walker Associates, co-authors articles for SRAR. The column represents SRAR’s views and not necessarily those of The Signal. The column contains general information about the real estate market and is not intended to replace advice from your Realtor or other realty related professionals. 

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