If you have happen to have real estate complaints or dispute, below are practical steps that can help you solve it.
In the last few months, we have received a huge spike of real estate cases/disputes as comments on our Blog. As much as we try our best to answer each and every one of your case, we always believe that you have the power to seek favorable resolution your case.
To clarify things, I am not a lawyer by profession. But my experience in customer service made me believe that when you go to the right people, ask the right questions, and go through the right channels, you can resolve any conflict in your favor.
Here are steps to resolve any real estate dispute or complaint:
Before disputes/complaints arise: Document, document, document.
From the moment you submit your property inquiry, you are already in negotiation mode with your would-be broker. This is because you have already chosen to invest your interest, and will most likely pursue the inquiry further to signing a sales contract.
As such, always do everything in writing, including your communication. You’ll thank us later come the time when even the most minute or smallest of details could be the contesting point in your sales contract (i.e. pet policy, parking privileges, unpaid association fees), and could very well be the leverage you need to resolve your complaint in your favor.
Step 1: Assess whether your problem is warranted as a complaint.
Is your complaint a result of your misunderstanding or a difference in the interpretation of the contract? If this is the case, read everything that was sent to you first, including your text messages or emails to know what exactly do you want to get sorted out.
TIP: When determining the solution to your complaint, it should not only be reasonable to you, but also to the one you have filed a complaint against. Resolutions to complaints are usually solved by the terms stated on your legal documents, so it’s best to review them first before actually filing a complaint.
Step 2: Seek resolution from your broker first or the direct party involved (between yourself).
The person who is best to resolve your issue is always the one whom you are directly negotiating with: your broker or agent. This is because your broker is the most real, actual human being who can help you resolve your complaint.
If you do not understand why things happen, don’t be afraid to seek a more clarifying explanation. Don’t be afraid to ask about rules, policies, or laws relevant to your issue.
TIP: People are more receptive and helpful if you’re nice. Avoid making the situation about you by acknowledging your broker’s help and expertise in seeking an alternative solution.
Step 3: If no resolution has been reached, seek assistance from a regulator.
This depends on the type of complaint, but real estate complaints can approach Professional Regulation Commission or Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to help reach an authoritative judgement or settlement (arbitration) of your complaint.
Usually, complaints are already taken seriously after the regulator sends a notice of invitation. Complaints are often resolved way before the arbitration takes place.
TIP: Respect the process. There is a possibility that you are frustrated at this point, but it is not a good idea to be on the bad side of the authority during the proceeding. Bring all documentation you think is relevant to your case. Only answer what is being asked and be direct to the point.
Step 4: If both parties have not reached a resolution, request for a copy of the arbitration process.
Resolution to your complaint, to be honest, is less about getting what you want, and more about what’s reasonable for both parties and the actions taken by the one whom you have taken a complaint against.
This is a fact of life. But keeping these things in mind and by perseverance, you should be able to get out of this with as much of your sanity intact.
TIP: Have the results of your arbitration notarized before pursuing legal/judicial action.