Ombudsman Program

Conflict Resolution Service

What is it?

The Ombudsman Program is a service to assist members in resolving disputes. It could be a perceived violation of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics or it could be a monetary dispute or involve technical or procedural questions. We do not become involved in consumer to consumer disputes, only those between two agents or between agent and consumer. If the broker of the errant agent has been contacted with no resolution, then we offer the Ombudsman service as an alternative to filing a formal complaint.

Who is an Ombudsman?

We have an Ombudsman Presidential Advisory Group made up of peer agents who are former Chairs of the SAR Grievance Committee and who now serve as members of the SAR Professional Standards Committee. These individuals have received professional Ombudsman training and one of them is assigned by the Assistant Executive Vice President at the Association office to assist with a complaint.

How does it work?

A volunteer Ombudsman listens to your concerns, determines the desired outcome, explains possible avenues for resolution and answers general questions. This process is all done over the phone, or in person at the discretion of the Ombudsman, with the Ombudsman acting as an informal Peer Mediator. Complete confidentiality is maintained at all times. If the Ombudsman service does not work or you don’t feel it is an appropriate solution, then there are established procedures for filing a formal complaint

What the Ombudsman does not do.

The Ombudsman does not adjudicate, give legal advice or offer their personal evaluation of the situation. The key for a successful mediation is for the Ombudsman to determine the ‘desired outcome’ and then facilitate discussions to that end. The Ombudsman service is not utilized for matters of arbitration.

Advantages to Ombudsman Program.

  • The story is heard
  • Someone cares and will listen
  • Overcome public misconception that REALTORS® cover for each other
  • Helps disputing parties to reopen communications
  • Timely resolution before situation escalates
  • Saves time!

If you wish to request an Ombudsman to contact you, please compile the following information:

  • Name, contact information and role of the complainant (that is, buyer, seller, broker, etc.);
  • Name, contact information, and role of the respondent;
  • A description of the conflict.
Email the information to or call the SAR office at (509) 326-9222. An Ombudsman will be assigned to you and will attempt to contact you within two business days. All contact will be initiated by the Ombudsman.