This website is the consumer section of the California Department of Real Estate. You may also file a complaint there. $50k is a lot of money to have at risk, you should also consult a real estate attorney if you more time goes by without a resolution. The escrow company has the good faith deposit. They shouldn't be able to release it to anyone without an escrow instruction signed by you and the seller, therefore, the deposit might sit in escrow until the issue is resolved.
I believe Andrea's answer is spot on advice. Make sure you get your agent's broker involved (assuming they are not a broker). The money should be held in escrow. You should have sent a cancellation of contract. If you are within the contingency period (particularly physical inspection time period), you should be able to have the deposit returned to you.
Move this issue up the brokerage ladder quickly and then to the DRE as Andrea has suggested. If you do not see some progress, contact a real estate attorney to help.
First off, the bank does not have your deposit. The escrow company has your deposit. Secondly, you need to read your purchase agreement and bank addendums (anything additional that the selling bank had you sign outside of the purchase agreement). Look for the details of your contingency removals. Typically banks build in automatic contingency removals within a certain period of time (usually 5-10 days). That means that once the alotted time has lapsed and you have not either cancelled or filed a request for repairs in writing, then the contingency is no longer valid. If this is the case you will lose your deposit. This is why when shopping REOs it's crucial to have an informed, detail-oriented agent that will monitor and protect you from the parameters in the bank addendums.
Unfortunately, if you did not cancel within the contingency period you will likely not retain your deposit. Again, check your purchase agreement and bank addendums.
Best of luck!!
San Diego Specialist
Residential Sales and Appraisal
Does your contract have an active or passive removal of contingencies? Why did you put a $50,000 deposit in escrow? Did you and the seller sign the "Liquidated Damages" clause? What is your agent and his/her broker advising you to do?
You have to read the contract VERY carefully. Banks use their own purchase agreement written with only their interests in mind. They have systematically removed buyerâ€™s rights that are contained in a normal C.A.R. purchased agreement. The buyerâ€™s agent you used should have known this and advised you of such.
In a normal contract, contingencies have to be removed in writing. In some REO contracts, they are removed automatically as soon as the contingency time periods lapse or expire. That may be the situation in your case.
Typically, for an REO purchase agreement, if you wish to cancel a transaction, you have to cancel the contract IN WRITING with a Release Of Contract form PRIOR to the contingency time periods expiring. Failure to do so may mean you are locked in to the transaction or, should you wish to cancel, you forfeit your deposit.
By the way, $50,000 deposit for an REO is very high â€“ normally, they require 1% and, in some cases, a maximum of 3%. Are you talking about the deposit or down payment?
Discuss this with your buyerâ€™s agent and if you donâ€™t get a satisfactory resolution, talk to their broker. You may need to get a real estate attorney involved as well.
Talk with your agent and his/her manager. If you aren't satisfied, consult with a real estate attorney. Unfortunately you have found out that placing money into escrow is easy. However getting that money released requires mutual written agreement by both sides. I also would re-read your contract so you are aware of your obligations as well as the other parties. Sorry.