I can give you a step by step idea of what to do in this situation. Please keep in mind that I do not know all of the facts of your situation and have not reviewed the documentation related to your property purchase, but this is where I would start:
1. Contact the escrow company handling your real estate transaction.
2. Request a copy of the "Fully Executed Contract" for your real estate transaction (I am assuming you are using the latest revision of forms from the California Association Of Realtors and that you are using the latest revision of those forms).
3. Go to Page 8 of the California Residential Purchase Agreement And Joint Escrow Instructions (Form RPA-CA).
4. Look at Section 30 ACCEPTANCE OF OFFER. What is the date of the CONFIRMATION OF ACCEPTANCE? That is first "day" of your transaction. If the line is blank, consider asking for a clarification from your real estate agent.
5. Go to Page 2 of the California Residential Purchase Agreement And Joint Escrow Instructions (RPA-CA).
6. Look at Section 3 Subsection I APPRAISAL AND CONTINGENCY REMOVAL. Do you have an appraisal contingency or was it waived? If you do have an appraisal contingency, how many days are allowed before you must remove your appraisal contingency or cancel the contract? It might be 17 days, but that is not guaranteed.
7. Is this a Bank Owned Property (REO)? If so, did you sign an addendum to the contract that modified the terms of your appraisal contingency as described above? It is not uncommon for a REO to have language in a standard contract addendum sent back to you from the bank who owns the property modifying the appraisal contingency removal after you submitted your original offer.
8. Has the seller sent you a Notice Of Buyer To Perform (Form NBP) requesting that you remove your appraisal contingency (if you have one)?
9. If you have received a notice to perform, did you sign and send back to the seller a Contingency Removal (Form CR) removing your appraisal contingency?
10. If you have an appraisal contingency clause in your contract ,and you have not removed your appraisal contingency in writing, consider having your real estate agent prepare a Cancellation Of Contract, Release Of Deposit And Joint Escrow Instructions (Form CC) and request a return of your entire deposit amount.
11. If the seller refuses to return your deposit, go to Page 7 of the California Residential Purchase Agreement And Joint Escrow Instructions (Form RPA-CA).
12. Look at Section 26 Dispute Resolution. How much was your deposit amount? Getting your deposit back may require you to go to mediation or arbitration or small claims court depending on who has jurisdiction.
Thank you for asking your question, and I hope my answer helps.
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