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If a California real estate purchase agreement is found to be null?

Good answer from Bruce. If this was part of a court proceeding, though, you certainly can consult with the lawyer who represented you at the proceeding for clarification on recovery of your deposit. But let me make a guess: Did the contract simply fall through? Maybe one party didnt perform as agreed to? Disclaimer: Im only licensed in Virginia, not California. And Im not a lawyer, so this isnt legal advice. If the deposit is being held in escrow (often its in an escrow account in the name of the listing agents brokerage . . . though it could be elsewhere), then it generally takes agreement of both partiesbuyer and sellerto release the funds. Neither the would-be buyer or would-be seller alone can get the funds released. Assuming the matter is just between the buyer and sellerthat no court has issued a decision on how the funds are to be distributedthen its up to the buyer and seller to agree. In general, understandably, if the buyer defaulted on some term of the contract, then the seller retains all or most of the deposit. On the other hand, if the seller defaulted, the buyer should receive all or most of his/her deposit back. (The person at fault doesnt get to keep/recover the money.) But ultimately thats an issue between the buyer and seller. If theres a problemsay the seller defaulted but wont agree to return the moneythen you may have to go to court. Itll then be up to the court to decide who gets what. And unfortunately I cant give you an estimate of how much time, or how much in fees, that would cost.