Is there a time frame for a California real estate broker to return deposit check to the buyer?
Not that I can find in the Real Estate Law….the rules depend on to whom the check is made out to. If it is made out to the real estate brokerage the Broker can keep it in a log un-cashed with the Buyer’s permission or deposit it to the brokerage Trust Account which is audited by the Department of Real Estate. But the normal practice in N. California is to have the check made out to an escrow company and hold it in a log at the real estate brokerage office until the offer is accepted and then it is forwarded to the escrow company and a receipt issued by the escrow company.
If the check goes to escrow and the escrow is later cancelled, both the seller’s and the buyer’s signatures are required to get the deposit released and there is a penalty if the seller does not sign without cause to release those funds.
Final answer, if you gave your salesperson or broker a check and you did not get the property or if you cannot see that it was applied to the purchase during escrow, then your salesperson or broker should return the check to you but there is not a stated time frame in the law.