Pat’s Market Wise Q&A column from the San Jose Mercury News: Why Can’t Licensee Return Buyer’s Deposit Check?

Excerpted from the San Jose Mercury News, SJMN

Market Wise column on First Saturdays

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Pat Kapowich for SJMN’s Market Wise Column

Q: We made an offer on a property, but it was rejected. We twice asked our sales agent to return our deposit check and she said she is unable to retrieve it because it has to go through the proper channels. My wife confirmed the check has not been cashed. Regardless, it’s troubling that it has yet to be returned. Is it true that our agent cannot just walk into her office and retrieve our deposit check?


A: Yes. Your buyer’s rep is following mandated procedures for handling consumer trust funds. An agency’s broker is responsible for supervising his or her sales licensees, as well as handling and disbursing deposits. In point of fact, the state of California loves to make examples of firms that mishandle client funds by publicly announcing which agencies had their licenses suspended or revoked.

Pat Kapowich,, owns Kapowich Real Estate in Cupertino. E-mail questions to him at