DEAR BENNY: Some states such as California have a 3 percent limit to deposit recovery; buyers have the right, if they legally back out of a contract, to secure a full return of up to a 3 percent deposit. Any deposit over 3 percent is not refundable. In California, I have never seen a deposit over 3 percent. --Joe
DEAR JOE: I am not a California attorney, but I did a Web search on the issue of the earnest money deposit when you sign a contract to purchase a house or a condo. I am not sure you are correct. While you are right that most deposits in California do not exceed 3 percent of the purchase price, it's not based on any legal requirement.