1) CAREFULLY READ THE CONTRACT and find what it says about deposits
2) Write protest letters and call the builder to try to amicably resolve the matter - document EVERYTHING
3) Hire an appraiser or Realtor to provide an opinion of value so you can figure out where you truly stand
4) Consult a real estate attorney, well versed in contract law and experienced in cases against builders and use him when the moment dictates
5) ACT QUICKLY and decisively - time is of the essence
Luck, Is When Preparation Meets Opportunity (Mark Twain)
You have to look to your sales agreement (contract) to see what the "seller" is permitted to keep once there is a retraction of the contract. That is the SHORT answer. HOWEVER:.....
A closer look at this is required: it depends on the agreement the builder has with the party that is holding the construction loan. Very few builders build with their own money. They let the banks do that; once x # of units are sold, then the bank switches from a construction loan to a more permanent one or they get all of the new mortgages for those who purchase in that building. Either way, you need to seek out what is the CURRENT relationship between the banker/holder of the money and the holder of the property, i.e. the builder.
If the condo as droped that much (1st) who is saying "what it is worth"? Is it a real estate professional, the nieghbors or the banks appraiser?
USUALLY when buying a condo in pre-construction stages, the new buyer only has to put up 5% or less of the purchase price (contract price) until it is within 60-90 days of the building (or the unit) gets its C of O from the city-county. (that is certificate of occupancy) ONLY then can a builder close on the unit. And then the buyer must come up with the remainder of the 10% deposit and their mortgage or whatever their sales contract stipulates is the accepted method of payment.
Make sure your builder is still SOLVENT before you close....you really may want to get an attorney given the market conditions today unless you have a competent real estate professional that was part of the original transaction....then she/he may be able to shed mmore light on your options because the bottom line....you do NOT want to overpay for a property if you do not have to!