raf521, thanks for the follow up information.
Just so you know, Fannie Mae will approve loans up to a 49.99% debt ratio and Freddie Mac will approve loans up to a 54.99% debt ratio. However each lender is free to make their own more restrictive guidelines, and the one you are talking to just happens to limit it to 45%. We work with lenders who will go up to 49.99% debt ratios, so if yours is being calculated at 48% there is a chance it could work out with us (or a different lender who allows higher debt ratios). Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac don't always approve debt ratios over 45% though, it takes someone who is pretty well qualified. Having a 30% down payment, and if your credit is good & would have some leftover money in the bank after closing, then that would definitely put you into that category so there could be a good shot. You also mentioned you had a $212/mo vehicle loan, so did the loan officer discuss paying off to reduce your debt ratio to 45% or less? You could reduce your down payment to 20% and then you'd have funds freed up to pay off that loan. These are just some possible ways for you to still get approved and buy this home... that is if you still want to.
And yes, you definitely have a say in the matter... you are the one buying the home. Stop thinking like that.
The builder is in the business of building & selling homes, they aren't in the business of using tricky contracts to screw people out of their earnest money deposits. Most (not all) real estate agents who represent the builder aren't great agents, which is why I always recommend you get your own agent even if the builder says they have one for you. It's a little late for that now, but it doesn't mean you have to discuss things with the seller's real estate agent... you can go direct to the builder.
You have choices:
1. You could pursue some of the creative methods I mentioned to help reduce your debt ratio and qualify for the loan with your current lender
2. You could find a new lender who allows higher debt ratios
3. You could throw in the towel and kiss your $13k goodbye
4. You could spend money on an attorney and try to get your $13k back (which you wouldn't get all of it, the attorney likely will be asking for 30-40% of that figure as part of their compensation)
5. You could ask the builder to clarify what their definition of a preliminary approval is (which you haven't said if you've did or not), and potentially get all of your $13k back
I hope you try options 1, 2 & 5 before you try options 3 or 4.