No. of Recommendations: 4
Only an accepted offer, with all contingencies fulfilled or waived, is considered a bona fide contract.

I strongly disagree. And I believe it's that kind of thinking that is part of the OP's problem.

An offer that has been accepted (obviously this one has been) is a contract.

The contingencies are part of the contract.
Exercising a contingency to exit the contract is still part of the contract.

In MLS database, they even categorize a property that has had an offer accepted as "under contract" - even though there may still be 2 weeks or more before the contingencies are waived/fulfilled.

An offer, once accepted, IS a contract.
There are usually exit clauses (contingencies) - but that doesn't mean it isn't a legally binding contract.
Many other contracts have exit clauses as well. (rental contracts, employment contracts, purchase contracts, etc)

I stand by my advice that the best path forward for the OP is to spend $200 to hire a RE lawyer from the area to review the contract and write a "give them the money back because of reasons A, B, C, D, and E" letter. And I would encourage a local RE lawyer because they'll probably be known by the builder and builder's lawyer. Possibly that will be enough - it'll make it clear to the builder (and the builder's lawyer) that the purchase isn't going to happen - that it isn't just a young family getting cold feet but then still following through 3 weeks later. (And if a letter isn't enough, at least you've got a good solid legal opinion on what your options are to get out of the contract)

almost all contracts I have signed state that if you don't do what is needed for a contingency such as inspection within so many days, it is the same as waiving your right.
I've seen it both ways... I think it depends on who writes the contract. I've seen ones where the contract is automatically exited if the contingency isn't waived. And I've seen ones like you've signed where the contingency is waived automatically unless notice is given.
I've also seen contingency extensions - where both buyer and seller sign an amendment to the contract that allows the contingency to go another X days so that something can be resolved. (ex. inspection service isn't able to get out there in the amount of time, and buyer really wants the inspection, and seller doesn't want to put it back on the market)
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