Either way, it seems nothing is approved until after I sign a contract.
The fact that they already have a major part of the deposit at tender means you have a pretty large commitment financially even before you have seen a contract and then who knows what happens after signing the contract and paying the remainder of the 5 percent when the plans go for approval.
Feels quite risky to me and the more I investigate PD competitors it seems this is an unusual way of doing business.
I understand your concern and I agree with you. The way I see it you have two options:
1. Walk way, now is the time to do so. The more time you invest with this builder the more attached you are to the house and the more money you will loose.
2. Talk to management about slightly modifying the process to suit your needs. They might request payment for the drawing creation and approval process instead of a X% deposit.
I am arranging to visit my solicitor and get his advice on how to proceed.
Once I have the facts and advice I will speak with PD management and ask if they are able to help satisfy my solicitors suggestions.
If not I will walk away.
I personally am not emotionally attached to the house; it is far more important that I am comfortable with the process and the contracts I need to sign. I have a nice enough house now that I can live in until I find the right builder who can provide the service and house I will be happy with. My only gripes if I need to walk are that I will lose the 2k I have put up already and the enormous amount of hours I have put into the process with PD thus far. I will put it down to a learning experience if it comes to that.
I am spending approx half a million on building the house and I refuse to sign anything without doing due diligence.
Losing 2k now could save a lot of money in the long run if things go astray.