Construction Terms Anyone Building a Home Needs to Know

Building a home is an exciting time and at Rockford Homes, we want to do everything we can to help our home buyers have a smooth and pleasant experience. Part of that is making sure that everyone understands the home building process and knows what to expect. If you are unfamiliar with the home building industry, there may be terms that you may not be familiar with or know how they specifically relate to the construction industry. Here is a list of terms that are commonly used that anyone building a home will want to know.

Spec or Inventory Home

Spec homes or inventory homes are new construction homes that are already built or nearly completed by the home builder and available for sale. The advantage to home buyers is they can move into a brand new home more quickly than building from scratch.


The appraisal is a value placed on a home by a professional appraiser. This value will be used for property tax, financing and insurance purposes.


A blueprint is a drawing of your home’s floor plan and specifications. This plan is used as the guide for building your home.

Builder Warranty

Home builders like Rockford Homes want home buyers to know that we both stand behind our work, but also that their investment is protected if some unforeseen issue should arise. A builder warranty will cover and replace certain damaged and broken items in your new home for a certain period of time depending on the builder’s terms. Learn more about the warranty with Rockford Homes at

Building Codes

Local, state and federal governments place regulations on the construction of structures such as homes. These regulations are meant to protect the safety and welfare of the occupants and the surrounding community. New homes must meet these regulations to be approved by the governing officials.

Certificate of Occupancy

This certificate is issued by the local jurisdiction showing that the home meets all building codes and is safe for occupancy. This is required before anyone can occupy the home.

Change Order

A change order is an official written request to modify the original plans in the home.


This is when the property is officially turned over to the new owners.


Once you have decided you want to build a home and are ready to go into contract, home builders will require a set dollar amount due from the home buyer before going into contract.


When you hear this term from your home builder, they are most likely referring to a two-dimensional drawing representing the exterior of your home. At Rockford homes, we have options for elevation and let home buyers choose which they prefer.

Floor Plan

The floor plan is a drawing of the interior of the home from a bird’s eye view. This shows wall to wall where rooms are located, hallways, closets, stairs, etc. This helps provide an overview of the layout of the home.

Homeowners Association

Many planned communities, subdivisions, and condo complexes have a Homeowners Association (HOA). This is an organization run by a group of homeowners governing over the communities in which they live. The organizations provide amenities in the community and help maintain and preserve the integrity of the community.


A building permit is required before the construction of a new home can begin. A permit is obtained through local and city officials.

Plot Plan

This plan shows the property surrounding the home, the location of the home, and all property lines, easements and legal descriptions.

Punch List

Near the end of your home building process, you will hear this term. A punch out list is a list of items that need addressed before the closing of a home. This would cover any issues such as wrong items installed, non-functional items, spotty paint, etc.


Just before the closing of the property, the future homeowner has an opportunity to do one final inspection referred to as a walk-through. This gives the home buyer an opportunity to make sure any issues have been resolved and that the home meets the terms that were agreed upon.

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Stephanie Ferner

Stephanie is here to help with your New Home search!
Text us at (614) 604-6373