July 1, 2019

Easy Glossary of Home Building Terms for New Homeowners

Being able to build a home from the ground up is so exciting. You’ve spent time poring over your options and selecting the very best – from the floor plan to kitchen layout to room arrangement. Now it’s time to start putting those plans to action. Here’s where all that excitement can turn to confusion if you’re not sure where you are in the process. You may be hearing terms flying around and have no idea what they are, or what comes next. At this point, you may be too afraid to ask.

Whether you’re in the middle of buying a new home or just preparing for it, we’ve put together a quick glossary to help you understand what’s going on. Here are some terms you’ll undoubtedly come across as a new homeowner.

Pre-Start Process

The “pre-start process” refers to the time it takes for all the options you selected during the contract process to be applied to the building plan and then submitted to permitting.


After your building plan is ready to go, it’s submitted to the municipality for review. At this time, you also send the plot plan or layout of your home on the site to be reviewed. The municipality has a set amount of time to complete this step and either approve them or send back for editing.


You’re starting to see some progress! Scraping is when your home’s future site is prepped for foundation work. The site’s protective grass layer is scraped away to reveal the dirt below. Once this happens, the crew can start building your future home’s foundation.

Pre-Construction Meeting

This one may seem self-explanatory, but this is a meeting between you and the onsite builder or supervisor to review your home plans. You’ll both make sure all the options you selected are represented on the plans before starting work.

Once you’ve finalized everything, you’re ready to go! You can expect to start seeing your new home slowly but surely take shape after the pre-construction meeting.

Pre-Drywall Meeting

Your new home has a foundation, walls and rough mechanicals. Now you’ll meet again with the onsite builder or supervisor to review the house’s progress and compare the electrical and structural options that are listed on your building plan.

It’s your last chance to make sure these are 100% correct before dry-wall goes on.

Homeowner Orientation

Your new home has walls, floors, a ceiling, and you’re so close to moving in the excitement is palpable. All that’s left is your homeowner orientation. You’ll meet with the onsite builder or supervisor one last time to look over the finished house.

Here, you’ll make sure the new home has been built following the plans, matches all of your chosen options, and that nothing’s missing. You can also take this opportunity to inspect the builder’s quality of work.

Some things to watch out for:

•           Are there any spots on the wall where paint may be missing?

•           Did any paint get on the carpet?

•           Is the trim caulked and done correctly?

You will also go over your plumbing and HVAC details. Make sure you understand how to change filters, check for problems, and know where your emergency shutoffs are.

Now onto the next step…moving in! You’re finally ready to move into the house you’ve watched being built from the ground up. Or at least, you know what to expect when you finalize building plans and get to the pre-start process. Keep this glossary handy as you move through the building process, and you’ll be ready every step of the way.