Decoding the Construction Lingo: A Comprehensive Guide for your New Build with Sterling Homes

Building a new home is an exciting time, but can also get very confusing. While we strive to make the process as simple as possible you will, from time to time, hear terms that may sound like a secret code. Check out our easy to follow guide to help navigate your new build from beginning to end with Sterling Homes.

Vickie Cugnet

May 1, 2024

Presale: A presale refers to a home built specifically for customers. They are selecting the lot, model, layout, and features making it unique for them.

Spec Home: A spec home or quick possession home is one that Sterling builds understanding that a buyer will purchase it at some point. It offers someone the chance to buy a brand new home without the wait of building from the ground up.

Specification: Specification provides the details of the standard features in every home.

Lot Type: Each community offers a wide range of lot types such as walkout, traditional, and zero-lot. Check out our lot-type blog that dives deeper into each and helps you select the best one to build your life.

Purchase Contract: The purchase contract is the first step to buying a house, it sets out the terms of a residential property sale that includes basic information about the buyer, seller, and details about the property. The agreement also includes financial terms such as the deposit, the purchase price of the home, the lot, and applicable taxes.

Addendum:  Addendums list any changes made to the home. They will note everything from window changes to financing terms, selections, and clarifications. Any changes related to your home must be written on an addendum, signed by you, the customer, the showhome, and the main office before providing a great and consistent paper trail for your home.

Waiver: A waiver is a form that notifies the builder that the purchaser has satisfied the conditions noted at the time of the purchase contract finalizing the sale of the house. Congratulations, you bought a house!

Tentative TBD Possession Date: The tentative possession date is set when the purchase contract is written. It is based on current construction build times for that specific community however is not the guaranteed date. A firm possession date is provided once construction is well underway. Specific Spec Homes are not TBD, as they are far enough in construction and Sterling Homes can offer a guaranteed move-in date.

A/C’s: A/C is short for architectural controls, they are the rules that outline what houses should look like within a community and provide aesthetic harmony rather than monotony.

Plot Plan: A plot plan is the design drawing showing where the proposed house and utility right-of-way are in relation to the proper boundaries as well as existing and proposed lot grading

Utility Right-of-way: A Utility Right-of-Way is the section of a lot that is designated for shallow utility providers (typically power, gas & telecommunications) to install their infrastructure. Trees are not permitted to be planted in a utility right-of-way however shrubs and flowers may be.  Should the city, or a utility company, need to access the infrastructure within the right-of-way they are responsible for restoring any lawn damage, but not responsible for the replacement of flowers or shrubs.

Swale: A swale is a long shallow depression in the ground, typically in the back of the yard, and made of concrete, designed to collect or redirect water on the property to storm drains out on the street.

PSO: PSO is short for Preliminary Sign-Off. This will be your first opportunity to review the plans of your home, make final non-structural changes to your floorplan, and review your approved A/C’s and plot plan.

1001/1002 Date: The 1001 and 1002 date is the period for customers to make their interior selections such as appliances, flooring, and tile. Customers who purchase a presale home are permitted to visit all of our selection trades if they wish, to fully personalize their homes and are given 4 weeks to complete. Someone who purchases a spec will visit Trail to select their appliances and be given 1 week to finalize.

SSO: SSO is short for Sales Sign Off. This is a review of all changes and selections made to your home by our construction team. Our sales team will review everything with the customer to ensure all information is correct.

Sleepers: Sleepers are pieces of 2×4 pressure-treated wood that are added into the freshly poured foundation concrete, typically at the sides of the garage or along the back of the house, that allow the siders to install their siding lower and have a piece of wood to secure it to.

Cantilevers: Cantilevers are a portion of the house that overhangs the floor by 2-’0” without requiring foundation support. Applications can vary but are most commonly used for fireplaces, allowing space for the box and venting of the fireplace to be exterior providing a flush and finished appearance inside the home.

Rough Ins: Rough-in is the stage of construction after framing when the plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and gas are installed in the house within the walls prior to getting covered by drywall.

Stage 1 Release: Stage 1 release is the point in our process where our estimating team issues the purchase orders from the initial lot survey up to and including framing. This is the signal to our trades that work is to begin on building your home.

Stage 2 Release: For stage 2 release, our estimating team has issued the purchase orders for rough-in all the way to completion.  This is the stage that will see your house turn into a home with exterior finishes, drywall, flooring, cabinets, and lighting.

Grading: Grading is the process of reshaping land to level the dirt, removing slopes, and ensuring proper drainage so water moves away from the home and doesn’t pool. Grading can only be completed once construction is complete and can only be done when the ground is thawed.

Building a home is no easy task, thankfully with over 70 years of experience, Sterling Homes has created great processes and checkpoints to ensure we deliver the best possible home to build your life. So, when you hear your salesperson or construction representative throw out some odd ball words, we hope our quick guide helps, however don’t be scared to ask questions.

About the Author: Vickie Cugnet

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