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Deciphering Custom Home Builder Lingo: Key Terms Every Home Buyer Should Know in Highland Park

Stepping into the world of custom home building in Highland Park can feel like entering a new country where the language is familiar yet perplexing. Understanding the lingo can make the process of building your dream home less daunting and more enjoyable. Here’s a glossary of key terms every prospective home buyer should become familiar with before diving into the custom home building process.

1. Architectural Review Committee (ARC)

An ARC is a group typically part of homeowners' associations (HOAs) in planned communities. They review and approve new construction and exterior remodeling projects to ensure they meet the community's design standards.

2. Change Order

A change order is a document that outlines any requested changes to the original construction plan, including additions or deletions that affect the project's cost and timeline.

3. Cost-Plus Contract

This type of contract involves paying the builder for all construction-related expenses plus a specific agreed-upon amount or percentage for profit and overhead.

4. Elevation

In home building, elevation refers to the exterior view of a house or the design of the front, back, or sides, including architectural styling, finishes, and landscaping.

5. Fixed-Price Contract

A fixed-price contract is an agreement where the builder commits to completing the project at a set price, regardless of the actual costs incurred.

6. Footing

A footing is a concrete foundation that spreads the home's weight to provide stability and prevent settling. It's crucial in the overall structural integrity of the house.


HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It's the system responsible for moving heated or cooled air throughout the home, ensuring a comfortable living environment.

8. Infill

Infill refers to the development of vacant parcels within previously built areas. In Highland Park, this might mean building a new home on a lot where an older home was demolished.

9. Punch List

A punch list is created during the final inspection of the construction project. It's a checklist of tasks that need to be completed or corrected before the final turnover.

10. Setback

This term refers to the required distance between the property line and the home. Setbacks are determined by local zoning laws and ensure that buildings are not constructed too close to each other.

11. Spec Home

A spec home is a new construction property built by a developer with the speculation that it will be sold to a buyer. It's designed with features and materials the builder believes will be appealing to potential buyers.

12. Subcontractor

Subcontractors are specialized professionals hired by the general contractor to perform specific tasks, such as plumbing, electrical work, or roofing.

13. Tract Home

A tract home is one of many similar homes built on a tract of land. These homes are typically less expensive than custom homes but offer less personalization.

14. Walk-Through

A walk-through is a final inspection conducted by the buyer and the builder. It's an opportunity to ensure that all aspects of the home meet the agreed-upon specifications before closing.

15. Warranty

A warranty is a guarantee provided by the builder covering the repair or replacement of certain elements of the home, typically for a specified period.


Understanding the terminology used in the custom home building process is crucial for clear communication and ensuring your vision comes to life as you intend. As you embark on the journey of creating your dream home in Highland Park, keep this guide handy. It will not only help you navigate conversations with your builder but also empower you to make informed decisions every step of the way.

Please call us at 469-269-6541 for more details about Highland Park and available homes!


About us: Highland Park Luxury Homes Expert Real Estate Agent

As a Top Real Estate Professional in Highland Park, I understand the challenges that arise when building a custom luxury home or buying a luxury home.

As a holder of top real estate industry certifications and designations like CRS, ABR & GRI, I can offer my clients experience as a Buyer's Agent and REALTOR®, top Industry Customer Service, in-depth, up-to-the-minute and comprehensive market knowledge; honesty, integrity, dedication, and professionalism in my business.

Whether you are a first time buyer in Highland Park looking to buy a luxury home or whether you are relocating to Highland Park from California or moving your entire family from areas like San Francisco, Fremont, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, San Diego in California due to job transfer with your company, I can help you find a dream luxury home in Highland Park. Our relocation team eases the transition - whether you are moving across town or across the globe. We will work with you to find an area that best suits your professional, family and lifestyle needs. We have all the tools you need to help your home search. Whether it is video previews of homes, extended work hours, digital signatures for documents or more, we can make this process as comfortable as possible no matter where you are located.

What is most important to you in your new custom home in Highland Park? Send us an email at info@NitinGuptaDFW.com or give us a call at (469) 269-6541 to schedule a no obligation consultation. We’ll give you honest advice about Highland Park that you can use to help make your home buying decision.

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