New Homes: Glossary of Terms

New Home Construction Model


It’s no secret that at times the world of new homes communities can be a complicated one. From custom build options to rules and regulations unique to almost every county and state, there’s plenty to know. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and pulled together a few of our most commonly used terms and paired them with their definitions to help you get a better idea of what all of this industry jargon means!

Mello-Roos Tax: A Mello-Roos is a special tax assessment district created in California to finance local infrastructure or services. The tax is applied only to residents of the district that benefit from the project.

HOA: An HOA, or homeowners association, is a self-governing organization in “common-interest” communities where homeowners collectively pay fees to maintain the units or neighborhood. HOAs are typically run by resident homeowners, unpaid volunteers who are elected to a board of directors that oversees the HOA’s management.

CALGreen Compliant: CALGreen is California’s first green building code and first in the nation state-mandated green building code. The purpose of CALGreen is to improve public health, safety, and general welfare through enhanced design and construction of buildings using concepts which reduce negative impacts and promote those principles which have a positive environmental impact and encourage sustainable construction practices.

Owned Solar: Owned solar panels are panels the homeowner has purchased outright. If you’re buying a house with owned solar panels, you’ll also own the panels once you sign the purchase agreement for the home.

Energy Star (Appliances): ENERGY STAR products are the same or better than standard products, only they use less energy. To earn the ENERGY STAR, they must meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the US Environmental Protection Agency or the US Department of Energy.

Mortgage Pre-Approval: Pre-Approval is as close as you can get to confirming your creditworthiness without having a purchase contract in place. You will complete a mortgage application and the lender will verify the information you provide. They’ll also perform a credit check. If you’re pre-approved, you’ll receive a pre-approval letter, which is an offer (but not a commitment) to lend you a specific amount, good for 90 days.

California Builder Warranty: Under California law, the builder must provide a limited warranty, in writing, as to “fit and finish” items (including the quality completion of cabinets, flooring, mirrors, walls, countertops, and paint finishes, both inside and out). This warranty must last at least one year from the close of escrow.

10-Year Structural Warranty: In accordance to California Civil Law, the contractor is liable for a stated minimum standard of construction for 10 years after building even if the house has been sold to new owners.

Certificate of Occupancy: A certificate of occupancy is a legal document that proves a structure, such as a house or office building, is safe to inhabit. 

Elevation: Home elevation refers to the structure’s exterior design (front, back, and side).

Spec/Production Home: A spec house – short for speculative house – is a new house that a home builder builds on the speculation that it will sell easily for a profit. Builders design these move-in-ready homes to be as appealing to home buyers as possible.

Builder Walk-Through: Before you go to close on a new home, you and your builder will “walk through” the house to conduct a final inspection. The walk-through provides an opportunity for you to learn how your new home works and to spot items that need to be corrected or adjusted.

Short but sweet, we hope this list of some of our most commonly used (and asked about) terms will help you to better navigate the world of new homes! 

Interested in learning more about our available new homes? Explore more on our site!

*** Please note, W Marketing does not guarantee that all of the information and definitions listed above are 100% accurate. All interested parties are encouraged to independently verify the information.***

More To Explore




Embrace the California lifestyle and elevate your living experience at Portello, a redesigned community tucked away in a serene corner of Windsor, California. Our homes meet at the crossroads of contemporary design, all while creating a fresh and inviting space to call home.

The Portello community features brand new floor plans and exterior elevations. Each home comes complete with spacious indoor/outdoor living spaces, high ceilings, gourmet kitchen features, modern and high-end bathrooms, designer finishes, and options for further customization.