Getting Used to the Homebuilding Vocabulary

Building a home is a technical process, so naturally, there are some specialized terms that go along with the process. Even though there may be a learning curve to familiarizing yourself with the homebuilder world, we’re not trying to keep you in the dark – we’re just in the habit of using our insider lingo.

Whether you’re just getting started exploring homes or need a recap, here are some of the common terms you’ll hear spouted in the new home industry.

Building New

While buying any home would be new-to-you, building a brand-new home and going through the process with a builder – selecting a lot, approving a draft and personalizing your interior – is a little more specific. You may hear this process commonly referred to as “building new.”


New homebuilders often build showhomes to display their capabilities and let people experience their home models in the flesh. They may even build a row of homes on select lots to kick off their presence in a new neighborhood.

This can lead to what is referred to as “inventory,” “quick possession” or “move-in-ready” homes – which are brand-new homes built to the homebuilder’s specifications and which are available for purchase. Browse Kensington’s now-selling quick-possession homes.


In contrast to working with a new homebuilder on a build or buying move-in-ready from a new homebuilder, a resale home is one that is being sold by a previous owner.

Premium Homebuilder

Custom homebuilding normally means you’re designing a floorplan from scratch with the help of an architect. At Kensington, we are a premium homebuilder, with 44 home modelsmany design selections, and neighbourhoods to choose from, but we typically don’t customize the floorplan or structure.


A walkthrough can happen at multiple stages of a new home build. At Kensington, we have three. After we frame your home, you’ll be invited to the first guided tour or “pre-drywall walkthrough” to see the progress and get a feel for the layout.

When the home’s all ready, you’ll do another walkthrough of the completed home with our possession coordinator, called the possession orientation. Finally, there’s the “mechanical orientation” – the walkthrough that happens after you’ve been living in your new home for one to three months.


It’s a big word for what is a big day! Once your home is ready for you, and on a date pre-negotiated between you and the builder, you will effectively take over ownership of the home.

We call this your possession date. At this point, you’ll be handed the keys and you’ll be able to start personalizing the home with all of your furniture.


Your warranty coverage is a form of guarantee from the builder on the quality of their workmanship and materials. Kensington has an industry-leading warranty, which covers defects in materials, labor, and design for the first year after your possession date. It also includes a warranty of up to 10 years on the home’s structure.

Home Model

Sometimes referred to as a floorplan, this is the design of the home. It outlines the dimensions of each room and the placement of appliances, for example. At Kensington, we have 44 different home models to choose from.


An elevation is the exterior look of your home, including the roof height and angles, and exterior façade. Sometimes a home model may offer two or three elevations you can choose from.


Finishes or selections are the colour, style and texture of the chosen materials for a home. Exterior selections could consist of stucco or siding colours. Inside, the appliances, wall colours, carpet style and backsplash would all be examples of design decisions (or finishes).


Every builder has a pre-determined set of finishes that are included with your home’s purchase price. You may still have options to choose from within these standards, or you can choose an upgrade, which has an extra cost associated with it.

Kensington is known for including a higher caliber of standards with your home purchase.


Upgrades are any finishes or design choices that have an extra dollar value associated with them. For example, Kensington offers flooring upgrades, which are not included in the home purchase price and have an additional cost.


A showhome is a home built for displaying the builder’s capabilities to the public and for hosting open houses. Kensington has a showhome in every new neighbourhood we build in, open six days a week (excluding holidays).

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