Yes, they are the same.
"Utilize" is a word people use because it sounds bureaucratic and important. They are "wordy", rather than simple and direct.
Examples of these "bureaucratic words" (aka jargon) and phrases include:
utilize, [use "use"]
be able to [omit]
in accordance with [by, per, following]
implement [start, use, carry out]
multiple [many, various]
in the amount of [for]
Lawyers are especially bad at writing unclearly. The American Bar Association has endorsed the Plain Language movement: https://www.plainlanguage.gov/resources/content-types/legal-profession/
These have been called "inflated words".
However, good English writers prefer simpler words when they mean the same thing, as these two do.
See this university English writing center on clear, concise, direct writing. https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CCS_inflated.html -- Avoid Inflated Words https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CCS/ClearConciseSentences.html
The "Federal PLain Writing Guidelines" are the attempt by the government to improve the writing of pamphlets and other public information.
The word "utilize" is one of the "Dirty Dozen" words to avoid.
In summation, it is incumbent upon us to implement and commence to be able to ulilize simple language, in the event that we wish to promulgate clear writing and avoid obtuse, obfuscatory, and befuddling phrases and sentences.
I feel tempted to add twenty words somewhere, that did nothing more than prolong the agony. Not many people seem to be on your wavelength, but i liked your post. I live in Spain and i can tell you they love their bureaucracy, they actually still use rubber stamps here. It is painful, but i am understanding why the Spanish language seems to be rather more complicated and convoluted than it needs to be, but hey viva la diferance ... Which might not actually be Spanish :)
Perhaps you were marked wrong for the use of 'home' instead of 'house'. I believe they are two distinct things.
home = hogar (abstract concept - as in 'this place feels like home')
house = casa (actual physical object - as in 'there is a giant hole in the roof of my house')
Of course, in English we often use the two interchangeably.