Miserable in temporary living while trying to build

farmhousegirlJuly 17, 2014

We sold our house last fall assuming our raw land would be nearly ready to build. We've not even started due to red tape and a million hoops to jump. We rented a house assuming we could be here until our build was done...Now the owner is getting foreclosed on and we have to move again into another rental..and sign another year lease. We needed to get into the school district due to special needs, or we would've stayed in the other house until the build was complete. I'm really frustrated and miserable. I guess no pain, no gain...but we've had more than our fair share. Anyone else experiencing a frustrating temporary living situation?

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We were in temporary housing while we built. Remind yourself that you are one of the lucky ones. Your other house is sold. You can build knowing you do not have a second house payment hanging over your head. That thought kept me going through some of the unhappy times.

Have you asked the institution that is foreclosing on your current house if they will continue to rent to you?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:24PM
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No, we haven't asked the bank. The lease was 12 months and it's over the end of the month..so the bank is ready to take over since the term is up. The owner/landlord has psychological problems and we cannot deal with it anymore anyway. I don't even want him to know where we are, even if he doesn't own the house anymore. A former tenant (house has been rented out for 4 years) said the landlord tried to burn it down. Time to leave. We have two kids, so it's unnerving.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:59PM
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"Remind yourself that you are one of the lucky ones. Your other house is sold. You can build knowing you do not have a second house payment hanging over your head."

Exactly. It took a year to sell our house but we got it sold and have now been living in a townhouse for over a year now. I had hoped we would be in our new home by now, but we have had tons of challenges including our architect dying and our original builder backing out. We are on builder #3 and have been happy thus far, but haven't broken ground yet.

Our townhouse hasn't been bad. It's just our neighbor who we share a wall with rescued a dog several months ago and it barks all the time. Especially at night. Despite the frustrations we have had, I have been pretty content living in my townhouse because I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It just seems like the tunnel has been so darn long!!

I wish you the best and wanted to let you know, that you aren't alone.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:38AM
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@ farmhousegirl ... I would also suggest finding out which bank is foreclosing on your and requesting additional time in the house. They will be wanting some kind of timetable for when you will be moving, as well as payment, at a minimum.

@ aimless07 for the barking noise ...

I would suggest some sound dampening for you. :)

It's fairly simple and NOT permanent! You just need to take some old blankets and put them up against the wall and hold them there with 2" rigid foam board insulation. The insulation boards are held in place with hardboard that has been glued in place (on the same side as the blankets).

The blankets will absorb the sound coming through the wall, while the foam boards will look more visually appealing than random blankets pinned up on the wall. You could also paint over the foam boards or apply a wallpaper. If you need to attach the blankets to something, punch holes near the top of the foam boards and zip-tie the blankets there.

Best part is, you can take the setup with you when you leave and want to semi-soundproof one of your kid's rooms ... say, the one that suddenly has an interest in heavy metal music at LOUD volume? :)

This post was edited by Skie_M on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 0:48

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:46AM
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Aimless07, for a really easy fix to the noise problem, you might consider purchasing a white noise machine (see link). When DH and I were building, we lived in a rented townhouse amongst a bunch of college students. When we went to bed each night, we turned on the white noise machine and slept like babies!

Before purchasing the machine, I did a little research. Most folks found that machines that actually create the white noise by moving air through baffles are superior to machines that electronically create noise.

FHG, sorry that your situation has the added annoyance of an unpleasant landlord. Moving is no fun. It will help if you put as much stuff as possible into storage - already packed for the eventual move to the new house. Take only the bare necessities to the new rental house. Be strict with yourself about what you take and what you store. Keep your eye on the prize!

Here is a link that might be useful: Marpac White Noise Machine

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 7:50AM
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I can only commiserate, but yes, I too am stretching the limits of my patience in a rental while slow builder (who I happen to be married to) completes our new house.

We moved into this rental house with one child turning 1. I now have three children and I told him if we're not in my Christmas of this year he can come visit me in a mental institution. And even if he meets that deadline (ha!) I will still have to pack the whole house with 3 kids under 4 years old! Hahahahaha!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:35PM
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Been there. Just keep reminding yourself that it is only temporary. You could be stuck there and have nothing to look forward to!

I would talk to the bank. It may buy you a bit more time if only just to find a new place. Banks are really only concerned with getting a monthly payment so maybe you could arrange to stay for a while.

I would not let a lease stop me from moving if my house were ready. Move when you are ready and finish paying the rent-in monthlies or one lump sum. You are not obligated by time in a lease just money.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:49PM
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We did the same thing... sold our home before we built. It was the only way my husband would build it. It took us three tries (6 months each over three years) to sell our home. Finally sold it this Jan. We rented our home back through mid-April and I moved down closer to the build to find a job and to oversee it. My husband is still working where we were so he won't be moving down here until later this Fall. The builder has only just now started on our home. But I managed to get a 9 month lease (plus three individual months to be decided on a montly basis if needed). I managed to snag this rental by offering to pay the entire lease in full. I am in a three bedroom home with three animals. Luckily, we only had to pay a $250 non-refundable deductible for the animals. One place I checked out wanted to raise my rent monthly plus add $250/per pet! His home wasn't worth it! Anyway, this home is not the ritz, but it is cozy and in a safe fairly quiet neighborhood. The walls are not bad, but the rugs are in pretty sorry shape even after I shampooed twice. Since I have moved here I have had to deal with lots of plumbing and a number of overdue maintenance issues but so far the company that handles the owner's rental has been taking care of it whenever I call them. I am sure they are sick and tired of me calling, though. I just had a flood this am bc somehow the washing machine (included in the rental) backed up and flooded the entire laundry area and the adjoining rooms and hall rug. This house was empty for a long time and it has needed a lot of maintenance. I am pretty content here so far, but we will not be very content if our builder takes longer to build our home than when our lease ends in mid-April of next year. Once my husband moves down here it will be a lot more crowded since there isn't a whole lot of room in here.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:06PM
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We are in a rental in a new home in a new subdivision. 2800 square feet so I am not miserable, but... certain rooms don't function for us and we have to work around it. For example, if I want to ride with my husband in his car, he has to pull out of the garage for me to get in, the garage is so narrow. There is no natural light in there either so even in the day we have to fumble for switches.

Kitchen has an exhaust fan that I have no idea why they even put it up. It doesn't even pull steam, so if I even cook bacon on low, there is a good chance the smoke alarms will go off. I have a gigantic granite island that looks like a UFO just set down in the living room, and which provides very little storage so most of my cooking things are in a storage unit.

We have power lines strung up behind the house, which is a shame because there is a nice covered patio here. The carpet was new when we moved in but it is a low grade shag, which definitely should be pulled up. We have been very easy on it having no pets, and mostly 2 clean people here, but it has no body or bounce back to it at all.

We rented a large house because our daughter stayed with us while her husband was in Afghanistan, and she had our first grandaughter while he was over there. We needed a nursery, a room for her and a guest room for his family to visit. Never dreamed we would be here for almost 2 years now.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 5:37PM
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I've essentially been camping for the last 3 years while I build our place. I built the barn first, so I could move out of the camper into something a bit more substantial. The barn is OK, but not much in the way of heat or A/C. The plot thickened considerably last October when my wife landed a job here, and moved from FL. I had to quickly get the FL house ready to sell, and sell it did- in 6 weeks!

Having my wife here is wonderful, but she does have slightly higher standards, so I had to fancy things up a bit. We spent part of the winter (one of the coldest on record) in the basement of the new house because it's easier to keep warm at 50 degrees than at 15. Meanwhile, the house is coming along, and we hope to have a CO late this fall. It won't be completely finished, but it will be livable.

All of our earthly possessions are in the barn, but still in boxes, so we get by with rather primitive kitchen facilities and equipment.

We knew all of this going in, so it's more of an adventure than a hassle. Building our own house with our own hands has long been Number One on my bucket list, so we're willing to do what we have to. In our 60's, we call this our 'Last Great Adventure'. Life will be boring when we finally move in!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 6:12PM
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another temporary housing story of woe over here. We sold our house last July 1, and moved to a rental. We chose THIS rental because we were able to get a 6-month lease till 12/31, and then go month-to-month after that, with 60 days notice. Perfect!

As the end of October approached, we knew there was no way we'd be out on 12/31. Said "lets add a couple of months on, through the end of Feb." No problem. At the end of December we realized we were still slow going -- told them we'd need to stay at least till end of May. Okay, no problem. Mind you, we pay for two or three months in full before the beginning of each month. We are also two clean adults with no children in a town with a LOT of college students. I have no shame in proclaiming that we are excellent tenants.

So as it comes up on 60 days till the end of our extension, I mention that our build was moving more slowly than we had anticipated, and we would need to add on three more months. No dice. At this point (it was mid-March) they informed us we would need to sign a FOURTEEN MONTH lease through May 31, 2015 or vacate the property.

Ummmmm, this is exactly WHY we moved here, so we'd have this flexibility. We planned to give a minimum 60 days notice before vacating. I was pissed. Also, because of my work as a voiceover artist (I record from home), I need to live in a location that's really pretty quiet. No apartment communities, no houses that back up to streets where trucks and cars whiz by....

So we decided to suck it up and sign a lease through NEXT MAY. We expect to be out this Fall. At least if we run into any further delays, we have plenty of cushion time-wise.

que sera sera...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 6:54PM
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Oh man YES. I had to repeatedly remind myself that we CHOSE to sell first. I still think it was the best way to go but it stunk. No 2 ways about it.

It was 10 months in an old home on a very loud and busy street with no dishwasher, no air and one bathroom and no garage during the worst winter in over 30 years. The well was so bad that you could not shower, wash dishes and do laundry at one time. In fact you could only do 1 of those things and we had 2 boys in sports! It was at month 2 when I turned the faucet on to fill a pan with water and brown came out I had it! So they did put a new well in finally but it was still not pleasant. Did I mention those little lady bug things were everywhere? I would fill the sink to wash dishes and they would get in the water while I was washing. Totally CREEPED OUT!
Kitchen had no vent fan and no light above the stove-black painted cabinets and red walls. I did set the smoke detectors off more than once and had to put up one of those puck lights just to see what I was cooking!

I told my husband it was an assault on all of your senses, depressing! It was dark, loud, damp, cold and smelled old!

We made good use of the sound machine mentioned above. We already owned it because dh worked midnights for a while. I didn't sleep for about a month off and on-Tylenol PM was my friend. Semi's would shake the house. You could not even hear the tv when traffic went by, the living room was the lightest (most windows), loudest and coldest room.

The day we received occupancy I walked out with the kids and the coffee pot, literally. We slept at the new house for a couple nights and I gathered myself up to go back and actually start moving boxes and I could not believe the marked difference in feeling when I walked in to that dark kitchen. It truly was like a cave. Our new house has so many windows-love the light.

There were not many or any other options where we lived to keep the kids near school and it was totally no lease, month to month. That I know was worth a lot but it was quite miserable indeed.

We made it though and you will too. Battle scars I tell ya! Hang in there.

This post was edited by Autumn.4 on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 19:40

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 7:29PM
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farmhousegirl: I hear ya! That red tape can be so discouraging. We bought our land "ready to build" with assurances from the county. We are nearly a year out now with dozens of hurdles in front of us. We had to rush through the building plan and design phase to meet a deadline and then were at a dead stop because of the red tape. Biologists reports (3 times over with each one taking over 6 weeks and numerous site visits), arborists reports (more updates for the same old trees), more agency review, really bad communication from our civil engineer that has cost us lots of $$... so many details to iron out I can't remember from week to week. BUT, then I visit the land again and I remember... what a treasure this will be for our kids and hopefully grandkids. And I know it will be worth it.

But renting can be awful. Some people manage change with so much grace... I am not one of those people! We are in house 4 in 2 years and consider ourselves lucky in terms of location... but it is not a home. So I get where you are at. Except for the fire threat... that would freak me out big time.

Hoping you find a great place to move to!

I'm also kind of hoping someone will write a book about these ridiculous building experiences that we are having while trying to develop our own land. ;) I get some zoning restrictions, but it has gotten so far out of hand. The process (around here at least) has moved from an environmental/societal standard of care, to outright bribery. No one in this town has any problems if they throw millions of dollars at the county. It's just the regular folks that are stuck with the red tape plus the already high fees. I hope you can avoid the federal permit... we just barely missed that one.

Crazy, but worth it. I only hope my children agree with me a few years out! :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:44PM
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We were lucky enough to sell our place without putting it on the market. I wasn't concerned about selling it, but we wanted to get into the community. We rented a month to month house that has much its share of issues! Been here for 9 months. We are taking our time with our floorplan as we will never move from our spot. Since we pretty much haven't started anything, we are 2-3 years out from breaking ground. We just bought a fixer upper and have been hauling the last month + to get it ready to move in. Mostly all DIY. It will be much nicer for a fee years, and we can sell or rent it when we are done building. But even buying this place, I just want to be on my land...Honestly I would prefer a trailer on our land, but DH would move to an apartment, so I keep painting all the surfaces of this house hoping to be moved in before school starts...in a few short weeks.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:57PM
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@farmhousegirl - I've just been through a rough temporary living experience while we built. We decided to take up a family member's offer to stay with them during the build instead of sign a lease and ended up with 1 adult + 3 kids sharing 1 bedroom (including 1 closet!) and 1 bathroom. Very challenging, but I realize it could have been worse - and we never worried about our own safety.

I'm only posting because after leaving our temp living situation, I realized that it was actually pretty hard on our family even though our situation differed from yours...I realize now that "home" really is who you are with more than where you live, but I didn't realize that fully at the time. Hopefully you are smarter than I am and can remember that now when things are tough.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 2:59AM
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