Where to Live While Building a House

Explore ideal locations for temporary housing during your house construction journey. Discover more tips for comfort and convenience in this guide.

Real Estate
October 24, 2023
Where to Live While Building a House

House hunting can, at times, feel like solving a puzzle. You scan your pile of pieces, landing on one that looks like it’ll be the perfect fit. But it turns out its corner is just a hair too sharp, or maybe it has a bulb-y thing where it should be flat. 

Similarly, on your search for the perfect home, you may come across hundreds of properties that feel like they’re the piece you’ve been missing –– only to discover upon closer examination that would otherwise be your dream home is missing a bathroom, has a kitchen that’s lacking, or simply isn’t suited to your lifestyle. Those looking to solve this property puzzle might find that building is the best way to go. 

But while building a home can be the only way to check each of your house-hunt boxes, this process becomes a new type of puzzle altogether. For one, you’ll need a place to stay while the pieces of your dream home come together. Read on as we explore your best options for where to live while building a house, and some strategies to smooth the transition. 

Benefits of Interim Housing 

Before we offer tips for finding the best places to live while building a house, let’s analyze why strategic interim housing can be the linchpin of the home-building process. As you’re likely well aware, building a new home is a costly endeavor, posing the question: “How much does it cost to build a house?”. In 2023, the average cost to build a new home from the ground up is just a hair under $300,000 –– still below the average home price of $437,000, but by no means a bargain.1 Learning how to finance building a house and making strategic housing choices throughout your home-building journey can limit your financial exposure, keeping stressors (or at least the ones you can control) at bay. Here are a few key benefits of strategic housing:

Enhanced Oversight

Many home builders will elect to live close –– but not too close –– to their build site. This strategy has lifestyle benefits, ensuring you’re not uprooting your life to move into your dream home, but it can also help keep anxieties at bay during the construction process. For hands-on homebuilders, living nearby makes it easier to oversee the home construction and address any issues promptly, bolstering productivity and keeping costs low. For everyone else, living nearby lets you monitor progress while you count the minutes until move-in day. 

Reduced Stress

Building a home can be incredibly fulfilling and is likely the only way to check every single box on your list of housing must-haves. With that said, this process is not known for being stress-free. Ensuring you have a comfortable, convenient, and consistent place to stay throughout the construction process will reduce stress and allow you to focus on the building process. 

Cost Control

Given the financial exposure of building a house, many builders will elect to rent while their dream home comes together. For renters between homes, this decision frees up the home equity needed to finance a home build. And for renters building their first-ever home, this strategy allows you to save for expenses that arise throughout the construction process. To maximize your cost savings, keep in mind that your rental is a temporary solution –– meaning it doesn’t need to be lavish, but rather to provide shelter until your custom home is move-in ready. 

Added Flexibility

The home-building process is fairly straightforward. Your builder gives you a price and a construction date, and you wait patiently for your dream home to be completed. But unexpected hiccups can slow the process, pushing back your move-in date and –– depending on your choice of temporary housing –– potentially leaving you out in the cold. Should you choose to rent while your home is being built, you may be able to opt for a lease that allows you to extend (or shorten) your stay, introducing some much-needed flexibility. 

A More Seamless Transition

How many times have you moved homes in your adult life? If the answer is more than once, there’s a good chance you’ve told yourself you would learn from the arduous process, navigating it deftly next time –– yet when a future move comes around, it’s every bit as painful. By being strategic with your choice of temporary housing, you can ensure a seamless transition between your old home and your new one, ironing out all the details of the move over several months instead of a frenzied week-and-a-half. 

Selecting the best place to live while building your home is a crucial piece of the property puzzle –– and thinking strategically about your chosen temporary housing options will dramatically impact your overall experience. 

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Choosing the Right Location

If, at this point, you’re thinking that renting is the way to go while your new house is being built, you may also think that any old place will do the trick. It’s temporary after all, shouldn’t you just go with the most economical option available? Well, not exactly. Sure, you might settle for a smaller footprint in a rental than what you might need long term, but some factors are worth considering: location, in particular. When looking for the best places to live while building a house, filter your choices using these criteria. 

Proximity to Work, School, and Amenities 

For many home builders, the process requires selling an existing property, moving into a rental, and, when construction is complete, moving into the new home. While there will be variations on the above, the point is that the process requires a great deal of change –– and the more consistency you can create for yourself and your family, the better off you’ll be. 

Therefore, when choosing the location of your rental, you should do your best to avoid doubling the length of your commute or affecting the school zoning of your children. In other words: your chosen location should not make you dread every day you’re still not settled in your new home. 

Neighborhood and Community

Given the costs associated with the home-building process, you may be tempted to settle for the best deal rather than finding the rental location that’s right for you. We urge you, however, to consider the character of your chosen neighborhood when exploring temporary dwellings. Is it family-friendly, quiet, safe, or lively? Is there a sense of belonging? While you won’t be planting deep roots in this neighborhood, you’ll certainly be there long enough for these details to matter. 

Consistency with Your Lifestyle

Moving is a big change. Moving from a quiet suburban neighborhood to a bustling downtown apartment –– even temporarily –– might be a legitimate lifestyle disruption. As you search for the best place to live while building a house, take your lifestyle into account to ensure you won’t feel like a fish out of water waiting for construction to wrap up. 

If we continue thinking about a home like a puzzle, choosing the right location is like laying down the corner pieces –– it sets the framework for every strategic move that follows.

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Rental Options for the Construction Period

When it comes to renting a place during the construction process, your options aren’t limited to the apartments you see on Zillow. Here are some options available to you when bridging the gap between your old home and your new dream home. 


While it’s not your only option, renting an apartment can be a convenient and affordable option for homebuilders. It offers a stable living situation with the added benefit of flexibility, potentially allowing you to adjust your lease –– or rent month-to-month –– and move into your home as soon as it’s complete. 

Temporary Housing

If you’re willing to widen your search to platforms like Facebook or even old-school community bulletins, you may be able to find fully furnished temporary housing during the construction process. Again, the space might not be perfect (and the furniture might not quite be your style) but as far as short-term solutions go, this can be a great option. 

Vacation Rentals

How could you turn down a months-long vacation? Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to call a vacation rental home while your home is being built. If you’re recoiling at the thought of tropical patterns and beach-themed decor, you might be surprised to find that vacation rentals can provide a comfortable, even homey atmosphere during the construction period.

Extended-Stay Hotels

As the name would suggest, extended-stay hotels are hotels that allow guests to stay for months on end. These hotels are designed for individuals in a transition period, and aim to create a comfortable environment while you prepare for your next step. The benefits of an extended-stay hotel mirror those of a traditional hotel –– including turn-down service and on-site amenities –– but extended-stay hotels are also some of the more costly temporary housing options on this list. 

Staying with Family or Friends

If you’ve exhausted your potential rental resources and have yet to find the right fit, you may want to consider temporarily staying with friends or loved ones. This may not be right for every individual or family, but those with a solid support system may find that living with family can be a great way to strengthen bonds while saving money. 

Consider a Sale-Leaseback

You can rent an apartment, a vacation property, or a hotel room –– or you can rent your own home. With Truehold’s sale-leaseback, you can sell your home in exchange for your equity, and stay put as a renter while you wait for construction on your new home to conclude. With this approach, you can access equity to build your dream home, trade multiple moves for a single one, and forego the uncertainty of renting for the security of a familiar setting.

Rather than adjusting your lifestyle, learning a new neighborhood, and adjusting to a new commute, keep living the life you’ve built –– and move out as soon as your new build is ready. With a sale-leaseback, you avoid additional stressors such as: 

  • Costs of temporary housing
  • Multiple moves 
  • Storage costs
  • Kids adjusting to new homes

Building the house of your dreams is an exciting undertaking, but it’s not without its stressors. Knowing you have options during this process can help ease your anxiety –– allowing you to focus on writing your next chapter. Discover more on how to budget for a house build and explore the benefits of Truehold’s sale-leaseback. 


1. Rocket Mortgage. How Much Does It Cost to Build a House? https://www.rocketmortgage.com/learn/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-a-house 

Nicolas Cepeda headshot
Written by
Nicolas Cepeda
Financial Analyst at Truehold - A Specialist in Real Estate Finance
Nicolas Cepeda specializes in financial analysis and strategic portfolio management, with a keen focus on innovative residential real estate solutions. He leverages this expertise to cover pertinent topics in the real estate and financial sectors.
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Truehold's blog is committed to delivering timely and pertinent insights in real estate and finance, purely for educational and informational purposes. Crafted by experts, our content is thoroughly reviewed to guarantee its accuracy and dependability. Although designed to enlighten and engage, our articles are not intended as financial advice and should not be the sole basis for financial decisions. Our stringent editorial practices ensure the integrity of our content, empowering our readers with valuable knowledge.

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