East Bay Build

Posted by Key2See Team on January 16, 2020

East Bay Build

Episode #1:  Packing up perfection to find HOME;


Life isn’t busy enough…. Let’s sell our 2 year old house move to a 620 square foot tiny home, with our two kids, dog and build AGAIN.


I jokingly say this…. But truly the life decision made by Zach and I in September 2018. 


We are a full blown, all in, housing industry family who can’t help but enter into this crazy process time and time again.  But please keep in mind this process is NOT for the faint of heart.  I am not here to encourage building on your own!  I STRONGLY encourage finding a professional that is a good fit for your style and personality.  Today is January 11, 2020 and we are 1 year into the development of our 3rd build (6th project) and we have not yet broken ground. 


The process is strenuous and time consuming so I would like to invite you to join in our ride of…










And all the fun, messy, strategic steps along the way.


My name is Jenn (@gigharborjenn) I am a 40 year old REALTOR in Gig Harbor, WA.  My partner in all things is my husband Zach.  Zach can build anything.  Finish carpenter by trade but he is like a real life MacGyver (90’s reference).  We have 2 kids, Dane (7) & Oliva (10) & our pup Cruzer Bugsy (2). We all have very different personalities but one thing we collectively appreciate is travelling and through that have learned to share some pretty small spaces (turning out to be very helpful this year in the tiny house).



January 4th 2019 we SOLD our house (of which we built & designed to fit our perfect lifestyle in 2016 and lived in for 2 ½ years).  We took a portion of the sales proceeds and purchased 2, 3 acre lots to start the process all over again.  Why move after 2 years and a custom designed home?  This time, we were buying strictly for LOCATION.  Rule #1 in Real Estate LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  We also had a dream of investing in multiple lots so Zach’s mom and dad could build next door (yep you heard it my in-laws are moving in next door, are you gathering our levels of insanity?). 


Having been through this 3 times now we did our typical due diligence (feasibility study) before we closed on the land… what we didn’t realize was the county regs adjusted, Jan 1, 2019.  With irresponsible building bliss we closed, smiled and entered into our next adventure. The new county regs however did send us on our way to a 12-month development process.  The driveway drainage plan that the previous owner had designed was no longer suitable, so we were back at square one. 


Sitting frustrated & back at square 1 we decided to add to the stress & enhance both properties with a Boundary Line Adjustment (BLA) making the lots two nice big squares instead of two long narrow rectangles.  Allowing for more privacy, more width for each of the homes & capabilities for wide open spaces for the kids to run free in their backyard.


Things we have learned: 


BLA’s take 6 months (used to take 2 weeks to a month) & $5500


Drainage/Driveway Designs (when near the Puget Sound or on a slope) take 6-8 months and MUST be done by an engineer $7500


What’s Next:



We are now entering into the submittal process and I couldn’t be more thrilled to enter this stage (even if it is 1 year later)


Now that both of the above (BLA & Drainage Design) have been completed they have been submitted to the county and it (Pierce County) is a 30-90 day review period.


During this Year of waiting we did manage to complete all of our other pre building steps:  Septic Design (onsite sewer), Water (private well) & last but certainly NOT least….. drafting, redrafting and drafting some more to our finalized, engineered house plans. 


Welcome to our story! It is our hope to keep you intrigued and also answer questions you might have through-out this process… or maybe just maybe make you feel not so crazy as you go through this process yourself.  feel free to ask us anything!


  • Check back in each Wednesday as we dive into our House building adventure!  


 Jenn Hawkins Hansen @gigharborjenn or key2see.com/east-bay-build

Zach Hansen www.zachhansen.com/blog  East Bay Build