Need advice on first development project

3 Replies


Short time reader and first time poster.

I’ve been listening to quite a few of the BP’s podcasts and reading the articles. One piece of advice that always comes up is to reach out to the community and ask for help.

Well I am working on my first real estate project and I need advice : )


Location: Puyallup, WA 98372

The lot is .79 acres, has high density zoning of RM-20 (20 units per acre).

The original idea was to short-plat, develop the land, construct individual units and then sell immediately but the zoning in this area prohibits the lot from being short-platted. Being that as it is, the idea now is to construct rental units and potentially sell to an investor or hold and utilize for cash flow and leverage later on.

Please comment with any advice or corrections you feel need to be addressed based on above information but my main question right now is how to determine the optimum building to develop. What are your strategies in deciding which structure to build based on local preferences, cost to build, and potential cash flow received? I am considering townhomes, 4-plex and 6-plex apartments, etc.

Please ask if you need any clarification.

Thank you,


Search or have a realtor search for the highest price per square foot units that have sold in your market recently (recently can be more or less time depending on the volume in your market).  This should give you an idea what types of buildings are the most desirable.  Remember that PPSF obviously has diminishing returns the larger the unit and vice versa, so it's not a perfect tool, but it should be a good guide for your purposes.

I would suggest reaching out to a local Architect who is familiar with the zoning and is a frequent visitor of the zoning/planning board meetings. An Architect with this local experience and skill set would easily be able to help you decide what the highest and best use for that particular property is at that size and zoning district.

Hey John,

I'm an architect that owns a firm that specializes in owners rep services as well as architecture. As such, feasibility packages are in our normal scope. If you send me some more info I could take a look at the site and give you my initial impression.