Geraldine Santiago Realtor® and Published Author

Are you a home owner who wants to dramatically increase the value of your home without having to spend more money to repair or renovate?

Home owners throughout British Columbia can seize on an emerging trend that increases the value of their property in land assembly. As the demand for mid-rise housing continues throughout greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island, it is not only where your property is located that is important, it is the associated lot size and zoning that needs to considered to capitalize on this newer trend.

British Columbia residents want more affordable units for families a lot of the construction features small layouts that appeal to couples or empty nesters. But, what happens when genY and Xers in these buildings decide to have children? Capacity is needed and developers and builders are seeking options.

Lot size and zoning are now key components of your sales strategy when pricing and marketing real estate in British Columbia. Builders and developers are continuing to buy up properties to meet the continued demand for family housing within city limits. 

Do you know your property’s zoning options? Keep up to date with your property's zoning by-laws as they may change. Zoning in your neighbourhood may allow you to have a duplex.  What's more important is your neighbourhood's Official Communicty Plan (OCP). This is a plan provided by your city planners that outlines what your neighbourhood could look like in the future. They may allow medium density on yor block instead of just a duplex.

This is where land assembly comes in. Land assembly is usually the consolidation of two ormore parcels into a single site. In this case, you and your neighbours sell together as one.  Together, you don't have to aree on a price as a whole, just as an individual seller.  However, as a property owner in a land assembly, you could potentially see a higher value for your land. 

Is your property zoned to increase density? If you and your neighbours live in an area where the official city plan allows for higher density and allows row townhomes, mid-rise condos for example, and you are not taking advantage of this, selling your home with your neighbours, to a land developer might make more sense.  You could realize more money for your lot than selling your home as an individual residential sale.  

Our next RE/MAX Seminar series "Land Assembly 101" is scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2020 from 1:00-3:00PM  with light sandwiches being provided at our Lunch and Learn series. (Please note that there are other seminars not posted on line. Please contact Geraldine Santiago at or (604) 764-6873 for an updated list of location, dates and venues. ) Due to Covid-19, however, we may need to reschedule or provide an alternate platform to conduct our seminar. Please email or text Geraldine for the latest seminar information. 

If you are a home owner looking to sell your property, seize on the opportunity to learn about how best leverage subdividing to optimize your property’s value by attending our free Land Assembly seminar.

A free eBook is available for download, written by Geraldine Santiago, titled, "Land Assembly Guide" with information on the process of land assembly, land assembly evaluation, timeframes, deposits, contracts, clauses, dealing with developers, understanding your relationship with your Realtor®,  pro formas, developer's costs, realistic expectations, real estate market, and more!  

Metro Vancouver's real estate market has an appetite for transactions but it’s difficult to find deals. Learn how to best position your property with zoning. 

If you plan on attending our seminar, space is limited, please pre-register early to secure a spot. 

Please note that this is not a seminar for other Realtors®. 

Land Assembly by Geraldine Santiago

In land assembly, land values must always be considered in terms of highest and best use.  The land value is based on its highest and best use as though vacant and available for development to its most economic use. 

Sometimes highest and best use results from assembling two or more parcels of adjacent land together under one ownership. If the combined parcels have a greater unit value than they did separately, plottage value is created--also known as land assembly. 

Highest and best use is that the property is financially feasiable, physically possible, maximally productive and legally permissable. If the highest and best use of a site is predicated on a zoning change, it must be investigated properly that the probability of a zoning change will occur. If your property has been zoned to allow a higher density, with a higher FSR or floor space ratio (sometimes known as FAR for floor area ratio), allowing a townhouse or mid-rise property, and your property is not taking advantage of this, your property is under performing. And, if you cannot take on the job of developing by yourself, you should consider selling your property- and the zoning attached to it, to a developer as part of a land assembly. Otherwise, you could shortgage yourself without knowing it!

Remember, as Mark Twain said, "Buy land as they are not making more of it." He must have been referring to builders! Land is limited in supply and in British Columbia--41% of land belongs to provincial land, 48% is crown land, leaving only an 11% to the private sector.

Canadians love their open spaces such as parks, rivers lakes, forests etc. and will never develop or rezone there. The 11% of home owners are where developers look when they purchase land to develop. Land assembly with private owners is the key in addressing sustainabiity and affordability. 

According to BC Statistics Canada, by 2035 there will be an increase of 765,000 people in the lower mainland which means a growth rate of 1.3 % per year.  Where will residents live and find housing options? Looking at the planning division, permits and applications to the city planner, there are not enough applications to keep up with the demand. 

In addition, the topography of British Columbia and metro Vancouver is not always condusive to build large skyscrapers.  The phyiscal constraints of Vancouver, with the mountains in the North and ocean make it impossible to build. According to Economist Albert Saiz of MIT, the tighter the physical constrains such as bodies of water and land gradients correlates with higher real estate prices--Vancouver is an example.  

So how do we address our affordability challenges with our geographical and topographical constraints?  The city of Vancouver, in trying to address population growth has many communities rezoned for redevelopment to address densificastion. Land assemblies often occur along major transportation corridors. (Granville street, Oak Street, Cambie corridor and now, secondary arterial roads stemming from main roads and public transportation routes.)

Land assembly is not a new occurrence but it is now more frequent in many neighbourhoods in Vancouver and spreading towards other areas like Port Coquitlam, Richmond, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Surrey, Delta, Langley and Vancouver Island. By selling your property as a land assembly where your property is listed for sale along with other neighbouring properties, owners are able to command a higher price together rather than by selling individually. 

However, land assembly is not as easy at it looks and it can be very complex. This type of project is exponentially more difficult as there are many more players involved with developers also seeking schematic and confirmation from zoning and planning staff and other public and private agencies to properly determine the site's utility. The more players, the more risks, delays and uncertainties. 

With all land assemblies, consideration needs to be given to the following items:

  1. Intention of all parties in the land assembly to sell (each with a contract, and each bound by each other);
  2. Whether all properties in the land assembly will be treated equally, or if there are special characteristics of some properties that warrant special treatment, such as a corner lot (price may differ because of the size of the property-- not all properties are the same even on the same block and corner influence may have a higher- or lower- unit value with only one frontage) are there any easements, rights of ways, laneway, estate pour autre vie or any encumbrance or drawbacks on the property that would affect sale;
  3. Evaluate and determine purchase price of each lot as land or vacant land only. (In this situation land is being sold and not the improvements of the property such as renovation, upgrades, new paint, floor plan, condition of the property, appliances, new fixtures,-none of that matters.) A careful look at your lot size and shape, topography, utilities, accessibility, site improvements, corner influence (see below) environment and the presence of excess or surplus land. 
  4. Whether any of the sellers have specific needs, such as a tenanted property (what type of lease do you have with the tenant? Is it a fixed lease or a month to month? This is very important when finding out when the deveopers can complete);
  5. The Official Community Plan for the area (This is determined by the city of Vancouver's zoning department and can be viewed on-line); 
  6. Whether the land assembly would be viable for redevelopment and therefore attractive to a potential buyer. (Here, the developer has to determine whether your land assembly is cost effective and feasible with rising cost for labour, materials, analysis and careful planning takes time and cost to the developer.) 
  7. Analysis of the appraiser to the size and shape of your lot, corner influence, excess land and surplus land, topography, utilities, site improvements, accessibility and environment.
  8. Zoning and land use information and regulations regarding the following: 
  • Height and size of buildings
  • Site coverage or floor space ratio (FSR), pertaining to density
  • Required landscaping or open space
  • Number of units allowed
  • Parking requirements
  • Sign requirements
  • Building setbacks
  • Plan lines for future street widenings and more.

Furthermore, all home owners or parties enter into binding contracts which means each party is bound by the other party.  Timelines for land assemblies are important because developers need time to develop schematics and and application to the city for rezoning in some cases.

Due to this extended timeline, there are generally a number of deposits given throughout the process. Consideration or an allowance (contingency) must be given to the amount of time a property is tied up by the contract before the subject conditions are removed, since there is no guarantee the transfer will complete until subjects are removed.

Extended timeline could also mean a significant market shift. Is there an escalation clause to reflect the market shift or an increase in the OCP amendment providing greater density to developers, as sometimes it can be years before completion, which is the time sellers obtain funds. 

For more information and to find out about our upcoming seminar in your neighbourhood, contact Geraldine Santiago at or TEXT/CALL : (604) 764-6873 CODE:  LAND for more information. 

Attend our FREE Land Assembly Seminar on Saturday, Mat 2, 2020 and Saturday September 19, 2020 from 1:00-3:00pm with industry experts.  To pre-register, go to SEMINAR Registration on this website or visit . If you cannot wait for our scheduled seminar, and need the info now, just TEXT or CALL our Land Assembly HOTLINE/HELPLINE @ (604) 764-6873.

Thinking about SELLING your home, and want to know how to maximize its full selling potential?  

Developers are snatching up properties and buying real estate in blocks to make way for high-rise and mid-rise condos and multiple dwelling homes.  But what exactly are developers looking for? In land assembly or plottage, two or more parcels of real estate are combined into one parcel and a higher value is created for the assembled parcel than for the individual parcels.

Do you own a property that is right for rezoning and development? Does your property location allow higher density?  Don't know where to look or who to ask?  Are you in the city planned rezoning? If not, then can you apply for rezoning, and how? what cost? If lad assembly is something you are thinking about when selling your property, attend our lunch and learn education seminar with industry experts on-hand as keynote speakers. 

Find out about the latest in land assembly and how to leverage your property by selling with your neighbours. Selling parcels of land to a developer with individual home owners is exponentiallly difficult.  Are price points agreed upon based on improvements on the land or size of the lot?  What are the price points to agree upon?  Realistic time lines?  Deposit holders and market shifts, escalation clauses and more. Who are my team members and what are the costs?  How many team members are involved?  

Pre-register as space is limited and get tickets through this site, OR TEXT me at (604) 764-6873, and email   You'll be glad you did! 

Go to Youtube for Geraldine Santiago and Maximizing Your Property on Breakfast TV

*Light sandwiches & refreshments provided.

Two hour seminar, keynote speakers:  Lawyer and Expert Realtor specializing in Vancouver Land Assembly.  This seminar is not intended for Realtors®.

Geraldine Santiago is a RE/MAX Realtor®  licensed in both residential and commercial real estate services, specializing in land assembly projects and land acquisition.She is a published author of three real estate reference books for Self-Counsel Press Ltd. namely the "Complete Home Buyer's Guide for Canadians", "Selling Your Home I Canada" and "Buy and Sell a Recreational Property in Canada" and her recently self-published ebook "How to Band Together with Neighbours in Land Assembly", 2018.   She is known for seminars on real estate trends in buying and selling in metro Vancouver.  

Fraser Valley Regional Library

Dear Geraldine,

Thank-you for presenting "How to Buy Your First Home--And Say Good-bye To Your Landlord!" a free program open to the public at the George Mackie Library on October 24, 2007. 

Your presentation was very well put together and informative, and I know the participants really enjoyed it and found it very useful.

We appreciate your willingness to share your time and knowledge with the library and Delta residents.

Yours sincerely,

Frances Thomson, Community Librarian.

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is in reference to Geraldine Santiago and her relationship with the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre.  Geraldine has been facilitating workshops and seminars on Real Estate Buying your First Home for our community centre over the past six years.  I have no doubt that the programs she runs have benefited both her participants as well as our community centre.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.


Kathryn Sweetapple, Recreation Prgramer II

May 4, 2007

Dear Geraldine,

I'd like to thank you very much for arranging and presenting the program on First Time Home Buying at the New Westminster Public Library on Tuesday, April 10, 2007.

Wht a great program you have developed!  There is so much to know about buying a home; it can be quite daunting for a first time home buyer.  It was an excellent idea to invite people with different expertise to speak to their field (mortgage, realty, inspection and legal). Everyone had excellent information to give in their area and the audience of 63 seemed to really appreciate the presentation.  It was also very generous of you to provide a copy of your book to everyone that wanted it.

Thanks again for taking the time to come to the library.  I have we can have your team come again.

Yours truly

Debra Nelson, Community Services Librarian, New Westminster Public Library

Below are the seminars we have offered in the past: 

  • November 7, 2017                       RE/MAX Crest Realty (Vancouver)
  • March 8, 2016                              RE/MAX Crest Realty (Vancouver)
  • March 18, 2015                            Creekside Community Centre (Vancouver)
  • November 12, 2014                     Creekside Community Centre (Vancouver)
  • November 13, 2013                     Creekside Community Centre (Vancouver)
  • October 7. 2013                           False Creek Community Centre (Vancouver)
  • October 8, 2013                           Cambie Public Library (Richmond)
  • October 21,  2013                    Ironwood Public Library (Richmond)
  • May 14, 2013                                False Creek Community Centre
  • November 25, 2012                      Burnaby Public Library
  • November 7, 2012                        Richmond Public Library (Minoru)
  • January 11, 2011                          False Creek Community Centre
  • January 26, 2011                          Dunbar Community Centre
  • October 5, 2010                            False Creek Community Centre
  • April 20, 2010                                Richmond Cambie Public Library
  • October 22, 2010                          Renfrew Community Centre
  • September 10, 2009                    Renfrew Community Centre
  • September 3, 2009                      Killarney Community Centre
  • May 28, 2009                               Richmond Public Library
  • May 14, 2009                               Riley Park Community Centre
  • April 23, 2009                              Richmond Public Library
  • March 12, 2009                           Renfrew Community Centre
  • February 5, 2009                        Mt. Pleasant Community Centre
  • October 7, 2008                          Riley Park Community Centre
  • June 5, 2008                               Roundhouse Community Centre
  • May 20, 2008                              Riley Park Community Centre
  • March 10, 2008                          UBC Community Centre
  • Marcy 4, 2008                            Riley Park Community Centre
  • February 28, 2008                    Roundhouse Community Centre
  • February 20, 2008                    Richmond Pubilc Library Cambie Branch
  • February 6, 2008                      Renfrew Community Centre
  • January 30, 2008                      Renfrew Community Centre
  • December 4, 2008                    Richmond Public Library Ironwood Branch
  • November 29, 2007                 Coquitlam Public Library 
  • November 27, 2007                 Mt. Pleasant Community Centre
  • November 21, 2007                 Roundhouse CommunityCentre
  • October 24, 2007                   South Delta Pubic Library
  • October 10, 2007                   North Delta Regional Library
  • October 3, 2007                     Port Moody Public Library
  • September 19, 2007              Riley Park Community Centre
  • June 20, 2007                        Richmond Public Library Cambie Branch
  • June 13, 2007                        Riley Park Community Centre
  • May 29, 2007                         Richmond Public Library Ironwood Branch
  • May 9, 2007                           Roundhouse Community Centre
  • April 24, 2007                        Trout Lake Community Centre
  • April 19, 2007                        Renfrew Community Centre
  • April 10, 2007                        New Westminster Public Library
  • March 7, 2007                        False Creek Community Centre
  • February 28, 2007                 East Hastings Community Centre
  • February 27, 2007                 Richmond Public Library Ironwood Branch
  • February 22, 2007                 Mt. Pleasant Community Centre
  • January 24, 2007                   Renfrew Community Centre
  • November 24, 2006               Roundhouse Community Centre
  • October 19, 2006                    Richmond Public Library Cambie Branch
  • October 12, 2006                    Mt. Pleasant Community Centre
  • October 5, 2006                      East Hastings Community Centre
  • September 27, 2006               Renfrew Community Centre
  • June 1, 2006                            EV Logistics: Exclusive Seminar
  • April 26, 2006                          Richmond Public Library Brighouse Branch
  • April 18, 2006                          Mt. Pleasant Community Centre
  • April 8, 2006                            Chapters Bookstore Bridgeport Richmond
  • April 6, 2006                            Richmond Cambie Public Library 
  • March 29, 2006                       Renfrew Community Centre
  • March 22, 2006                       Richmond Public Library Ironwood Branch
  • March 18, 2006                       Italian Cultural Centre with Ozzie Jurock
  • February 23, 2006                   Roundhouse Community Centre
  • January 26, 2006                     Mt. Pleasant Community Centre
  • January 19, 2006                     East Hastings Community Centre
  • November 3, 2005                   Mt. Pleasant Community Centre
  • October 27, 2005                     East Hastings Community Centre
  • October 25, 2005                     Trout Lake Community Centre                 
  • October 20, 2005                     Richmond Public Library Cambie Branch
  • October 13, 2005                     Richmond Public Library Ironwood Branch
  • October 5, 2005                       Roundhouse Community Centre 
  • September 28, 2005                Renfrew Community Centre
  • April 28, 2005                          East Hastings Community Centre
  • April 27, 2005                          Trout Lake Community Centre
  • April 13, 2005                          Renfrew Community Centre
  • March 10, 2005                        Roundhouse Community Centre
  • February 16, 2005                   East Hastings Community Centre
  • February 2, 2005                     Roundhouse Community Centre
  • January 26, 2005                     Renfrew Community Centre
  • January 19, 2005                     Trout Lake Community Centre
  • November 3, 2004                    Roundhouse Community Centre
  • October 13, 2004                      Renfrew Community Centre
  • September 30, 2004                 Roundhouse Community Centre 
  • August 11, 2004                       East Hastings Community Centre
  • June 16, 2004                          Roundhouse Community Centre
  • May 12, 2004                           East Hastings Community Centre 
  • April 29, 2004                           Roundhouse Community Centre
  • April 14, 2004                           Renfrew Community Centre
  • April 13, 2004                           Trout Lake Community Centre
  • March 18, 2004                         Richmond Public Library Minoru Branch
  • March 10, 2004                         Roundhouse Community Centre
  • February 3, 2004                      Renfrew Community Centre
  • January 15, 2004                      East Hastings Community Centre
  • November 16, 2003                  Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre
  • October 12, 2003                      East Hastings Community Centre
  • October 5, 2003                        Dunbar Community Centre
  • May 14, 2003                            Roundhouse Community Centre
  • May 4, 2003                              Mt. Pleasant Community Centre
  • March 5, 2003                           East Hastings Community Centre
  • February 7, 2003                      Trout Lake Community Centre
  • January 30, 2003                      Douglas Park Community Centre
  • October 10, 2002                      Killarney Park Community Centre
  • October 17, 2002                      False Creek Community Centre
  • November 21, 2002                  Roundhouse Community Centre

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