Vancouver Land Assembly 101 Seminar Geraldine Santiago

Land Assembly Seminar : What is land assembly and how does it happen? How does my property qualify?

Register Here: Land Assembly Seminar

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. 


One of the criteria for the highest and best use is that the use must be legally permissible. 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.


As Mark Twain said, "Buy land as they are not making more of it."  Accoring 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.  


The physical constraints of Vancouver, with the mountains in the North and ocean make it impossible to build.  According to Economist Albert Said 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.  


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, adjacent arteries stemming from public transportation routes.)


Land assembly is not a new occurrence but it is now more frequent in Vancouver and spreading towards other areas like Port Coquitlam, Richmond, Abbotsford and Surrey 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, it 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. Formula to 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 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 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, September 8th, 2018 with industry experts.  To pre-register, go to SEMINAR Registration on this website or visit





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




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.  

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