Wondering if you should buy or build your next church? Scouring commercial real estate listings for a retail space or other nontraditional church building? Dreaming about turning your church’s very own patch of raw land into the perfect place for worship and community?
These are problems faced by many growing churches, and the solution lies in identifying the right resources. Who can help you sort through your options and weigh the costs and benefits of each?
Here are our recommendations for finding your church’s answer to the “buy or build?” question.
Enlist an objective, but knowledgeable, third party.
In a church community, often the go-to for real estate questions is a member of the congregation. You may have asked your board or members if there’s anyone who has experience in matters of real estate. This can be a risky approach.
For starters, even though it’s assumed this person will work with the best interests of your church in mind, the truth is that a conflict of interest exists. As well, holding a real estate license does not make just anybody an expert in the particular matters of church real estate. For these reasons, the best outcomes are usually the result of engaging a real estate agent that specializes in buying and selling churches.
Consider every cost.
Many churches debate whether they should put money into their existing, aging building, purchase something newer, or build from scratch. Sometimes, churches even receive donations of raw land or deep discounts on the purchase of land, making the build option that much more appealing.
Be sure to scrutinize the costs of each possibility. Often, developing a piece of raw land is more expensive than originally thought, particularly if there are zero utilities or infrastructure already on the property. There are quite a few fees connected with building, as well. The takeaway? Do an in-depth analysis of every potential opportunity so all involved will have a complete understanding of the costs and you can make the best financial decision.
Use data to determine location.
There’s no doubt about it: Buying or building a church is a faith-based proposition. But if you fail to position your church in the ideal location, it may limit your ability to carry out your mission. Even if your ministry is one dedicated to outreach, certain data — such as visibility from the interstate or a major road — can influence how successful your church will be.
As you evaluate religious facilities, commercial properties, land, and other potential spaces for your church, be sure to bring in an analysis of demographic data, growth prospects for the area, accessibility, parking availability, and so on. Your church real estate agent should be able to help you zero in on your perfect location based on all of these factors put together.
If you’re trying to decide between renovating, buying, or building, contact Ministry Realty. We can help you weigh all your options and show you church real estate listings that might best fit your needs and mission.