If your church is expanding and you’re looking to acquire a new building, you have options beyond new construction. Even though many churches dream about finding that prime piece of real estate for building a brand-new facility, there are a lot of reasons to consider searching for an existing vacant church building instead.
Overall lower cost: With lumber prices skyrocketing lately, along with other costs to build, it can often be more affordable to make your move to an existing building. This can be the case even if significant renovations are required to turn the vacant building into the perfect, unique home for your church.
Another factor that may lower your cost: If nobody is occupying the building, it may be the case that the seller wants to unload it as quickly as possible. This could help you when it comes to negotiating price and other terms.
Fewer renovations: This won’t always hold true, depending upon the age of the building and its previous ownership, but It’s very possible that the work required on a vacant church will be less than if you were to renovate another type of property, such as a commercial building. This is because a vacant church will already have many of the spaces fit for church purpose, including a sanctuary, stage and other elements of church-friendly floor plans.
Quicker occupancy: If you’re already bursting at the seams in your current location, you may not want to wait the years required for building from scratch. Moving from one church building to another will be much more turnkey, so you can be in your new church space much more quickly.
And with a vacant building, you don’t have to wait for the existing occupants to vacate. A building that is available and just waiting for new occupants means you can keep the focus on growth and not lose momentum.
Easier neighborhood transition: Many times, area residents aren’t thrilled about the prospect of a new church being built in their neighborhood. This can be out of fear that the area will become more congested with the installation of a large church. If you opt to move into an existing church building, that battle has already been won at the neighborhood level.
Zero zoning hangups: If the property (including the parking lot) you are interested in is already zoned for church use, then you will have an easier time with this transition, as well. This can save you in time and fees.
How can you find vacant churches for sale?
Although it might be tempting to start your search online, it may be more efficient to start with a real estate agent who specializes in the church market. He or she will already have a good handle on available buildings in your target neighborhood and budget, will know what conditions those buildings are in, and can steer you to some choices that will be a good fit for your church.
When working with a church real estate professional, you’ll also have the benefit of their expertise when it comes to discussing renovations ideas. A good church real estate agent will have the knowledge of church space requirements to talk you through the potential of the buildings you are considering.