Churches offer a unique use of real estate. These days, many churches start up as small congregations and operate out of temporary space. They may rent out a school, a meeting hall or even a vacant storefront. At some point, many new congregations grow large enough that they need to grow. When that happens, they can look for church buildings for sale or look at another option.
When a congregation grows and needs a larger space, it may be difficult to find an actual church building. There was a period during and just after the recession when churches were being foreclosed on just like homes and businesses, so there were more church buildings for sale. However, since the economy has improved, the rate of church foreclosures has dropped, leaving fewer buildings available.
One way you may be able to find a church for sale is to find a real estate agent that specializes in finding such property. That is probably an option that is available in larger cities, but it’s not something you are likely to find in smaller cities. Google searches, social media and networking are other ways you can try to find out if there is a church building for sale that would work for your congregation.
Another option for a growing church is church construction, but this can be a troublesome process. For one thing, you have to find land that is affordable and has the right zoning or at least has the ability to be rezoned. For small congregations, the financial requirements of construction also can be onerous. Many lenders would shy away from loaning to a small congregation with no assets. An alternative can be to get a loan or financial help from a congregant if you have someone who has the resources to do so. Another option is to try to set up a building fund and generate enough money to be able to put down a large down payment to afford a loan.
Whether you find church buildings for sale or you look into building a new church building, you have to be sure it is absolutely necessary. Though having your own space can be beneficial, especially for a growing congregation, it also is a major financial responsibility that can strain your resources and take money away from other parts of your mission.