Information for Building Committee or Search team

It is always a challenge when a church decides to undertake the task of finding a new property to lease or to buy and that church needs to be prepared for some of the realities of that search. In this blog post I am hopefully going to offer some insight and some numbered helps to everybody out there looking for church property.

1. Be realistic about your timeline–If your search team just formed and you are at the beginning of your search now is not the time to be looking at potential properties. It is likely that the properties that you are currently looking at today will not be available when you are ready to proceed with obtaining property.

  • The average time frame from initial search to occupancy of a property is 90 days for a lease and up to 180 days for a purchase.

2. Have the necessary authorization to conduct your search–If you are the governing board make sure you have congregational approval before searching for property. If you are a building committee, make sure that you have the governing boards or Pastor’s authorization (in writing preferred) before proceeding with search.

3. Figure out a realistic budget and obtain any necessary funding letters–One good common sense guide is that 40% of your churches annual budget should go for staff salaries and no more than 25-35% toward the building upkeep and debt service. Additionally, just like in a home purchase the bank or ecclesiological body who will providing the monies for the purchase should give you a funding letter or pre-approval letter so that you will know how much your budget is for the purchase.

  • For the lease of a property you will not need funding letters but you should have enough cash on hand to cover first months rent and security deposit (usually also equivalent to one months rent) in guaranteed funds to cover the initial leasing expense. also, it is wise to budget money for moving expenses and money for “sprucing up” whatever space you lease.

4. Be open minded about your search criteria–A lot of folks want to locate their church in a specific area and have very specific requirements about what they want in their new church home. This is great because it means that a lot of thought has been put into what  congregation needs. However, if what you are looking for is a more non traditional church location you need to be prepared to make compromises. It is helpful to have a list of “must haves” and “would be nice”

5. Be ready to strike while the iron is hot–This type of decision can make or break a congregation, don’t be afraid to take the time necessary to find the right place or to get your congregation on board. With that being said though when you find the right place at the right price you need to be prepared to act. If you have done your work well as a search team the congregation will be ready for your findings and eager to vote.

If you need any further tips please feel free to contact me! I am willing to meet with your board or search team.

Justin Miller

517-321-2800 x 136


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RE/MAX Commercial Group 517-321-2800 300 W Lake Lansing Rd East Lansing MI 48823 Commercial Real Estate Lansing Area Businesses For Sale