How To Buy A Church Building - Step By Step

Real Estate Agent with Empire Network Realty

How To Buy A Church Building


At one point or another all if not most church organizations plan to own their own church building one day & call that place home. It’s evident that all successful ministries across the world own real estate around their city & in their community. This idea of owning land is not only a biblical principle found countless times in the scriptures but it’s also one of the best ways for a ministry to grow, help those in need, & brand itself in the city it has been called to by having what we call brand awareness. Whether you’re starting a ministry or have been in ministry for countless amounts of years and you feel led to finally take the next step in the Mission & Vision of expansion then this guide is for you & your team members in your congregation! The following steps are made simple for any church group to understand, follow & learn of the process to what it takes to BUY a new or existing church property.


Hire A Professional:

Buying a church facility is completely different from buying any other form of real estate especially residential. While most of us know of a real estate agent or even a member of the church who occasionally sells homes or leases space in a shopping center this is not the way to go when seeking EXPERT advice & EXECUTION on how & where to buy church real estate. We are known NATIONWIDE as the Church Real Estate Specialists & we know the “Church World Market” inside & out. Keep in mind that not all church properties are publicized in the MLS unknowingly you could be missing out on a great deal by not contacting a Church Expert with the right network & access. A church real estate expert will also have connections with multiple church catered lenders & not traditional banks, this will come in handy when shopping around amount approved for, loans & rates. The final benefit on hiring a Church Real Estate Specialist is they go up to bat for your congregation by having the proper skills in negotiating in ways you may not know, connect you with top notch church lenders (which we will discuss below) & guide you from ideas to fund raising all the way to writing up an offer & closing the deal.

Click Here To Connect with An Expert In Your City


Where Is The Church Being Established:

Is your church looking to enter a complete different city, state or region? This is an important factor to consider when purchasing a church building (unless this is a 2nd or 3rd purchase) because lenders need to see stability and history in the organization. Getting together with a Church Expert & your board to determine whether to buy vacant land, build new construction, an existing building or a property that can be converted are options to sort out as well since it will play a big role with getting pre-approved. Depending on the purpose, potential lenders will want to know what work you’ve done so far to plan for this project.  Lenders may ask some of the following questions, construction plans, names of contractors, appraisal of the land and/or existing structures, cost breakdown of the project, timelines & zoning an so on.


Deposit Amount:

This is by far the most important step when purchasing religious real estate. Church buildings, day care facilities, school properties, mosques & temples are considered commercial properties. This type of real estate normally requires a deposit of 20% - 30% of the total purchase price in order to be considered for a loan. Consider whether your funds are liquid and easily accessible (via tithes, offerings, donations and or operating businesses within the organiztion) or perhaps you may need to sell any assets the church organization has in order to accomplish this step.


Church Building Purchase Price: $1,500,000

Deposit Required: 25%

Total Deposit Amount: $375,000 + Closing Costs*


Gather All Financials:

This is considered the second half of the two-part engine on determining whether or not you will be able to obtain a church loan. This step will answer the budget & how much real estate you can afford question. Get with your accountant or whomever is in charge of the finances department and gather your financials. Make sure your financial records are in order so you can easily produce financial statements for the last 3-5 years.  Note: Most lenders look to see a church being in operation for at least three years & want to know if you’re a reasonable risk based upon prior history; and if it’s realistic to expect you can make your loan payments on-time.  Pull together information about any existing debt obligations and current assets (cash-on-hand and property values). Have a business, school or daycare already bringing in cash flow to help the church finances? They’ll want to see that also apart from tithes, offerings & donations. Lenders will likely ask for this information in your application.


Final Tips:

-         Boost your church savings account with 3-6 months of operating expenses. This increases favorable potential in the lender’s eyes & as well as your chances of getting approved for your desired purchase amount.

-         Have at least 20% - 30% cash in reserves for the down payment

-         Organize a strategy to bring in more funds apart from service days

-         Become established in a community & work in growing an after school program or day care that will not only help create another stream of income but serve the community as well

-         Find sponsors throughout the local church & community who are willing to donate into the plans of expansion & purchase. Layout what the organization is looking to accomplish, people are more likely to give to a strategy than a spur of the moment idea.


For More Information & To View Church Buildings For Sale In Your Area:

Florida Division: Click Here

Nationwide: Click Here







Irv The Realtor "The Church Real Estate Specialsit"
Irvin Peña

Principal, Religious, Education & Not-For-Profit Group

Acquisitions & Divestitures Division
6000 Rio Grande Dr, Suite 104
Orlando , Florida 32809
Empire Network Realty "One of Central FL's TOP Brokerages"
407.272.8154  Direct




Florida Division: Click Here

Nationwide: Click Here
*Se Habla Español*


Comments (4)

MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Thank you for sharing helpful information for congregations looking to buy a church.

Dec 29, 2016 10:31 PM
Irvin Peña
Empire Network Realty - Orlando, FL
Residential - Commercial - Investments

That's what we're here for! Thank you Michelle.

Dec 30, 2016 08:13 AM

Vague and self promoting. Really mostly about loans. Could have said this in 3 sentences. Use our company, put down 30% if mortgaging, the bible tells you to do it. Point 3 is a conflict of interest

Feb 23, 2019 07:59 PM
Irvin Peña
Empire Network Realty - Orlando, FL
Residential - Commercial - Investments

Thanks for your input!

Mar 14, 2019 07:15 PM