When planning to construct a church, try looking around and check the properties that are available. You can ask your real estate agent for a property of churches that are no longer in use but the property is available. An existing building can offer benefits to building from scratch.
An advantage of purchasing an already built property is that it'll cost you much less and Brian assures it as he has experienced it himself. The cost of constructing something from scratch means a lot of time and money. You have to pay permit fees, architect fees, constructions fees and much more. There is not just a single thing but there are many unanticipated costs.
2. Money Spending
Brian gives an example that if you are involved in a construction project the lender will require at least 10% contingency fund of the actual project for any changed orders, which usually happens. Contingency cost gets significantly low when you construct an existing building. This means there a lot of soft costs involved when you are planning to construct a new building. There will be no additional appraisal value of the church and all the costs you put in will go away once you sell the property. So there's no cash back for all of the soft costs you put in a new constructed building.
3. Construction Time
When you start constructing a church from scratch then it might take a good 7-12 years whereas renovating an existing building will only take a minimum of 1 year.
4. Government Hurdles
If you choose to build a church on a property or piece of land that government has other plan for than you will face many problems and legal issues created by the government. You wouldn't want the government to be your enemy.
5. Community Opposition
Often, community people oppose new church construction projects. Everyone has a different motivation for their opposition. It might be because of the view that would be blocked for them or they find it a wrong location for the church to be in. David gives an example of a church property in Colorado and when the leaders decided to construct the church building but there was opposition from some people whose home view was getting blocked and they fought that they are paying premium for the view and you cannot just build a church and block it. An existing building will not cause any such issues and you wouldn't have to worry about it.
When you opt for an existing building, your parking issues will be resolved and you might find parking space near the church area. If you are going to build a church from scratch, than you'll have to go through a zonal permit for your new parking space. This is a lot of added cost which you can't afford.
You might find corporate buildings that are empty, a car dealership that is now vacant, and the location of the property is amazing. You won't get so much advantage when opting for a piece of land. You'll only enjoy great location when you choose an existing property. You can also take advantage of resell value of a prime location and get a great deal out of it.
8. Ministry Momentum
The most important aspect of a church is its ministry. The ministries, groups, communities and funders might be really excited for the new church. If you'll start constructing from scratch it'll take more than 7 years to finally come to shape. This delay will lead to confusions amongst ministries and donors and they'll probably start questioning your credibility. An existing building will not take much time and people's enthusiasm will stay intact.
9. Design Decisions
Making minor changes to an already existing building is much easier than designing a new building. It takes a lot of money and creativity to think of a perfect design for the church building. If you buy an existing building, you'll have a picture of what you can do with this and what renovations will make it look perfect. It will cost you less money, less pain and less time.
10. Collecting Funds Gets Easier
When people see something physically, it gets easier to collect funds. If there is an existing building that you bought for your church then people will have an idea of what it's going to look like when it's done. It'll motivate them to pay more and believe in the project. If you'll buy a new property to build from scratch, people will feel a connection and when they don't have a picture of what they are contributing to, they'll not pay.
As presented by at WFX by:
David Lee, Relationship Manager of the Evangelical Christian Credit Union
Brian Kluth, Pastor and Founder of Maximum Generosity