Faith-based organizations are invaluable in any close-knit community, which is why real estate transactions involving church-owned properties can often be more complex. Whether you need to sell your church due to closure or searching for a more sustainable location for your ministry, there are certain steps you should take as well as mistakes to avoid when you’re selling a specialized building.
If you’re planning to sell a church-owned property, here are several key mistakes you should avoid to ensure a seamless and stress-free real estate transaction:
Choosing a traditional real estate broker
While a standard real estate agent can help you determine the value of the building and market it to prospective buyers, the process involved in selling a church is very different from selling a conventional home.
One of the most important things to remember is that church members have a spiritual connection with the church itself, which means any decisions involving the building and the site can trigger emotional reactions. A real estate agent who does not have the right background might lack the experience and sensitivity required to handle the interests of the community.
That said, getting reliable advice from an agent experienced with religious real estate transactions is very important, especially when making major decisions such as selling a beloved and long-held property.
Failing to do proper research
Transactions that involve church properties are complex. There could be deed restrictions attached to the land the church was built on, or a change in zoning might be required if the buyer plans to establish another type of property.
To avoid problems, make sure your agent reviews all contracts, existing agreements, permits, and all documents required in order to ensure a smooth transaction.
Ignoring administrative issues
While running into unexpected issues during a real estate transaction is common, some issues which you may encounter might turn out to cause even bigger problems than you realize when trying to sell a church. Any experienced real estate professional knows that there’s a tremendous volume of paperwork involved in a real estate transaction.
First, you may need to hire contractors to analyze the property and verify that its current condition matches your asking price appropriately. This can sometimes be a time-consuming process, depending on several factors like the age of the church, size of the property, and the availability of inspectors.
Disagreements with a prospective buyer may also cause hiccups in the transaction, pushing it off schedule and sometimes require lengthy renegotiations that extend beyond your expected timetable. Running into these types of issues can sometimes lead to an increased amount of overhead required to close the transaction.
Again, this is why getting a professional assessment is important, as it will give you an idea of how to resolve any issues that might pop up.
Keep in mind that selling your church shouldn’t be the only task you should focus on. You need to have a strategic, well-designed plan ready for relocating to your new space as well.
Will your new church have more space compared to your previous property to accommodate a larger amount of parishioners? After the sale, will you be able to handle the costs needed to equip the new property with the proper lighting, sound systems, ventilation, and other essentials? Does the location, structure, and floor plan of the new property accommodate the requirements and preferences of your community?
These are just some of the factors you need to take into account when you’re relocating to a new church. Although you might be in a position to earn some profit out of the sale, the revenue could go down the drain if you fail to plan accordingly.
You need to make sure space you’re about to move to perfectly aligns with the goals of your organization, without requiring you to spend a costly amount on improvements or redesigns. If you’re moving from an older structure to a newer one, the upkeep costs required for utilities and maintenance can be significantly lower, which will allow you to create a proper strategy on how to utilize any profit you earn.
Work with the top experts in Chicago church properties today
If you need professional help with selling church property, Church Building Consultants Realty will bring you closer to your goals. The team has over 25 years of experience in the industry and has successfully guided a long list of satisfied clients through various church real estate transactions.