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What to Look for in a New Church Site

New Church site under construction

Whether you’re planning to purchase a property or lease a space for a church, there are several important factors to consider before you make a decision. Taking time to research carefully while considering the needs of your ministry will help you avoid any unnecessary difficulties while you’re in the process of looking for and purchasing a property.

In this article, we give you a closer look at some key factors to consider when looking for a site for your church.


“Location, location, location” is a motto in the real estate industry, and it applies to churches the same way it does to homes. 

Finding the right building site should be the focal point during the early stages of your search. Your chosen location needs to accommodate your mission and ministry. If serving a larger portion of the community is part of your vision, then you need to choose a strategic location that will cater to a broader group within the area.  

The location should also be free of restrictions by private covenants. Many major national retailers have private covenants with their developers that define what type of clients are allowed to establish within the property. These restrictions typically exclude preschools, fitness studios, and churches. Unlike public zoning ordinances which can be challenged, private covenants are considered legal and binding.

Proper government approval

Never sign a lease until you get complete assurance from the state and local government, fire department, and other authorities that a church can be established in a particular location. If you’re planning to build within a commercial zone, you will need to obtain a Conditional Use or Special Use Permit. 

Getting proper approval from all concerned officials in your chosen area will help you avoid getting into a situation wherein you discover how expensive it costs to get the building up to code only after all binding agreements are signed.


One of the biggest factors in choosing the right location is cost. While you may come upon the perfect location that offers great accessibility and the right atmosphere, if it doesn’t make sense for your budget, then you’ll find yourself right at the starting point.

That said, it’s important to take into account all of the costs involved in relocating or building a new facility. Find out if you’ll be required to pay monthly or quarterly rent, or if you’ll need additional equipment in order for you to set up in a specific location. Don’t forget about ongoing expenses such as electricity bills and cleaning and maintenance costs as well when you’re planning your budget.

Land value

When considering different sites, determining the dollar value of the property’s usable area will be essential. Subtract the total area reserved for easements, buffers, setbacks, and other zoning restrictions from the site’s total land area, as these factors add up to reduce the amount of usable property.

Once you’ve calculated the usable area for each site, you can then determine the cost per square foot, which gives you a more detailed comparison between the value you’ll be able to get from different sites.   

Layout and facilities

Try to look at the site from the perspective of a visitor. How accessible is it? Does the location provide ample parking spaces? Will there be sufficient meeting space for everyone in your ministry?

Additionally, think about whether the venue will be able to accommodate other facilities as well, such as a kitchen area or a lighting and stage setup.

Accessibility vs. Visibility

Ideally, you want to have both accessibility and visibility in your location. But if you were to prioritize just one, accessibility generally brings more benefits overall. A location with excellent visibility (such as one located along a freeway, for example) may seem like a terrific option at first, but it will cause problems down the line if it’s difficult to get to. 

You want your church to be as welcoming as possible for current and new members of your ministry, and that means choosing a location that’s easily accessible.

Find the best site for your church today

Whether you’re planning to buy church buildings or searching for a new development site in and around the metro Chicago area, Church Building Consultants Realty will help 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. 

You can get in touch with the team at Church Building Consultants Realty by calling 630.344.9449 or sending an email to dan(at)churchbuildingrealty(dotted)com.