Purchasing Property – What Makes a Piece of Land Right or Wrong for the Church? By Charlie Daniels

Purchasing Property – What Makes a Piece of Land Right or Wrong for the Church?
By Charlie Daniels

With more than thirty years of construction experience, Charlie Daniels is the President and CEO of Churches by Daniels. Churches by Daniels is a full service construction firm offering construction management, general contracting, and design-build services. Their home office is located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, however they build churches nationwide. For more information on them visit them on the World Wide Web at www.churchesbydaniels.com or phone them at (918) 872-6006.

Charlie Daniels Church Construction

Building a church is not an easy undertaking! There are many steps to this process, and often times we see churches getting hung up in the beginning stages, which prohibits them from ever getting to actually build their new building. One of the areas that can cause a church problems up front is purchasing property. It is difficult to know what makes a piece of land the right or wrong property for the church to buy.

It is not uncommon for a church to find a piece of property that is listed for a great price and want to jump on it and buy it quickly in fear that someone else might get to it before they get the deal done! The problem with this is that all land is not created equal. Sometimes when a property has a great price, there is a reason for that. It is important to make sure that due diligence is done on the property before the purchase is made.

Some items that need to be considered are: 

1. Zoning – Can you build a church on this piece of land? The zoning will determine that. 

2. Is the property in a city or county that is conducive to building? Sometimes one mile can make all the difference in the world, and can save you money and time in the long run. We have built in cities that make is so difficult to build that it cost the church years, not just months, in planning and approvals. In construction, as with other industries, time is money. Construction material pricing can change drastically from year to year. This can really affect your budget, and can mean the difference in what you are able to build.   

3. What type of site are you purchasing? We have seen churches purchase property that was a great price but it is on the side of a hill. They did not realize when they purchased the property that although they were saving $50,000 on the property it was going to cost them $200,000 in additional site work when they got ready to build the building. This can be devastating to a church that is on a tight budget!  That just took $150,000 out of their building budget. Be sure to look for a site that is balanced. This means that there are no hard or drastic elevations.

4. Be sure to check the properties easements and setbacks. This is another item that can really catch you off guard. The property may look great, seem to balance well and have lots of space, however there could be easements or setbacks that cut it down to where there is no place to actually set your new building or there will not be enough room for future expansion. In this case the church ends up with a piece of property that they cannot use and that is also difficult to resale.

5. Be sure to budget for permits. This can be a costly item that is easy to leave out of your budget! The city requires certain permits and these permits cost money. Many cities also have other fees attached to a construction project. They may require you to pay for street improvements in front of your property to accommodate the new amount of traffic flow by adding acceleration or deceleration lanes, they may require you to bring water to your property if it is not already there and so on. It is important to count the cost before you begin planning your building so that there are no surprises that set your project back.  

6. Parking regulations are very important to consider as a church. Most cities will require at least 1 parking space for every 4 people, however this usually will not be enough. Not having enough parking can hinder your future growth! You may have the seats you need to accommodate the people but if they cannot find a place to park they will leave, and never make it inside your building. Be sure that you can fit adequate parking spaces on your property for current and future growth. We like to suggest a minimum of 1 space for every 3 people but prefer 1 for every 2 people. 

The purchase of property is just one of items that can become a major stumbling block for a church during the building process. However, armed with the right tools, Pastors can sail right through these obstacles and have a peaceful and successful building project! It is important to get started on the right note and by purchasing the right property, you can do exactly that! 


This article is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is shared with the understanding that neither the author nor Tony Cooke Ministries is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, psychological, medical or other professional services. Laws and regulations are continually changing, and can vary according to location and time. No representation is made that the information herein is applicable for all locations and times. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

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