When a new church is forming it makes perfect sense to choose to rent a facility as opposed to committing to a mortgage too soon. Finding a building to rent may not be as problematic as you think. The face of the modern church has changed significantly in since the 1980s, expanding your options. Another plus is a soft real estate market in 2009 that leaves owners more inclined to consider renting their facilities than they may have been inclined to during the hey day of the real estate bubble.
Check your local listings in newspapers, Internet ads and real estate guides. Many times you can find traditional church buildings for rent when congregations outgrow their facilities but aren't ready to part with the real estate. This can put you in a favorable position to negotiate a monthly payment that is practical for your church.
Think outside the box. In 2009, fewer churches have steeples. Many churches are putting down stakes in store front buildings, warehouses and even night clubs. With the entire free world facing economic woes in 2009, businesses are vying for ways to supplement their incomes by renting rooms or, in some cases, their entire facilities in off business hours.
Inquire at your local Chamber of Commerce. It isn't uncommon for this organization to have the inside scoop on buildings that are being considered for rent before they are advertised to the public. Drop off your business card and check in regularly for any status updates.
Enlist the help of a real estate agent. Real estate companies often oversee commercial rental properties. A local agent should know your area well enough to guide you in the right direction when searching for a church building, or a facility amenable to such use. These professionals are also more likely to work out financial arrangements that are agreeable to all parties involved.
Don't rule out a building just because it is listed for sale. Very few property owners have the luxury of making monthly mortgage payments on unused properties. In addition, an empty property is at risk for damage and vandalism. Meet with the owner and discuss the benefits of renting out the building to your congregation with the promise of stringent upkeep of the facilities.