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Church Conversion


Today’s strong residential market is creating opportunity to renovate a church building into a single-family home.

Conversion of Church Building to Residential Use

Religious Real Estate has been selling churches for over 20 years.  We are seeing smaller churches (with non basement spaces of 1,500 to 4,000 square feet) being converted to homes.  The cathedral ceilings are great for loft space.

Real Estate Economics

Most church buildings are going to require extensive renovations to convert a church building to a home.  In early, 2021 we sold Arbela United Methodist Church (1,180 square feet on the upper floor) for $70,000 ($59 per square foot).   Homes in the area were selling for $110 to $150 per square foot.  Thus the spread between the purchase price of the church in its existing condition has to be big enough to fund the renovation conversion. 

Builder & Architect Team

Buyers need a competent builder/architect team to design a conversion inside an acceptable budget.  Architectural drawings are going to be required by most governmental building department for builders apply for building permits.  It is important for a buyer to communicate to their architect the size of the overall renovation budget.  Then an architect can design conversions aimed at fitting inside the overall renovation budget.  Part of the overall design is the extent of the renovations (i.e. linear feet of new walls, number of new windows) and another is the level of materials used (i.e. marble vs. wood flooring, painted drywall vs. vinyl wallcovering).

Zoning Requirements

Generally churches are in residential zoning (normally single family residential).  So the zoning for most churches already conforms to the future single family residential. 

Building Inspection

Converting a church to a residence is a change in use for the property.   This will normally require an inspection for the local building department.  The local governmental building inspection will require that the building meet the latest building codes.  The builder and architect should meet with the building inspectors to determine the criteria for a final certificate of occupancy.


The attached drawings are for the conversion of 4010 N. Custer, Raisinville TWP, Michigan.  The upper floor demonstrates how the building could be converted to a 4 bedroom 2 bath home.