When your congregation is growing, you need more room to accommodate new members. This calls for the expansion of the current property. Whether it’s constructing a new building, expanding an old one, or remodeling the old church, the ministry needs funds to grow.
Church loans, as the name suggests, are funds available to religious bodies for construction, expansion of churches, etc. There are many lenders these days from traditional banks, conventional lenders to private lenders offering commercial loans for churches.
Choose the Loan Option That Suits Your Needs
When it comes to these loans, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. Every church is unique with its individual needs. Some churches may need to construct a new facility or remodel an existing facility and, therefore, may need construction loans. In contrast, others may need cash quickly for repairs and reconstruction so that a short-term cash-out loan may be ideal. It’s essential to find the right lender that can suggest the right financing solution for your unique needs.
It is advisable to find a mortgage broker who can help find the right lender, or if you’re prepared to do the legwork, here are some pointers you must keep in mind before you go shopping for church loans.
Don’t Choose the Lender Based Solely On the Interest Rate
While it’s tempting to go with the lender that offers the lowest rate, it may not always be the best choice for the church’s financial future. It’s vital to assess the risk as well. Lenders often offer low-interest rates when they assume less risk. One way would be to offer a shorter loan term.
That way, the lender is assured that he will get back the money loaned plus interest in that brief period. However, the risk to the church is more here even though the interest rate is low. They have to manage the funds somehow to pay off the loan by the end of the designated term or refinance the loan or, even worse, face loan default. Assess the church’s financials carefully and make the right choice.
Only Borrow What You Can Afford
Count tithes and offerings as income while assessing your affordability for the loan. Never consider donations, benevolence, or charity as a means to repay the loan. You can’t keep incurring costs and risk refinancing every few years.
Borrow for the Longest Period
It is better to go for a longer tenure, even if it costs slightly more in terms of interest. That’s because longer tenure would mean smaller monthly payments and will give you the flexibility against cash flow fluctuations.
Also, make sure that the lender won’t charge any prepayment penalty. That way, if you have a higher income, you can pay back the loan faster without attracting additional charges. Healthy budgeting practices and a humble leadership team can make church loans a financially viable way to fund expansion or improvement plans. Ministries need to be aware of various dynamics in institutional lending before signing up for a church loan. You have to make sure that term and the structure of the loan is such that it favors your church and not the lender.