I agree LoopNet is a great source for searching for "commercial" properties, however, in addition to searching for properties on LoopNet, or another source is to visit the city or county planning department where you are searching. You would hope that the listing information would provide all the information you would need, but that is not always the case, city and county planning departments may have different ideas with regard to the use of a property within their jurisdiction. Contacting the planning department upfront should be number one on your list. This will help to ensure that the properties you are looking at are indeed zoned for the use you intend and to help direct you to properties that will work for you. It's helpful to know within a city or county where proper zoning for properties with the use you intend are located. It may sound odd, a church should be able to go anywhere, right, not so, there are zoning issues to contend with, which include the type of structure you are planning as well as, and this usually is the bigger issue, traffic and parking. Is your church going to be drawing small crowds, say 30 to 40 per week, or are you anticipating several hundred, will you be offering a school at your site, etc. So knowing what areas within the city are best suited to accommodate your needs will help in your search, there is nothing worse than falling in love with a property only to find out that your intended use will not work, even worse, is being in contract, or buying a property and then finding out. So doing some homework up front will save you in the long run.
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