These are articles posted in the newspaper about Real Estate Professional Services.
Selling ‘His’ houses – Utica News – March 6, 2012
Metro Detroit churches for sale as values fall – The Detroit News, Front Page – May 21, 2010
Oralandar Brand-Williams / The Detroit News
Metro Detroit’s real-estate crunch has hit the last bastion of community stability: churches.
Across Michigan, the same forces depressing the housing and commercial market — falling values, depopulation and lack of financing — make it a buyers’ market for houses of worship. And like other property owners, the clergy is praying for a rebound.
On Detroit’s east side, the Jamison Temple Missionary Baptist Church has languished on the market for two years. The 500-member congregation left its old facility on Frankfort Street for a bigger church on Mack near Connor, and has reduced the asking price of the former church from $675,000 to $495,000.
“We’ve had people look at the building, but they can’t get a bank loan. The banks aren’t loaning money,” said Royal Jamison, the pastor’s wife and co-founder of the church.
“We might have to go into a land contract or have to go lower on the price.”
Her husband, the Rev. Homer Jamison, said he’s “praying that banks open back up to the faith community.”
From Wyandotte to White Lake Township, the Metro area market is glutted. Some churches have prices as low as $60,000. Others can be higher, like the Agape Christian Center in Canton Township, which is listed for $2.9 million and includes amenities such as gyms, schools, acres of parking, baptismal pools and office space galore.
Statistics for the number of churches on the market in Michigan aren’t available, but one firm — Real Estate Professional Services in Southfield — has listings for more than 50 in Metro Detroit alone and another 20 elsewhere in Michigan. The market has changed considerably in just two years, said Kevin Messier, co-owner of the firm. “Banks were lending money and the appraisals were coming in high,” he said.
“Ninety percent of what we sold was bank financed; now it’s done a 180 (turnaround). Ninety percent (financing) is on land contract or seller financing.”
He said he suspects that Michigan tops the list of empty churches nationwide on the market.
Lakeside Community Church in St. Clair Shores isn’t empty, but its parish has spent 2 1/2 years searching for a buyer. The 27,500-square-foot church is in a prime location on East Jefferson along Lake St. Clair and includes 15 classrooms, 10 offices, a library, nursery, gym and youth activities room.
Listed at $1.99 million, the church hasn’t had any offers.
Its pastor, the Rev. Ken Render, said several congregations have been interested, but a tight credit market and fewer collection dollars make it difficult for churches to raise money to buy up.
“The capital is just not there in this area’s economy,” Render said.
“Banks may be an issue but churches have to raise capital. I think that level of giving has been cut tremendously.”
The burnt-orange church is the original home of the 60-year-old Southern Baptist congregation and is now too small for its 300 members. For Sunday services, the church rents out the auditorium of Lakeview High School, while another congregation rents the sanctuary from Lakeside for Sunday and Tuesday services.
Render said he’s prepared to wait for the market to change.
“We’re not under any duress by any means to sell,” Render said.
That’s not the case for the Archdiocese of Detroit, which is racing against the clock to sell vacant churches before vandals and scrappers plunder them.
The archdiocese has nine churches on the market, one convent, two homes and three schools, including Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods that closed in 2005. Asking price: $4.9 million.
The former St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church near Lenox and Jefferson in Detroit is going for $1.2 million. The church closed 13 years ago and has languished, said Michael Moran, director of properties for the archdiocese. “It’s not been because of the market but because of the financing,” Moran said. “It’s a strong market but the financing has been virtually nonexistent.”
Moran pointed to the former St. Agnes Catholic Church, later named Martyrs of Uganda, on Rosa Parks Boulevard near 12th Street as an example of how churches can be targeted by thieves and vandals after they are left empty.
Moran said church officials removed and stored the expensive stained glass windows when the church was first put up for sale. But after the sale the new owners eventually abandoned the building, and it became a target for vandals.
“The church was totally devastated,” Moran said.
Scams compound problems
Some sales have been affected when congregations have been caught in mortgage scams.
First Baptist Institutional Church on Seven Mile in Detroit was caught in a mortgage scam and had trouble trying to get a new mortgage on its building, said the Rev. Howard Fauntroy, pastor of the 93-year-old church. He launched a radiothon last year to save the church from closing its doors.
Another bank stepped in to help the church, but Fauntroy says there was a lot of nail-biting before the church got the new mortgage.
Fauntroy says this is typical of what is happening to churches.
“We would have gone by the wayside,” said Fauntroy, who has been pastor for 14 years. “It’s a difficult time for churches given what’s happening with the economy.”
firstname.lastname@example.org (313) 222-2027
From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100521/METRO/5210386/1041/Metro-Detroit-churches-go-on-sales-block-as-values-fall#ixzz0oyQHNl95
Brothers tap million-dollar church market – The Detroit News – October 10, 1986
Brothers tap million-dollar church market
When Mike Messier seeks out new homes for his real estate clients, his findings are usually inspirational.
But since he must satisfy the tastes of some very large “families,” that is not always an easy task.
Messier’s mission is to match the buyers and sellers of church properties in the southeast Michigan area, a specialty he thinks is unique to himself and his brother, Kevin, who recently joined as his partner.
The brothers took over from their father, Richard, an agent at Real Estate One’s Commercial Division in Southfield, who developed the “church beat” through word-of-mouth references after he sold his first church in 1971.
“He decided to move to Florida, so he brought me in as a partner, and I slowly took over as he phased out.” says Messier. “Last year, Kevin joined me when (business) started to get real heavy.”
Mike Messier had been in real estate six years before he began concentrating on churches in 1984. With probably 6,000 churches in southeastern Michigan and virtually no competition, the brothers have a wide field to serve. The growth of churches – especially among Pentecostal religions – has given the church market the same kind of increase as the housing market. The brothers average about three to four listings a month. Last year’s $8.7 million in sales came mostly from the successful transaction of about 45 to 50 churches.
Buying or selling is much the same as buying or selling a house, says Messier. The complications begin when he starts to sell a building to not one buyer, but a few hundred, instead.
Showing a church is usually a three-stage process. The initial contact might be a pastor or the head of a church’s building committee. One of the brothers will show the property, pointing out the sanctuary’s seating capacity, classrooms, office space, fellowship hall and other key featured, depending on the needs of the particular denomination. If a building lacks a particular feature, it can often be added.
“But,” he sales, “it’s easier to add a baptismal pool than build a choir stand.”
If the building seems appropriate, the next step is to show the property to the board of directors, who may have diverse ideas of what the church really needs. The last step is showing the property to the congregation.
“The pastor and the board will usually look at the features.” he says, “but the church members look at it more emotionally.”
To get the feel of the building, congregations often hold a short service or sing, to test the acoustics.
The main reason churches are moving is because they outgrow their present building and need room for their congregations to expand.
“A buyer for a building like the Church of the Nazarene in Plymouth that sears 450 to 500 people probably won’t have much above 300 actual buyers (church members),” he says. “When you pay this kind of price, invest in a building this large, you want to make sure it is going to service you for the next several years. The way churches are growing – many, many times doubling within a two or three-year period – you have to ask how long you are going to be able to use the sanctuary area.”
The biggest concern for church congregations is price, says Messier, an issue he likes to address after a church board has decided if a building might suit their needs.
“Churches generally don’t have that kind of money, strictly because of what their church is. It’s function is to help its membership, support missionaries, run blessing programs…”
Most lending institutions will not deal with church sales, since there is not one person to assume responsibility for the lean. The typical church sale is done by land contract, with a large down payment, and churches are often sold for cash. If a church that is selling one building has a commitment on another, it will often negotiate a price to get the cash sale it needs. Messier says that he will sit down and work with a church’s budget to determine what building it can afford. Sometimes, a church’s state or national governing body will make a loan.
While the cost of buying a church can run from a few thousand dollars for a storefront location to more than $2 million for a modern recently build suburban church, it is still much cheaper than building, says Messier. A building that would sell in the $700,000 range would probably cost about $1.2 million to replace.
The Messiers’ keep a directory of southeastern Michigan properties, which goes back several years, that help them determine the fair market price of a property. Those comparisons often are referred to by Member of the Appraisal Institution or Society of Real Estate Appraisers specialists, whose assessments of church properties are considered critical and the most accurate for high-priced properties.
The 450-seat, 21,000-square-foot Church of the Nazarene is considered a large property in today’s market, says Messier. Most of the demand today is for churches that seat about 300.
Today’s hottest church market is in Detroit, says Messier, because of the boom in Pentecostal religions in the city.
Brothers heed the call to sell churches – Crain's Detroit Business – October 20, 1986
Mike Messier has an unorthodox job. He sells churches.
A sales agent for Real Estate One Inc. in Southfield, Messier has found that selling holy lands is more akin to selling commercial than residential real estate.
“A church is an ecclesiastical corporation, and that’s how we treat it,” he said. “The sale is a very business-oriented situation.”
Messier, 29, and his brother Kevin, 27, are among a select few who specialize in church sales. They estimate that only 10 to 12 churches in the tri-county area are listed with other brokers.
Kevin joined Real Estate One a year ago to ease the workload. Together, they have a portfolio of 32 churches ranging from $19,900 to $2.5 million.
Mike Messier said not many people pursue his line of work because it is difficult to understand and more time consuming than other types of real estate sales.
“You are selling to hundreds of people, and that involves more time, ” Messier said.
The pastor, congregation president, church members, and sometimes a state or national organization must approve the sale.
A church stays on the market for an average of 180 days, while houses are selling “easily” within 60 days, and office space leases in about 90 days, Messier said.
“The commissions we charge are based on commercial real estate rates, which differ somewhat and are higher than residential,” he said. Commissions are from 7 to 10 percent or are negotiated. Last year, Messier’s sales were $8.6 million, which included the sale of a school for $1.7 million. This year he expects his sales to reach $6.5 million.
Over the past 15 years, Messier estimates he has sold 500 to 600 churches, with the help of his brother and his father, who started him in the business.
To market their churches, the Messiers mail brochures twice a year to 4,200 churches in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. Recently, they have begun filming 15-minute videos of their larger properties for use in sales pitches.
The church market is hot now, especially in Macomb County, on the northwest side of Detroit, and in south central Oakland County, Messier said.
Even in selling God’s homes, location remains the most important consideration in resale, Messier says.
Here are several of our reference letters/appreciation letters from church leaders who were very satisfied with the services they received.
John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church
John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church
28001 Evergreen Road
Southfield, MI 48076
Phone: (248) 358-9307
Fax: (248) 358-6800
April 23, 2002
Mr. Kevin C. Messier
Real Estate Professional Services
45500 Van Dyke
Utica, MI 48317
I wanted to take this time to say Thank You, on behalf of the Board of Trustees of John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church.
Although it was a long and sometimes unsettling process, we are very happy with the way things finalized. I was particularly impressed with the strong commitment you and your brother gave to us in finding property that is a perfect fit for our needs that would allow us to both enhance and grow the overall ministry of John Wesley.
I would certainly welcome the opportunity to work with you again when the need arises for us to relocate.
I invite you to come by and see the improvements and the future expansion plans we have in store for the property.
Thank you once again,
Mr. L. Andre’Stansbery
1975 E. Long Lake Rd.
Troy, MI 48085
December 19, 2001
Letter of Recommendation
To Whom it May Concern,
I have known Kevin Messier approximately 5 years. His determination during that period of time while he was looking for a building to be our church home was remarkable. Kevin never gave up but stuck with it and kept looking for a building and because of his hard work we now have a new building that we are extremely pleased with.
Kevin kept in contact with us and kept us informed of the possibilities, progress and changes that might effect us and then helped with whatever came up to resolve them.
It is my pleasure to provide this letter of recommendation for Kevin and I know that you can be confident that he will have great success in whatever he endeavors for you.
Pastor David Halan
Power of Faith Pentecostal Church
Hosanna Harvest Assembly
Macedonia Baptist Church
Hill Memorial Church of God in Christ
Hill Memorial Church of God in Christ
5301 Chase Road, Dearborn MI 48126
Elder Michael Hill, Pastor
March 15, 1997
Mr. Mike Messier
Southfield, MI 48076
On behalf of the entire church family of Hill Memorial, I want to thank you for helping us to secure the building on Chase Road that we now call home. I think you know better than anyone, what a blessing it was to us to be able to move from our church on Delmar St. to this great edifice in the City of Dearborn. Without your hard work and dedication, we would have never been able to pull it off. I can still remember the many buildings that you showed us, and how you handled each opportunity with great professionalism, it made us feel comfortable to know that you understood our needs and were always looking out on our behalf.
Mike, if there is anyone looking for a real estate professional in the area of religious institutions, just have them give us a call, and we will share with them our positive experience. It has been a great pleasure working with you, and we will call you in a couple of years when we out grow this facility, and we’re ready to move again!
May God bless you,
Reverend Michael E. Hill
Pastor, Hill Memorial C.O.G.I.C.
Crosspointe Meadows Church
Crosspointe Meadows Church
39800 Grand River, Suite B1-C
Novi, Michigan 48375
Phone: (248) 427-2700
June 18, 2004
Real Estate Professional Services
28475 Greenfield Rd.
Southfield, MI 48070
Attention: Kevin Messier and Mike Messier
Dear Kevin & Mike:
On behalf of the members of Crosspointe Meadows Church, Novi, Michigan (formerly Redford Baptist Church, Redford, MI) we would like to thank you for the hard work and dedication that you both put toward the sale of our former Grand River and 7 Mile Road facility.
Your diligence and determination provided the means to make at what at times seemed to be impossible – possible. You both really know and understand the religious real estate market in the South East Michigan area, and demonstrated, time and time again, your ability to find potential qualified buyers which ultimately lead to the successful sale of this facility.
You guy’s really know your business.
We again thank you both for all that you have done on our behalf.
Director of Administration
Crosspointe Meadows Church