How to Determine if You Should Buy a House With a Questionable Roof

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If you are looking to buy a house, one of the most important aspects about the home you should consider is the roof. Roof repairs can be among the most costly of home repairs, so it is important to have a good idea of when you will need to replace the roof on your home. If the roof will need to be replaced immediately or in the near future, this could affect how much you are willing to offer for the house and whether you want to make an offer at all. 

Here are a few aspects of roof repair that you should think about when looking at homes. 

Complete a Visual Inspection 

Often, you can get a good idea about the current state of the roof before you even go to look at a home. On photos, you should look for areas on the roof that buckle, sag, or wave. These are all signs that the roof may need some repair. Also, look for missing roof tiles or tiles that are a different color or style than the other tiles on the roof. This usually means that minor repairs have been completed and you may have other repairs that you will need to finish as well. 

Once you are on-site, do a more thorough inspection of the roof. Your realtor should be able to tell you when the roof was last replaced, and basic signs such as granules from shingles in the gutters or light shining through the shingles in the attic are easy to spot. 

Understand Why You Need to Hire Your Own Inspector 

If you think a roof might have problems, or you are unsure how to tell if it does, you should hire a roofing contractor to inspect the home. This should be in addition to the general home inspection required for your mortgage. One of the main reasons for hiring your own roofing contractor is because you can get a realistic price quote from them, as well as a timeline for repairs. Whereas a building inspector might tell you a roof needs to be replaced, a roofing contractor will be able to tell you how that replacement will affect your budget and your move-in date. 

Know Your Basic Repair or Replacement Options

Just because your roof has issues, does not mean that it needs to be fully replaced. You may be able to add a second layer of shingles or simply replace broken tiles in some areas. Minor repairs can cost significantly less than a full replacement, so you need to know what your options are. 

However, if the bank's inspector says that the roof needs to be replaced, then it is unlikely that you will be able to get a mortgage on the home unless you comply with their request. 

The Roof Can Be Your Strongest Bargaining Chip 

A roof that needs repair or replacement should not automatically be a deal-breaker. You may find that you can get a large price reduction if you are paying cash for the home. Alternatively, the current homeowner may pay for roof repairs before you agree to buy. You should consider a less-than-perfect roof as an amazing bargaining chip when you try to make a deal on a potential home. 

Roof Repairs First

If you do decide to buy the house, the first thing you should do is complete roof repairs. Before you move your belongings into the home, you need to have a secure roof that will not leak. In many cases, the roof repairs will be required before any loans on the house can be finalized, anyway. 

A leaky roof does not mean you should not buy a home. However, it does mean that you need to consult with a professional roofing contractor before you make any final decisions on your purchase. 


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