Whether you are shopping for a place to live or an investment opportunity, your new house would ideally not need a new roof. As of July 2021, a new residential roof can cost anywhere between $5,570 and $11,415 depending on its size and the quality of the materials used. No one should have any difficulty thinking up better ways to spend so much money.
But some homes are too good to pass up however distressed their roofs might be. If you’re entertaining the thought of buying a home that needs a new roof, here is what you need to do!
Determine the Roof’s Condition
It’s not enough to understand that a home’s roof is in need of repair. You need to know exactly which repairs it needs before you commit to so large a purchase.
Determining a roof’s age is crucial. This information alone may reveal whether a roof is in need of imminent repair, as every type of roofing material has an expiration date. To use InterNACHI’s numbers, the average lifespans of the most common roofing materials are as follows:
- Asphalt shingles: 20 years
- Wood: 25 years
- Metal: 40 to 80 years
- Slate: 60 to 150 years
Unfortunately, this information isn’t always available. Some people sell their home before they ever had to replace its roof, and foreclosed properties are seldom accompanied by all the information you would like to have about them.
Regardless, just knowing a roof’s age isn’t enough info to work with anyway. As a matter of course when buying a home, you should engage a qualified roofing contractor (such as Restoration RX) to inspect its roof, definitively diagnose its condition, and estimate how much it will cost to restore it to good as new.
Consider Your Options
Once you know exactly what kind of shape a home’s roof is in, plan your course of action. You may ask for a price reduction to cover the full cost of repair (if the market is currently conducive to buyers), or request that the seller replace the roof as a condition of the sale. (This does not work for foreclosed properties. Ask the bank to make repairs and you’ll only succeed at giving a banker a funny story to share with their coworkers during their next lunch break.)
Walking away from the whole affair is still a viable course of action, even after you have engaged a roofing contractor for an inspection. That’s the point of roof inspection!
Sometimes your contractor will give you good news, however, such as that a leak was just the result of some small, easily remedied problem. Sometimes their report is far more grim. Trust their judgment, though you would be well advised to continue shopping for houses if their inspection revealed sagging as the result of structural damage, broad swaths of missing shingles, significant moss or algae colonization, or heavy staining or other signs of water damage to the interior walls.
Remember: No roof problem is insurmountable. You just may not wish to pay for it.
Figure Out Funding
Here comes the fun part. As eager as you might be to pay for a new roof out of pocket, there are other options. The seller might not agree to pay for 100% of all necessary roof repair, but they may be amenable to paying for part of it. Here is your real estate agent’s time to prove their skill.
The seller’s insurance provider may also be able to assist. If the roof is especially old or decrepit, then the seller may have grounds to file a claim that will cover part or all of the roofing contractor’s estimate. There is little reason not to explore this solution as it requires very little effort on the seller’s part.
Barring that, you may finally consider a home improvement loan. Banks commonly grant these to people who are buying fixer-uppers; for investors, equivalent fix-and-flip loans are also available. This loan may encompass the purchase price of the house, or it may be separately granted solely to cover necessary repairs.
Schedule an Inspection or Roof Replacement
Because you are reading our blog, we are happy to say you’ve already taken one of the most important steps toward buying a home that needs a new roof. Restoration RX is a LeakFREE certified roofing inspector and contractor, a Preferred Contractor with Owens Corning, and proudly serving all homeowners and investors within a 150 mile radius of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
We welcome you to contact us today for any more information you might like about roof repair and replacement, as well as to schedule an inspection.