Signs You Should Repair or Replace Your Roof Before Selling

Ready to sell your home, but not sure if that old roof needs a look? Read these considerations to see if repairs will make your home sell!

Signs You Should Repair or Replace Your Roof Before Selling Close
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Signs You Should Repair or Replace Your Roof Before Selling

Posted by Gary Ashton on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 at 11:20am.

When to Repair a Roof It can be tempting for home owners to consider selling as-is when they are low on energy, time, or money for fix-up work such as re-roofing. One negative consequence of this is that prospective buyers may demand expensive discounts or even walk away from a potential sale.

Evidence of a failing roof may be as obvious as stains or soft spots on interior walls and ceilings, loose downspouts or even plants growing in gutters that haven't been cleaned in a long time. While a fix takes more effort than leaving it alone, the benefits of doing so may be enough to persuade sellers to eliminate the problem before buyers see the house.

Signs the Roof Needs to Be Replaced

Thinking about selling your home? If so, you'll want to make sure your home is in the best shape possible in order to bring in the highest possible sale price—especially in today's competitive market. You can get ahead of the game by being on the lookout for telltale signs that your roof needs replaced or repaired before you sell.

The Roof Deck is Sagging

Take a step outside and look at the home from the front yard. Specifically, look at the roof line; does it appear completely level? If a homeowner sees any spots that appear to be sagging or sloping oddly, this could be a sign of a moisture problem. If the homeowner can't tell from the outside whether or not the roof deck is completely intact, they should take a look inside the home's attic. If they notice any sagging beams, this is likely due to a moisture issue that will need to be addressed before the home is sold. Depending on the scope and severity of the problem, the homeowner may be able to avoid complete replacement and have the issue repaired instead.

The Roof is Old

Most asphalt shingle roofs are designed to last around 20–25 years with proper care and maintenance. Therefore, if the homeowner knows their roof is older than that (or if they have no idea how old the roof is), now would be a good time to at least schedule an inspection. This way, the homeowner will have a better idea of the shape the roof is in and whether they need any repairs (or total replacement) before selling.

There are Missing Shingles

If the homeowner can see shingles are missing by glancing at the roof, this is definitely something that will need to be addressed before they sell. Missing shingles make the home more prone to leaks and water damage, which can get expensive quickly. Most buyers will be able to see this from the curb, and even if they miss it, an inspection will notify them that this could be a potential hangup for their purchase. Rather than missing out on a potential sale, most sellers opt to deal with this issue beforehand.

Staining on Walls or Ceilings

If a homeowner notices any strange discoloration or staining on the home's walls or ceiling, it could be water damage caused by roofing leaks. Try gently poking at the discoloration in the drywall with a screwdriver; does it seem spongy or soggy? If so, this probably calls for a roof repair. In some cases, however, the water leak could be coming from a plumbing pipe, so take time to troubleshoot or call a handyman to help the homeowner locate the source of the water.

Your Energy Bills Are Increasing

Finally, if the home's heating and cooling costs have seemed to significantly increase for no clear reason, it's wise to have a roof inspector take a look at the roof and inside the attic to be sure this isn't caused by a roofing or ventilation problem.

Hiring a Roof Inspector

The first step in determining whether a roof will pass muster for an as-is sale is to hire a professional roof inspector.

A professional roof inspection can cost a few hundred dollars on average, but can vary based on who you choose and the type of roof you have. Roof slope is one factor that may increase the fee. The inspector determines wear and tear to the roof and how much longer it can last without replacement. They will verify whether repair is needed now or in the near future.

Roof inspections involve more than searching for damage to shingles, roof ridge lines, loose nails or aging of flat-roof membranes. An inspector likely will observe the following exterior factors:

  • Chimneys and their mortar and flashing
  • Rubber seals around vent pipes
  • Gutters and downspouts
  • Rafters that are sagging
  • Fascia board (the gingerbread trim edging rooflines)
  • Soffits (the flat underside of overhangs) and their vents
  • Debris gathered in valleys where roof lines join
  • Granules from shingles that flow through downspouts to splash blocks.

Inside the attic, an inspector may look for these signs of problems:

  • Insulation that isn't safe or properly applied and doesn't have a sufficient R value
  • Ventilation that is blocked
  • Moisture and mold

The inspector may be able to estimate repair or replacement costs and certify whether the roof can last at least three more years for FHA loan approval. But when hiring any home inspector, including a roof specialist, Nashville sellers or buyers should seek someone who won't have stake in whether or not you choose to repair to avoid being persuaded to do something that isn't necessary. It's also helpful to ask for a written report of inspection results and proof of the errors and omissions liability insurance to protect customers against negligent work.

Seeking Repair & Replacement Estimates

Even if money is tight, homeowners should at least get estimates of what repair or replacement work will cost. A lot of costs depend on roof characteristics such as the degree of slope, type of shingles and neighborhood characteristics.

Steep roofs, such as on Tudor-style homes, are more difficult and dangerous to shingle. Consequently, their work is more expensive. Flat roofs that have minimal slope tend to be far less expensive unless their angle is insufficient for proper drainage. Then the slope may need to be improved.

Re-roofing with wood shakes may cost more than twice the price of an asphalt shingle roof. However, if the house is in a neighborhood of wood shake houses, it may be best to invest in repairing the existing shake roof if possible. Buyers interested in fitting in architecturally may be willing to pay for re-roofing later.

Metal and tile roofs are also more expensive than asphalt shingles. Slate is the most long lasting and expensive choice. It can cost up to ten times that of an asphalt shingle roof.

Re-roofing estimates will typically also include charges for shingle removal, underlayment, gutters, flashing, fascia and soffits.

Bargain Buyers & Doubtful Lenders

Replacing Your Roof Before SellingHouse hunters feel more confident about bidding on a Franklin property if it appears well tended inside and out. Roof problems are one kind of problem that can send them running. After all, they want to spend their spare budget on fun stuff -- like furniture—not on basics they think the seller should fix.

Roof problems may also cause lenders to become doubtful about a property's value and deny loan approval for buyers. Ultimately, a shabby roof can keep a property on the market, which loses money for the seller who must continue paying any remaining mortgage as well as property and homeowner taxes.

Repairing or replacing a roof may help a seller save money by avoiding buyers looking for deep bargains and by speeding up the sales process. But what if roof problems aren't obvious? How does an owner decide whether to sell as is or line up a roofer?

Considering Local Market Conditions

All these details can be overwhelming. However, before making a decision between sell as-is and making major repairs, a homeowner needs to research the local real estate market. Knowing how fast properties are moving and whether homes are going for more or less than their listed prices is crucial in making a decision.

If a seller lives in a hot real estate market and has location on his or her side, investing in a new roof may be a good way to maximize gain. Nationwide, homeowners tend to recoup a large portion of the cost of a new roof. In an area where bidding wars are raising the roof on sales prices to unexpected heights, new shingles may be just the thing to make a house ready for a lightning-fast sale.

If you plan to sell your home and your roof has not been replaced in some time, ask your real estate agent about the possibility of re-roofing. They will be able to determine whether or not this repair can give you the competitive advantage your home needs to sell quickly and for top dollar.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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