Buying a House that Needs a New Roof

The average lifespan of a roof without hail or storm damage is about 15-20 years. If you are looking to purchase a house that has a roof about this age, it is important to determine if the roof needs to be replaced.

Unless the roof has extensive damage that can be seen by the average homeowner, you might not know if it needs roof repairs or a full roof replacement until after the home inspection.

What your home inspector will be able to determine

Typically home inspectors do not get onto a roof, they clock any damage from a walk around the outside of the home looking at the roof line, gutters, and state of the shingles. Home inspectors also look for any water or roof damage inside the attic or top level of the house. 

From this inspection, your home inspector will tell you if the roof is in good condition or if a roofing company needs to come out and do a more thorough inspection.

During a typical home inspection, the roof is looked at from the ground and the attic. This is not how roof inspections from a roofing company work, though. Instead, roofers get up on the roof or use a drone to look at your roof up close. If the home inspector finds damage that worries you, you should have a roofing company do a follow-up check. For the roof part of the home inspection, the following should be done:

  • Roof’s age: Depending on what kind of materials were used, the inspector might be able to guess when the roof will need to be replaced. Some roofing materials only last for 10 years, while others can last for 30 years. Aside from the date of installation, signs of wear and tear can give you more accurate information.
  • Broken Parts: The inspector might be able to see signs of wear and tear. In addition to finding water leaks inside the house, they may also find dangerous spots, like places where the roof is so unstable that it could fall. Don’t forget that a house inspector might not be able to give you an accurate estimate of how much damage there is.
  • Needs Roof Repairs: The roof inspector may also be able to tell you what kinds of repairs need to be done. For example, if it already has several layers of roofing, it might need to be taken off and replaced.
  • Make a repair estimate: The inspector might not be able to tell you exactly how much the job will cost, but they might be able to give you a range. So, you can decide if you want to keep working on the project or not.
  • The roof caused damage: In some cases, the inspector will find things that need to be fixed, like mold in the attic or damage from a leaking roof. Also, they might be able to see if the roof has caused any damage to the building’s structure or foundation.

Then, once you know what you need to know, you can decide what to do next. Before moving forward, it’s best to get a precise estimate of how much it will cost to replace the roof from a local roofing company. The inspector may be able to tell you if there are any signs of damage in the house or on the roof, but only a roofing company can tell you how much it will cost to fix or replace the roof.

Will your mortgage be approved if the house needs a new roof?

It’s important to figure out how soon you need to replace the roof. The fact that the roof needs work might not be a deal-breaker for the lender if there are only a few small leaks or other problems. If you have a big problem, like a leak, your mortgage company may have rules about what you can do.

In some cases, your insurance company may agree to pay for repairs made after the date of purchase. If they say no, the lender will stop the loan approval process.

Some insurance companies give you up to 30 days to finish repairs. In this case, the insurance company will give you coverage at the closing, and you’ll have 30 days to finish the work. They may ask a roofer to confirm the work that needs to be done and give them an estimate of when the repairs will be done.

Your real estate agent can ask the seller to put a new roof on the house.

When looking at a house that needs major roof repairs or a new roof, one of the most important things to think about is what the seller can do for you. If they haven’t gotten any bids or want to sell quickly, they may be willing to fix the roof so the house can pass inspection and be insured. Don’t forget that you won’t be the only buyer whose mortgage company has rules about a home that needs a new roof.

If the seller is serious about selling, your real estate agent could write into the contract that he or she will pay for and oversee the roof replacement. This may have to be done before the closing can happen. Don’t forget that if you go this route, the seller must make sure the job is done as agreed, so that it isn’t just a quick fix that will cause you problems in the future.

How can a new homeowner pay for a new roof on their home?

If insurance won’t cover the cost and you still want to buy the house with a damaged roof, you can do a few things. First, have a local roofing company do an inspection of your roof. Reputable companies will do this for free and give you an estimate of how much the project will cost, which will help you plan your budget.

  • Work with your mortgage company to add the cost of a new roof to the total amount you need to borrow.
  • You can pay for roof repairs if the seller pays the closing costs.
  • Borrow money from a bank
  • Work with the roofing company’s payment options for your project.

What you need to remember

You might be able to get a mortgage on a house with a deteriorating roof if the home inspector finds no immediate danger and the insurance company will cover it. If not, you may need to get money from the seller to help pay for the repairs before you can move in.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

What to remember about purchasing a home in Denver that possibly needs a new roof

  • A home inspection will determine if any additional steps are needed, including getting a roof inspection from a Denver roofing company
  • Roof repairs might be able to be completed by the seller before closing
  • If the home needs a new roof and it won’t be taken care of by the seller, you’ll need to work with your mortgage company, insurance company or roofing company to figure out the finances of getting a roof replacement

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