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Purchasing a Home that Needs a Roof Replacement

Buying a new house is exciting, but if your potential dream house needs a new roof what are your options?  Typically, you won’t know if there is damage to the roof until the home inspection.

What can the home inspection tell you about the roof?

If you’ve hired a home inspector, they should be able to offer you a thorough explanation of the roof’s condition. A typical roof inspection during a home inspection is conducted from the ground and in the attic, this is not how roof inspections from a roofing company are, roofers examine your roof up close with a drone or by getting up on the roof. If any damage found by the home inspector is concerning you should get a follow-up inspection with a local roofing company. The Roof portion of the home inspection should consist of the following:

  • Age of Roof. Depending on the materials used, the inspector may be able to estimate when the roof will require replacement. Some roofing materials have a 10-year lifespan, while others have a 30-year lifespan. In addition to the installation date, evidence of wear and tear can provide more precise information.
  • Damaged Areas. The inspector may detect symptoms of degradation and deterioration. In addition to detecting water leaks inside the property, they may also identify areas of hazard, such as locations where the roof is so unstable that it could collapse. Keep in mind that a house inspector may not be able to provide you an accurate assessment of the amount of the damage.
  • Roof Repairs needed. The roof inspector may also offer insight on the necessary repair kinds. For instance, if it already has multiple layers of roofing material, it may need to be completely removed and replaced.
  • General estimate for the repairs. The inspector may not be able to provide you with the exact cost of the job, but they may be able to provide you with a cost range. Thus, you can determine whether or not to continue working on the project.
  • Damage caused by the roof. In certain instances, the inspector will identify areas of concern, such as mold in the attic or damage caused by a leaking roof. Additionally, they may be able to identify any structural or foundational damage caused by the condition of the roof.

Then, armed with this information, you can determine your next steps. Prior to moving forward, it is advisable to contact a local roofing firm for a precise estimate of the cost of replacing the roof. If there is any evidence of damage in the home or on the roof, the inspector may be able to tell you, but only a roofing contractor can tell you how much it will cost to replace or repair the roof.

interior photo of an attic in an Omaha Home

If the house needs a roof replacement, will your mortgage get approved?

It is important to determine how urgent the roof replacement is. The house needing roof repairs may not be a deal-breaker for the lender if there are a few spots with leaks or small difficulties. On a large-scale problem, like an active leak, there may be restrictions from your mortgage company.

In some instances your  insurance company may agree to cover the cost of the repairs after the purchase date. If they decline, the lender will not proceed with the loan approval.

Some insurance providers provide thirty days for the completion of repairs. In this case, the insurer will grant coverage at the time of closing, and you will have 30 days to complete the work. They may request a roofer’s confirmation of the required work and an estimate of when the repairs may be completed.

Your real estate agent can request that the seller replace the roof

What the seller can do for you is one of the most significant factors to consider when evaluating a home in need of major roof repairs or full roof replacement. If they have not received any bids or want to sell quickly, they may be ready to do the necessary roof repairs so that the property may pass inspection and be insured. Remember you won’t be the only buyer who’s mortgage company will have restrictions on a home that needs a roof replacement.

If the seller is motivated, your real estate agent could stipulate in the contract that he or she will pay for and supervise the replacement of the roof. The closing may not occur until this is completed. Keep in mind that if this course of action is chosen, the seller must ensure the job is completed as agreed, so that it is not a short fix that becomes an issue for you in the future.

Are there options for financing a roof replacement for a new home?

There are a few options if you decide to proceed with the purchase of the house with a damaged roof if insurance won’t cover the cost. First, get a roof inspection done with a local roofing company, roof inspections are free of charge from reputable companies and will come with a project cost estimate to help you plan financially. 

  • Work with your mortgage company to include the cost of a roof replacement in the total loan amount. 
  • Negotiate the seller covers closing costs so you can pay for the roof repairs
  • Take out a personal loan
  • Work with the financial options of the roofing company you choose for the project

Key Takeaways

Steps for buying a house that needs roof repairs

  • Following a home inspection, get a roofing company to do a full roof inspection
  • Work with your mortgage and insurance company for loan approval or claim approval
  • The seller making the repairs prior to closing could be an option
  • There are multiple financial options for the new roof if needed

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