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Should I Buy a House with an Old Roof?

Should I Buy a House with an Old Roof?

A roof can make or break a home purchase. It not only affects the value of the house, but it can also determine if the new owner can get insurance once they buy it. If you’re debating whether or not to buy a house with an old roof, there are some important questions to keep in mind. Read on to make an informed decision about your purchase.

The Lifecycle of a Roof

As a rule of thumb, a composition roof lasts about 20-30 years. Other roofing materials can last up to 50 years, depending on how well they were installed and what elements they’ve been exposed to. Thus, what you consider to be an “old” roof will largely depend on what the roof is made of. The current owner may disclose the age of the roof before you tour it, but if they don’t know that information, you can get a roof evaluation during your inspection period.

How to Determine If You Should Buy a House with an Old Roof

Before you buy a house with an old roof or write off a potentially good purchase because of the roof, keep the following questions in mind:

How much life does the roof have left?

If the house is priced well and the roof still has several years left on it, you’re probably in good shape. If the roof is at the tail-end of its life, you may have a large expense immediately after purchasing it. Get a professional roof assessment to determine approximately how soon you’ll need to replace it.

Is the roof in safe condition?

Whether the roof is old or new, it needs to be safe. If there are noticeable holes, missing shingles, or soft spots, you will likely be dealing with extensive water damage in the not-so-distant future. Don’t purchase a house with an unsafe roof unless you’re prepared for the expenses that follow.

Do you plan to sell the house in the next few years?

If you aren’t going to be in this home long, you may not want the expense of a full roof replacement. This could eat away at whatever equity you may build in the next few years. Keep this in mind if the current seller is unwilling to replace the roof. It will be even harder to sell the same house in a few years if you do not take on the roof expense.

Could you negotiate a better purchase price based on the condition of the roof?

You might be able to use the roof’s condition to your advantage. You could either request the seller pay for replacement as part of the purchase, or you could lower the purchase price to accommodate for the repair. This will not work for every house, but it’s a way to get the house you want in spite of the roof’s age. Just make sure there isn’t any water damage in the attic because of the current roof’s condition.

Do you want to remodel the exterior of the home?

If you know you’re going to change the roof color anyway, the age of the roof may not matter much. As long as the roof is in decent shape and is insurable, you should be able to complete the purchase and plan for your exterior remodel. Consider your short- and long-term plans when you decide to buy a house with an old roof.

Get a Roof Estimate Before You Buy the House

The best way to make an informed decision about a questionable roof is to get a professional evaluation. Have a roofer you trust go up on the roof and analyze its true condition. If it’s in decent shape, great! If not, you may want to factor that into your negotiation strategies.

Contact McLean Roofing and Siding at (248) 524-1111 to schedule a roof inspection.