Should I Buy a House That Needs a New Roof?

Deciding whether or not to buy a house that needs a new roof is a subjective decision that relies on many factors. The home may be otherwise perfect, except for the one flaw of a bad roof.

The price may be too enticing to walk away from, despite the cost of replacing the roof. The temptation to invest in an up-and-coming area could be the reason. There are several things to consider before investing in a home that you know carries the burden of extra investment in repairs.

Despite the pitfalls, replacing a roof and buying a home may still make sense. Keep reading to find out why.

How Bad Is the Damage?

You might think a roof is so bad that you have to replace everything, but that may not always be the case. I recommend that you get a qualified roofer to perform an inspection before making any decisions.

In some cases, you may see that the roof leaks or has moldy or mossy areas, and you are right to assume you have to replace everything. However, an inspection may reveal that a few tiles or shingles came loose or you need new roofing cement. In such cases, you only need to get a roof repaired instead of replacing everything.

The other possibility to consider is that you may find out that a roof you can have repaired leaked for so long that the damage to the interior is your real problem. Over time, wood rot can irreparably damage the frame of a house.

Caught in time, methods such as sistering can repair the damage from wood rot. If you are too late, you might have to get the whole wooden frame rebuilt. If the damage is that severe, buying the home may not make sense unless the current owner pays or helps with the costs.

How Can I Fund a New Roof?

The good news about seeking funds to pay for a new roof is that you have options. This is especially comforting if you know paying for a new roof isn’t in your budget, and there’s no way you’re getting a loan for a house with a bad roof.

Approach the Seller First

Think about selling a home from a psychological perspective. Why does the seller have the house up for sale? Very simply, because they want to sell the house, right?

If you’re reasonable and honest about the problems you’ve discovered with the roof, the seller may be willing to meet you halfway on the costs or possibly replace the roof at no cost.

We recommend you to always ask for more than you think you will receive, “the big ask.” Start at 100%. Ask for a new roof paid for by the homeowner. Let the seller negotiate the price down a bit without agreeing to go lower than fifty-fifty.

Don’t get too nitpicky in negotiations. If the seller doesn’t want to accept your offers, back off and find a different approach. After all, you don’t want them to throw their hands up and walk away.

What if the Seller Won’t Budge?

In some cases, you try everything to get a seller to help you buy the house by paying to fix the roof, but they won’t cooperate. What are your options? Of course, you can move on and look for another house for sale.

Sometimes people get attached to homes, and the roof is the only sticking point. If that one problem gets fixed, everything else is perfect. In these cases, prospective buyers have other options to get extra money to replace the roof.

Approach the Homeowner’s Insurance Company

Note that most types of insurance will not grant any coverage to a home with an old roof or one that needs replacing. However, speak with your real estate agent because the seller probably already has homeowners insurance. 

The insurance provider will want to know the age of the roof and how the damage occurred. Once they have this information, they may be willing to pay for a new roof or cover part of the cost.

The only hurdle left if insurance will pay is to find out if the roof is more than ten years old. If so, the homeowner will probably only receive the value of the depreciated roof, which may derail the negotiation.

Consider a Home Improvement Loan

You may have heard of a type of self-employment called house flipping. Not everyone who enters that line of work has the money to buy a rundown house and invest in fixing the problems. For these types of situations, there is a type of loan for purchase and renovation.

The most convenient part is that you don’t have to seek one loan for purchasing the house and another for renovation. One home improvement loan can cover the cost of buying the home and making necessary repairs.

Such a loan means you don’t have to scramble to find extra funds. If you are getting a loan to buy a home, you have committed to the idea of paying off a mortgage for at least fifteen years anyway.

With such a commitment being inevitable for most people, if you fall in love with a fixer-upper that needs a new roof, you might as well get the repairs done and have the house you want. Just be very careful about getting qualified people to check for damage so you don’t move into a money pit.

In Closing

After weighing the pros and cons carefully, you may decide that making an offer on a home that needs a new roof makes sense. The good news is, as a buyer, you have several options, a couple of which might result in you paying nothing for a new roof.

Conversely, you may get a new roof and notice no difference in paying off the loan you would have to pay regardless. If everything about the house is right except the roof, don’t walk away because of this singular issue. You have options.

We wish you the best of luck in your search for a new home.

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