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Buying a Home? Roof Inspectors Will Save You Money

Are you planning on buying a home? Roof inspectors are an important part of the process which we explain in detail going forward. 

Checking a roof when buying a home is probably the best and sound advice we can give you – hence the need for roof inspectors. But we will get to that in a bit. Not only is the roof essential for keeping the elements out, it’s also a significant chunk of the overall value of the home. If the roof isn’t up to scratch, you could end up with a liability on your hands.

After all, buying a home is a huge investment. And you want to protect your investment from the start before you even make the purchase. A roofing problem can be very costly. If you can identify the problem prior to making a purchase you will be in a much better position.

Typical roofs in Indiana cost:  $6000 to $45,000 depending on factors such as the type of roof, size of course, and even the angles and grade. Last thing you want is to get stuck with a home that has a bad roof and you weren’t expecting it.

We recommend hiring roof inspectors prior to purchasing a house. But even before you do that, there are things you can look for yourself.

Has It Been Cared For Properly?

Doing your own personal roof inspection

The first thing to determine when buying a house is whether the current owner cared for the roof. Most owners will look after their roofs in an attempt to preserve the value of their homes. 

Conversely, others don’t put too much effort in maintaining, repairing or replacing their roof. As a buyer, it’s your job to check whether the current owner has done basic roof maintenance tasks. 

Of course if you don’t feel comfortable making these judgements on your own, the professionals at Ace Construction & Remodeling are here to help. They have experienced roof inspectors that know what to look for, even stuff that might be hiding!

Is Roof Ventilation Going To Be A Problem? 

Roof ventilation is important. It helps to keep humidity levels down. A lack of ventilation can wreak havoc because it allows condensation to build up. Condensation, if frequent, can provide a water source for the growth of mold. This might be unknown to you but mold is something that can damage your health.

A poorly ventilated roof can lead to other problems. Excess condensation in the attic leads to soggy insulation which can reduce its effectiveness. Homes with damp insulation do not retain heat as well as they should. As a result, this will increase your energy bills. Replacing insulation is expensive and something you’ll want to avoid.

Knowing and understanding what is appropriate ventilation really is best left to the roof inspectors. But you can surely take a peak in the attic looking for signs of condensation and mold.

How Long Before The Home Will Need A Replacement Roof? 

It may be difficult for you to determine the age of a roof. But where you can it will give you an idea of when you will have to foot the bill for a new roof. Of course, if it looks like it’s already lived it’s full life, then you might want to ask the seller to replace the roof prior to closing.

Roofing inspectors can’t tell you exactly what age the roof is, just by looking at it, but there are clues that give them an indication. You can also ask the seller for their paperwork on the roof. They may still have it and it would tell you the exact age of the roof. Keep in mind though that it doesn’t determine how many years are remaining. Roof inspectors can look at the age and how much it has worn in that time, as well as other factors to give you an idea of the remaining life of the roof.

When looking for a home to purchase, here is what roof inspectors recommend.

Before you make an offer

You can look for signs of problems. These are “clues” that there could be a significant problem. You don’t always know if the problem is current or a past issue that has been fixed. But you can ask the seller about it, or your real estate agent. If they don’t give you a straight answer, or don’t know the answer, it’s best to rely on a roofing inspector.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Are there water stains on the ceilings? If so, there is very likely a leak in the roof. It could be an old leak that was fixed. But if you find this, you will want to hire a roof inspector.
  • Is there fresh ceiling paint? Now this is not necessarily a bad sign. Seller’s often will repaint the inside of a house to give a clean look and help it to sell. But if you notice the walls haven’t been painted but the ceiling has, you may be looking at a cover up of water stains. Also realize that most paints wont cover a water stain. The stain usually bleeds into the paint and is also something to look out for. A special kind of paint is needed to cover the stains.
  • Do you notice curled shingles? Shingles tend to curl, particularly on the ends or corners. This is a natural thing that happens as the life of the roof gets old. It is an easy sign to know a roof replacement is coming due.
  • Are there missing shingles/tiles? If you see this, it is a sign the roof needs immediate attention. Often there is water damage from missing shingles. So if you notice missing shingles don’t assume it just needs a new shingle slapped up there. Roof inspectors are needed to come out and determine the extent of the damage.
  • Are water stains under the roof? If you have easy access, take a look in the attic. If you can see water stains on the deck boards, or running down the rafters take this very seriously. You could be looking at very expensive repairs.
  • Look for water damage fascia boards. You can look for cracks, peeling paint, discoloration all of which could be signs of problems.

After your offer has been accepted

You might be wondering if you really need a separate roof inspector if you are having a general home inspection? The answer is that it depends. It never hurts to be cautious and get it done.

But here are some things you should know. Home inspectors may have some general knowledge and can point out obvious problems (you may see these same problems yourself). But they are not experts when it comes to roofing. In fact, many home inspectors are well aware of this, so when they write their report they may recommend that you get roof inspectors to come do a separate roof inspection.

If the general home inspector recommends roof inspectors be hired, then you definitely should do it! It means they saw something that concerns them and you better get it checked out.

If you are in the Madison County area (Anderson) or Delaware County area (Muncie) call us for professional advice. Our roof inspectors will save you money in the long run.

When you or the roof inspectors find a problem, what are your choices?

  1. Ask seller to repair problem – You can always ask the seller to correct the problem. Just beware, some sellers will do the cheapest job possible, and you have little say in what is done or how it is done. After all, they are paying for it so they get to make the choices. It may lack quality, and may not appear as you would like.
  2. Ask seller for credit at closing – This will allow you to handle the repairs after closing. You never want to do or pay for the repairs prior to closing, just in case for any reason you don’t end up closing on the house. If that happened, you will have paid for repairs on the seller’s house and have no way to get your money back. You can also lower your offer by how much you believe the repairs will cost you. Your real estate agent can help you with this. It is effectively the same end result as the credit at closing. If you choose this route, make sure you have the cash available to do the work. Sometimes buyers only think about the cash needed to get into the house. Then they are unprepared and cannot make the repairs that are needed, even when they get a lower offer accepted. And then deterioration accelerates and things get worse in a hurry.
  3. Leave negotiations alone and accept the house “as-is.” Of course the problem is all yours then. Be sure you have the financial resources needed to handle all repairs.
  4. Rescind your offer, walk away, get your earnest money back.
    • Structural damage to the roof (cracked or deteriorating roof beams) – this can be a serious problem and very costly. And potentially a problem for the mortgage company. They may no longer be willing to extend you a loan on the property. And unless you are a cash buyer, you may need to walk away.
    • Water damages mentioned before – can be fixed, but if it’s serious enough that it causes structural instability, mold, and other problems that are difficult to fix, you may need to walk away from this one.
    • Building code/permit issues – occasionally a roofing job may have been done without obtaining the proper permits (inspections to see if it meets local building codes). This could become your problem when purchasing the house. You could end up having to pay a bunch of fees for county/city building inspectors to issue a permit. But if they find issues that don’t meet code, they could ask you to get them fixed, or even require the work to be redone all over again (roof replacement). And they are not going to give you the permit until you do what they tell you to do. With roof inspectors checking things out, they will be able to determine if there are code violations. If so, then you have to do some more investigating, or a choice to make about whether to walk away.

If the roof inspectors report shows bad things – does that mean I shouldn’t buy the house?

Not necessarily. After all, you probably fell in love with the house, so it may be a great house for you and your family. But on the investment side you need to consider a few more things if you still want the house.

How long do you plan to live in the house?

Do you have the money to immediately make repairs? Will the seller help cover the cost of the repairs, and/or replace the roof entirely?

What additional repairs & upgrades will you need to make in the future, and how much will they cost? For answers to this a professional roofing company can be very helpful.

Whose responsibility is the roof repairs/replacement?

Like other home repairs & upgrades, it really depends on whether it is truly a need, or just a personal preference.

If you don’t like the color of the roof and you see it has about half its life remaining, then the roof doesn’t really NEED to be replaced. Asking for this from the seller in this situation might not get you very far. Perhaps they may split the costs with you.

On the other hand, if there are damaged areas of the roof and the roof is showing its age. Then that roof NEEDS to be replaced and since the seller has lived there during the life of that roof, we think it would be the seller’s responsibility.

But in the end, it’s all negotiable. We suggest you consider the “needs repair versus wanting upgrades” approach to who should be responsible for repairs & roof replacement.

Who pays for the roof inspectors?

Just like the general home inspector, roof inspectors fees are usually the responsibility of the buyer. But it is well worth it for your protection, peace of mind, and considering the size of this investment.