Get a Roof Inspection Before Buying a Home

6 Questions Every Homebuyer Should Ask About the Roof Before Buying a Home

roof-structure-15391776_sSooner or later the condition of the home’s roof you’re considering buying will come into question. Sometimes, curled, missing or otherwise damaged roofing shingles can be seen by the naked eye from the ground level. Other times, damage is detected during the inspection. No homebuyer wants to be in a situation where roofing problems and the expense to repair them are revealed after closing, making a roofing inspection critical BEFORE you buy a home.

  1. What type of roof is it?  There are many types of roofing shingles from different manufacturers. Some perform better and last longer than others. Some roofing materials involve more maintenance than others. In the Bay Area, asphalt (or composition) roofing shingles are extremely common and highly durable if properly installed.
  2. How old is the roof? The type of roof can determine how long its integrity will last. Asphalt roofing shingles today are manufactured to last several decades, while wood shake roofs have shorter life spans. Environment and weather events can impact a roof’s lifespan. Age isn’t a defining number when it comes to determining lifespan, but it certainly helps.
  3. What is the overall condition of the roof? An experienced roofer is your best source of information for answering this question. While age plays a factor in condition, installation methods and other circumstances do also. Not all damage is immediately noticeable. With a roof inspection, you can be more confident that even invisible issues can be caught.
  4. Has the current owner made any roof repairs (by choice or necessity) recently? Ask exactly what work was performed and verify that with the receipts. Do a little research on the roofer’s reputation. There might also be a transferable warranty on the materials or workmanship that you could assume after purchase that could protect you in the future.
  5. Are there visible signs of roof leakage on the ceiling or walls? Cabinets, closets, ceilings and corners are all good places to look for evidence of roof leaks. Fresh paints in these areas could indicate an attempt to cover up water stains from a roof leak, but paint is not a repair.
  6. Is the roof still under warranty? Many asphalt shingle manufacturers offer a 40-year or lifetime warranty on their products. Roofing contractors can cover their installation or repair work with a workmanship warranty. These warranties vary. Be sure to check with your agent on whether or not any warranties are in effect and transferrable to you. Signature Roofing offers a 10-year, $5,000, fully transferable workmanship warranty practically free of legal jargon.

To ensure you’re getting a good roof over your head, know the answers to these roofing questions before signing on the dotted line. Leaking or unsafe roofs should be repaired or replaced by the homeowner or the cost to do so deducted from the sale price. If you can’t come to a mutual agreement, you always have options to walk away or pay for the repairs out of pocket if you can’t bear to let the home slip away.

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