Inspecting a Roof When Buying a Home

Inspecting a Roof When Buying a Home

Buying a home is extremely stressful, especially if there are unforeseen problems. Pre-owned homes are expensive and you don’t want to have any problems before moving in, especially with the roof.

Take a look at these facts:

  • A typical roof repair can cost $350 to $2,000+
  • A roof replacement can cost $6,000 to $45,000 depending on the type of roof.


Let’s be clear: This is a guide for roof inspections. It will help you avoid buying a house with a poor roof, or paying too much for one. There are multiple ways to fix this problem, including spray foam insulation, roof cement, vent boots, and more.

Inspecting a Roof When Buying a Home

Check For Signs of Water Infiltration Before You Accept the Offer

In order to best decide on the offer you would like to put down on the home, keep an eye out for potential roofing problems when you see the house for the first time. At times, if a home has one or more of these problems, the home won’t sell!

There are many things that you can search for, whether it’s an open or private showing.

  • Ceilings stained by water: This is a sure sign that there is a leak.
  • Fresh ceiling paint: This can indicate a roof leak or that someone tried to cover up water stains.
  • Curled Shingles: Curling at the edges of asphalt shingles and cedar shakes homes are signs that they have reached the end of their useful life. 
  • Tiles and shingles missing: RED ALERT – If tiles or shingles have been missing for some time, there could be water damage.
  • Water Stains beneath the roof: Look around the attic for signs of water infiltration.
  • Fascia boards damaged by water: Check for cracks or discoloration on the fascia boards surrounding the roof. This could be an indication of an old roof.

It’s easier to spot potential problems with shingle or flat roofs because they are more visible. While tile roofs may look great from the outside, they can conceal serious problems such as leaks and cracks. When you feel that the underlayment has become brittle and you can see that the roof’s waterproofing layer is worn over time, it needs to be replaced and it is best to do so every 12-20 years. Ask the seller when the last time the underlayment was replaced. You may want to reconsider your offer if they begin sweating profusely! This is something that should have been taken care of when preparing for the home sale.

Inspecting a Roof When Buying a Home

During Escrow, Listen to Your General Inspector

Buyers often ask if they are required to have a separate inspection of their roof.

Answer: Yes, provided that the general inspector requests it.

Home inspectors are qualified to spot potential problems. They aren’t roofing experts. They will recommend separate inspections if they spot a problem.

Inspecting a Roof When Buying a Home

How to Handle a Problem

Let’s say that a reputable roofing company discovers a serious issue with the roof. What should you do?

There are a few choices:

  • Ask the seller for the completion of the roof repair/re-roofing.
  • For roof repairs or replacements, ask for credit.
  • Keep going without ever negotiating.
  • Resign from the deal

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