How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
Should I buy a house with an old roof?
Thursday, August 23, 2018
To evaluate purchasing a house with an old roof, answer the following two-part question: does the roof have 5 years or more of life left and, if not, how will I handle the cost of a new roof?
1) Does the roof have 5 years or more of life left? If your home inspector determines that it does not, then it may be difficult to get insurance, even if there are no active leaks found. Also, a 3-tab shingle roof that is 20 years old or more will be considered by insurance companies to be at the end of its lifespan, no matter what the condition.
Because securing a mortgage to buy a home requires that homeowners insurance be in place at time of closing, a roof with less than 5 years of life means no insurance and therefore no mortgage. See our blog "Should I buy a house that needs a new roof?" for what to do next.
2) If the roof has more than 5 years of life left, but not much more, can you prepare for the upcoming $5,000 to $15,000 (or more) bill? You will have recovered from the initial drain on your savings account caused by the downpayment on the house, but will you realistically be ready for that second hit a few years later? If not, perhaps you should find another house. While your realtor may be able to negotiate a small price reduction based on the roof condition, that will only end up reducing your mortgage payment.
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