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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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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