Apart from the HVAC system, a roof is often the most expensive area of a home to replace. So what should you do if you're buying a new home? Many people can't recognize roof damage on their own, so they need a helping hand. Here are a few tips.
Find Out How Old the Roof Is
Most roofs are going to last approximately fifteen to twenty years. Traditional shingle roofs last up to twenty years while wood shake roofs can last up to thirty. If the roof is nearing the end of its expected lifespan, you can pretty much assume that you're going to have to replace it. You may need to replace it sooner if you're in an area with extreme weather (and it may last a little longer if you're in an area with fairly moderate weather).
Inspect the Roof Visually
When inspecting the roof visually, you're looking for abnormalities. This could be new areas of the roof that have patches or areas that have shingles missing. Any defect generally indicates damage, and even though there are areas that may have new shingles, the roof under those shingles may not be new. Ask the seller about anything that you notice.
Look for Signs of Poor Maintenance
Most roof damage occurs not because of weather, but because of a lack of maintenance. On an annual basis, a homeowner is supposed to take a look at their roof and inspect it for any potential damage. If it doesn't seem that the current homeowner has done this, there may be additional problems.
Take a look at whether tree branches are scraping against the roof and whether the gutters are clean. Significant amounts of moss or lichen are another sign of poor maintenance.
Go through the Attic
The attic will also give you a good idea of the roof's condition. In the attic, look for any signs of staining and warping. Staining means that there was once a leak there. Whether it's resolved or not is a question to ask the seller. In addition to staining, you may also find mold or mildew throughout the attic. That's a good indication that moisture is getting into the attic from somewhere, whether it's an HVAC problem or the roof leaking.
Make Sure Your Home Inspector Checks
At the ending stages of negotiations, you'll usually have a home inspector do a complete walkthrough. But many home inspectors don't actually get on a ladder and inspect the roof - you need to request this. Make sure your home inspector does look at the roof in full to identify any potential problems. Though a home inspection can't catch everything, they will notice obvious defects.
Get Bids and Prepare to Negotiate
If you've found that the roof does need replacement, now is the time to get bids for a new roof. These estimates should be based on the current roof, its style, and its square footage. You can then go back to the sellers and begin playing hardball. Because the roof does need replacement, you may be able to negotiate a lower cost for the price. But don't forget that adding a new roof will also increase your home's value if you resell.
If your dream home does need a new roof, don't worry. Knowing that your home needs a new roof is really just the first step towards negotiating a great deal. Before you get started, contact the experts at DeMello Roofing - with a quote in hand, you'll be able to put in an offer.