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How Do You Buy a House That Needs a New Roof?

Finding a dream home that has everything you need to create the life you want can be an exciting time. You may be ready to buy that property and feel pretty good about it going forward, except the roof is bad. There are leaks or areas of missing shingles. You’re worried about the work and cost but also concerned about whether or not the mortgage lender will approve the loan with this type of work. What can you expect?

Can You Get a Mortgage on a House That Needs a New Roof?

The first step is to determine the scope of the work. If there are a few areas of leaks or minor issues, this may not be a deal breaker for the lender. On a large-scale problem that requires the replacement of the roof itself, there may be limitations. 

A big concern is whether or not the insurance company will agree to provide you with coverage for the property with the leak. If they refuse to do so, the lender will not approve the loan moving forward. 

Some insurance companies will provide 30 days for the repairs to be made. In this situation, the insurer will provide you with coverage at the time of closing and then give you 30 days to get the work done. They may require a confirmation from a roofer of what work is needed as well as the overall date of when the repairs can be made.

Red House with blue sky in minneapolis roofing companies picture

Have the Seller Replace the Roof

One of the most important considerations as you look at a home that needs this type of repair, is what the seller can do for you. If they have not had any offers or may want to sell fast, they may be willing to make the repairs to the roof necessary so that the property can pass inspection and insurance can be applied to it.

If the seller is motivated, your real estate agent could write into the contract that the seller will pay for and ensure the roof is replaced. The closing may not happen until this occurs. Keep in mind that if this is the route taken, the seller needs to ensure the work is done as agreed so that it is not just a quick fix that is completed that becomes a problem for you later.

Financing Options for a New Roof on a New House

If you decide to move forward with the purchase of the new house with the damaged roof, it may be up to you to get it repaired and replaced fast. To do that, you will need to consider financing the project. The size and scope of the project determine the expected costs. Most often, roofing companies will come to the property and provide a full estimate of the work, so you know what to expect.

You may wish to finance the new roof. If so, turn to the roofing contractor for insight. Some offer loan programs that could support the ability to replace the roof. You may also be able to turn to local lenders such as your bank or credit card lender for help. 

What the Home Inspector Will Be Able to Tell You About the Roof

Interior photo of unfinished attic in Minneapolis home

A home inspector is a professional who works for you (if you’ve hired them) and should be able to provide you with a solid breakdown of what is happening with the roof. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, a typical inspection is done from the ground and should include:

  • The estimated age of the roof. Depending on the type of materials used, the inspector may be able to give you an idea of when the roof will need to be replaced. Some roofing materials last 10 years while others last 30. Beyond an installation date, they can use signs of wear and tear to provide more accurate information.
  • The areas of damage. The inspector may spot signs of damage and wear and tear. They may spot the water leaks inside the home while also providing insight into areas of danger, such as areas where the roof is so weak it could collapse. Keep in mind that a home inspector may not be able to tell you the full extent of the damage. 
  • The types of repairs needed: The roof inspector may also provide insight to you about the types of repairs needed. For example, if it already has several layers of roofing material, it may need a full tear off and replacement. 
  • The estimated cost of the repairs. While the inspector may not be able to tell you the actual cost of the project, they may be able to give you a range of costs. That way, you can then gain insight into whether to move forward with the work or not.
  • The damage the roof has caused. In some situations, the inspector will pinpoint areas of concern, such as mold in the attic or the home that is brought on by the leaking roof. They may also be able to pinpoint any structural or foundation damage caused by the roof’s condition.

With all of this information, you can then make a decision on what to do moving forward. It is a good idea to call a local roofing company to get an accurate estimate of the cost of replacing the roof so that this information is fully understood before moving forward. If there are any signs of damage in the home or due to the roof, the inspector may be able to inform you of that, but it takes a roofing company to tell you what it takes to replace or repair the roof.

What Home Buyers Should Remember

It may be possible to obtain a mortgage on a home with a roof that is in bad condition if the home inspector does not see any imminent danger in living within that home, and the insurance company will cover it. Otherwise, it may be important to see financial compensation from the seller to help cover the cost of the repairs before you can move into the home.

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