Is It A Good Idea To Buy A Home With A 20-Year-Old Roof?

Posted on: 18 August 2017

When most people buy a home--unless they're specifically looking for a fixer-upper--they want to ensure they won't have to make any major repairs in the next couple of years. This is particularly true when it comes to the roof. Having to replace the roof a year or two after you move in is really not ideal, especially since there may be leaks and other issues to deal with as the roof approaches the end of its life. But what about a roof that's about 20 years old? Is that one you should be worried about, or should you purchase the home and not worry about it? You'll need to dig a bit deeper to find out.

What is the roof made from?

This is the first important question to ask when deciding whether a 20-year-old roof is a big deal. If the roof is made from standard asphalt shingles, then a 20-year-old roof likely needs to be replaced very soon. (Asphalt shingles last about 20 years). Cedar shakes typically only last 20 years, too. However, if the roof is made from metal, slate, or clay tiles, then 20 years is like nothing. Metal roofs can last up to 80 years, and slate and tile roofs often last for 100 years. 

How does the roof look?

It's pretty easy to tell whether a roof is in good shape or not. As long as you have some basic common sense and are not afraid to climb on a ladder, you can probably make this determination yourself rather than having to call an inspector.

Signs that the roof is starting to deteriorate and will need to be replaced soon include:

  • Shingles that are peeling along the edges.
  • Missing shingles.
  • Moss growing between and over certain portions of the shingles.
  • Flashing (the metal around the chimney) is peeling or beginning to separate from the roof surface.
  • The insulation in the attic seems moist or moldy. (This could be a sign of a leak.)

Can you negotiate the price down to cover the cost of a new roof?

Even if the roof does need to be replaced pretty soon, you may still be getting a great deal on the home if you can negotiate the price down based on the fact that the roof isn't in great condition. For instance, if the owners are asking $120,000 for the home but it will need a new roof soon, you could offer them $110,000 and put the $10,000 you save towards replacing the roof.

If the owners are not willing to negotiate based on the roof, don't lose hope yet. Chances are they will have trouble finding another buyer if they won't bend on the price; others won't want a home with a decaying roof, either. You may be able to make another offer in a few weeks and they may willingly accept it at that point.

Can a roofing contractor make a few repairs to extend the roof's life?

If you really like the home but don't think replacing the roof will be an option any time soon, consider having roofing contractors out to evaluate the roof. They can look it over and tell you whether repairing any minor problems will be sufficient to get a few more years out of the roof. Then, you can replace it a few years down the road when you've recovered financially from the big purchase of a home.

Buying a home with a 20-year-old roof is not always a death sentence. If the roof is made from something other than asphalt or cedar, it may have many years left. And if the roof does have some damage, you might be able to get a great deal on the home or make some minor repairs.

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The Importance Of Roof Repair

One day last month while it was raining outside, my wife and I noticed that water was dripping inside the house. We placed a bucket under the drip so the water wouldn't ruin the floor. The next day, I called a roofing company and a contractor came to the house and inspected our roof. The contractor discovered that several shingles were missing from our roof and that's what caused the leak. The day after the roof inspection, the roofers came to our home and replaced the missing shingles. That night it rained again and my wife and I were glad that the roof leak was fixed. My name is Timothy Warren and I'm writing this blog to inform others about roof leaks and the importance of roof repair. I hope that by reading this blog, you can avoid costly damage to your home because of a leaky roof.

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