Should I Repair My Roof Before Selling?

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Hi Dave,

I am planning to put my town home up for sale in the next 12-18 months. I’ve done a lot of remodeling on the inside and am happy with the results. Over the 5 years I’ve lived in this town home, the roof has suffered from the frequent high winds. 

In your opinion, would potential buyers be turned off by this (it’s most noticeable from the rear of the home and not so much in the front), even if I offered a lower price to reflect the need for a new roof? Or should I bite the bullet and spend the money now, even though my experience with local roofers was a nightmare when I had to have a minor repair done earlier this year? I dread dealing with replacing the whole roof, but I don’t want to turn buyers off either. Your input would be appreciated.

Cathi, Grand Junction


Cathi,

One thing I have learned over the years is, there are a few basic characteristics every home buyer expects as a “given” or “minimum expectation” when purchasing their home and having a functional roof is one of those expectations. Buyers expect, and rightly so, that the roof is in good condition with a minimum of 3-5 years remaining on the anticipated life expectancy. Because this is a basic expectation for any buyer, you can assume that very few, if any, are going to be willing to pay significantly more for the home because the roof is new or newer. In my experience a new roof has roughly the same value add as a 15 year old roof! If your roof is new the buyer may appreciate that it is in better condition than a competing house and this may help it sell somewhat faster, but as long as the life expectancy is more than 5 years don’t expect to reap any real tangible monetary benefits. However, conversely a roof in poor condition will likely cost you thousands more than the actual replacement costs! 

After 17 years of experience, here is what I would do…First, get the roof inspected by a licensed roofer of your own, before you go to sell. See if he can provide a 5 year life expectancy statement. Many roofers will not want to provide any life expectancy quotes as there are so many variables in life expectancy, but find one that will give you a “not going to hold you to it” ball park expectancy so you can make an educated decision. If you are 6+ years (since you will be selling in 1 year) just have him provide you a quote on replacement. Even though the quote will no longer be good, you will at least have an idea of the cost moving forward if it later becomes an issue. I believe it is always in a seller’s best interest to get a roofing quote when there is NOT a for sale sign in the front yard. This just lessens the potential for a conflict of interest and provides the best opportunity for straight up cost quote without a potential sale hanging in the balance. Ultimately if you get a licensed professional that says that it should last another 6+ years under normal conditions then I believe you are good to not replace and just move forward assuming that it will be non-issue, but prepared if it becomes a sticking point!

On the other hand, if the roofer says it is nearing the end of its useful life, then you have a couple options!

On the other hand, if the roofer says it is nearing the end of its useful life, then you have a couple options! If you know it needs to be replaced, just replace it! By replacing it you avoid a myriad of potential issues that can arise down the road and also eliminates the possibility that it becomes an issue during the inspection or appraisal. Even if you agree to replace the roof at the time of inspection it can cause a buyer to hesitate and re-think their purchase and it is best not to even open the “re-think your decision” door. Don’t even give a home inspector the opportunity to tarnish the buyer’s opinion of their new home, nip it in the bud now! I know, buying a new roof is about as sexy as putting in a new septic system or hooking your home up to city sewer…trust me, I know it’s not at the top of anybody’s list. When I had my home hooked up to city sewer it literally felt like flushing $15k down the toilet. A necessary cost that will never be recouped when/if we go to sell. If you know that it will need to be done, remove any chance of it becoming a point of contention down the road and bite the bullet now and have it replaced.

Just like anything there are good contractors and bad contractors. Don’t let your past experience dictate your decision or influence your future. You have time, ask around and find a reputable roofer who will provide a fair price and do a great job. If you are unable to find one, call us and we can provide you with several names and help you find the right one! Or you can check out our listed of trusted professional at PeopleWeTrust.net. I hope this helps!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team