When buying a pre-owned home, there’s a good chance the roof is more than a few years old. Some fading and weathering are natural parts of the aging process for a roof, so you don’t necessarily need to worry about a roof that looks its age. You should know what roof damage looks like, though, and be prepared to discuss necessary repairs or roof replacement during negotiations.

How to Spot Roof Damage

Many roof problems can be observed from street level. Walk around the perimeter of the house to get a good angle on all sides. To dig deeper, your home inspector will climb up and take a firsthand look at the roof and the attic below. The seller should disclose certain types of damage, too.

Be on the lookout for these issues and ask the seller about any known roof repair needs.

  • Missing shingles or tiles
  • Warping or buckling
  • Asphalt granules washing off in the gutter
  • Old age (more than 15 years for asphalt shingles)
  • Damaged or absent flashing
  • Curled edges of the roof
  • Valleys or sinking areas
  • Mold damage

Roof replacement may be preferable so you can start life in your new house with no worries hanging over your head. The top reasons to go ahead and re-roof include leaks and mold damage, warping or broken tiles in more than one location, and older roofs that need repair now but will need replacement soon anyway.

Are Buyers or Sellers Responsible for Roof Repairs?

In some cases, discovering roof problems when buying a house can be a blessing in disguise. This is when you and the seller can work things out so you aren’t stuck with unexpected costs after move-in.

Some options for dealing with a roof replacement or repairs during the real estate process:

  • Require the seller to pay for repair or replacement
  • Get an estimate and reflect the cost in the home’s purchase price
  • Split the cost of roofing services
  • Plan on paying for roofing services yourself, but adjust your offer

A motivated seller will be happy to facilitate a deal by taking care of the roof immediately. Even if the buyer ends up paying for the work, it’s great to learn about what a healthy roof looks like during the discovery and negotiation phase.