Updated Sept 23, 2020
When it comes to selling your home, the roof should be a priority. Nothing can derail a home sale faster than concerns over a roof.
First impressions are everything
From the moment a perspective buyer first sees your home, the condition of your roof could make or break the deal. Curb appeal matters. A dirty, stained roof, one covered in moss, and gutters visibly full of leaves and tree debris can turn off a buyer enough that they don’t want to look further.
Beyond the appearance, not maintaining your roof/cleaning your gutters creates the perception you skipped out on other performing other routine maintenance around the house. That could raise concerns about potentially costly repairs after the sale. In a buyer’s market, you will lose the sale before they walk in the front door (and the buyer likely won’t ever walk through it).
How your roof looks when selling will not always deter a buyer. Everything else about your home may make it ideal. Maybe it’s in the perfect location or the right size. That doesn’t mean the roof won’t have a negative effect, especially in a buyer’s market.
A dirty, moss covered roof will require some maintenance for the new owner. That means another expense. With the possibility for other damage to be found, you can expect the offer you receive to be lower than what you are asking. With roof replacement costs at $5000 on the low end to more than $15000, the offer could be significantly less.
Once there is an agreed price and a contract, the lender will require an appraisal. Appraisals are based on the current condition of the home. This will ensure the lender isn’t financing a home for more than it is worth. A roof which looks neglected is a potential red flag. It may be seen as a sign of ignored or deferred maintenance. A home with a roof which may require replacement could be appraised lower than the agreed upon price.
The appraisal value on your property will suffer if the condition of your roof is in disarray. The roof is an integral component of the construction of your home and a neglected roof can land your property in the fixer-upper category.
It’s no different than a car. The more damage, the less it is worth.
“Properties must meet certain minimum standards before a lender will place a loan, and if there is evidence of any deferred maintenance on the property, the mortgage will be declined.” ~ My Mortgage Insider
Getting the offer and the appraisal doesn’t mean you are home free. There will almost always be an inspection.
As the seller, you already know there are a few issues. The buyer likely will too. Most of those will be easy to negotiate during the process. It’s the unknowns uncovered during the home inspection which can be challenging.
The most common conditions discovered during a home inspection are the things seldom seen. One of the biggest is the roof. It could be something small – damaged or missing shingles, issues with flashing – or it could be a recommendation to replace the roof. The latter could bring the process to a screeching halt, force repairs/replacement as a condition for the sale, or a significantly reduce price.
The seller will generally be required to obtain homeowner’s insurance prior to closing. This is the last potential hurdle. Even if the inspection shows roof issues and the buyer and seller negotiate a deal, the insurance company could opt not to cover the home.
The insurance company’s primary goal is to reduce risk. A roof which could be questionable means considerable risk. It could fail before the new owner repairs or replaces it. More, there is the risk that mold or other damage already exists which could be discovered later. At the end of the process, after everything has been agreed to and signed off on, your roof’s condition can still impact selling your home.
Prevent your roof from affecting the sale
Once you have made the decision that you will be selling your home:
- Have your roof inspected. This will prevent surprises later. It will provide an opportunity to fix potential issues BEFORE the process starts and eliminate surprises.
- Have your roof and gutters cleaned, if necessary.
- Have any repairs done by a professional. A poor repair could be a red flag to an inspector.
A simple roof inspection (which we do at no cost) done BEFORE putting your home on the market could save you money and time.