Roof Condition Is Cumulative but Easy to Overlook
Because most roofing materials are now manufactured to last for decades and most degradation happens very slowly, condition changes are easy to overlook. Wary buyers are far more likely to notice slight condition issues because they are viewing and comparing homes with roofs of all different ages. This can make them more alert to simple signs of shingle wear than the occupants of the homes they are viewing. Some of these subtle signs of wear include:
- Shingle edges that no longer lay flat
- Shingles with cracks or broken corners
- Fading, staining, or discoloration, particularly when this occurs only on portions of the roof
- Loss of texture, due to granule loss of the shingles
- Uneven roof surfaces that could be a sign of truss, sheathing, or support damage
Sellers are far more likely to notice easily visible damage such as missing shingles, or damage that occurs after a weather event, such as wind or hail damage. No matter the cause, all types of roof damage should be dealt with, as this is a problem that both prospective buyers and their home inspectors will certainly notice.
Latent Roof Defects Create Hidden Damage Over Time
In addition to visible issues that impact the condition, roofs can develop hidden or very hard-to-find defects. Tiny leaks can form along flashed areas, roof vents and pipes, and at seams that may leak for long periods of time before the homeowners are aware of a problem. When this happens, the sheathing materials, wood, and insulation that lay underneath the shingles, metal, or other types of roofing materials will be damaged. Over time, the leak will eventually seep through and saturate ceilings and walls inside the home. Insulation and interior surfaces of the home may suffer decay or develop mold and mildew growth long before the leak becomes visible on an interior wall or ceiling. Checking the roof before selling can help sellers find these kinds of issues and remedy them before buyers come by.
Pre-listing Roof Inspections Help Sellers Avoid Negotiation Issues During the Sale
Dealing with roofing issues found on a home inspection often means scrambling to make roofing repairs or replacements before the home sale can close or even losing out on the sale altogether. To avoid this type of problem, sellers may want to consider having a professional roof inspection when preparing their home for the market. If the inspection shows that the roof will need extensive repairs or replacement, it is usually better for the homeowner to handle them before listing, than to try to negotiate these issues with a prospective buyer.
Sellers that move forward with a roof replacement can also use this fact as a selling point when listing the home. Buyers who see the phrase “new roof” in the home’s listing description may favor the home over others because they know they will not have to deal with roof issues for many years after the purchase.