The decision to purchase a home is one of the most important choices someone can make. Therefore, when going through  the home buying process, a prospective homeowner should pay close attention to the structure’s condition and appearance.

Arguably, a dwelling’s roof is amongst its most vital components. If a buyer finds their dream home, but notices the roof is damaged, they can be put in a dilemma.

The Importance Of A Healthy Roof

The roof is a home’s outer covering and protects its residents and their property from potentially dangerous elements like temperature extremes, precipitation and wind. A well-kempt roof not only improves the aesthetic quality of the residence but also is essential for the safety of the home.

In fact, a deteriorated roof can present significant purchasing challenges. Prior to being sold or purchased, all homes must undergo inspection. Those with discernibly damaged roofs are more likely to fail these examinations. Furthermore, mortgage companies and home insurance companies are less likely to offer loan agreements and coverage policies to purchasers of prospective structures, which could delay or seriously complicate the transaction process.

Signs Of A Failing Roof

The most important action a would-be homebuyer can execute is to perform their due diligence. Fortunately, there are several outward signs that individuals should look out for that might indicate a roof’s condition is questionable, including:

Damaged Shingles

Most roofs are made of  singles. Damaged shingles are almost always a surefire indication that the covering needs remediation or replacing. If shingles or broken, missing, have fallen to the ground or present an awkward appearance, immediate alarm bells should be raised. A few damaged shingles can be replaced. However,  buyers want to ensure it isn’t the first sign of major problem.s

Sagging Or Drooping

Should the roof droop or sag, there is a good chance said structure has sustained discernible water damage.

Plant Or Weed Growth

The appearance of any vegetation atop a roof is another major red flag. This is often indicative of excessive moisture on the covering.

Dark Streaks

The presence of stains, inconsistent color patterns, discoloration or dark stains often indicate water damage and possible leakages.

Steps A Prospective Homebuyer Can Take

Should a potential buyer notice any of the preceding problems, there are several actions they could perform, such as:

Assess The Damage

Sometimes, the appearance might be more severe than the actuality. Ergo, would-be purchasers who fall in love with the property and are intent to live in this location could hire a professional home examiner who can perform a private inspection. This investigation might demonstrate that the problems on the exterior have not yet impacted the interior. However, a licensed and experienced inspector might detect manifestations of leaks or other symptoms of a bad roof.

Request The Seller Perform Needed Remediation

The potential purchaser could request the seller perform needed repair or replacement. Even the simplest fixes can prove costly. Major repairs or roof replacement jobs often cost thousands and be time-consuming, which could ultimately delay the completion of any proposed property transaction. Therefore, the prospective buyer should not be surprised if the seller is reluctant to bear the responsibility for remediation.

On the other hand, if the seller must exit quickly for any number of reasons or stands to recoup a significant amount of money from a sale, said subject might bite the proverbial bullet and agree to take on the fix.

Ask The Seller To Lower The Asking Price

If the potential buyer desires the property in question, they  might agree to purchase the home in “as is” condition if the current owner agrees to reduce the sale price.

For example, the respective parties might agree on a fair sum to be taken off the listing price. Additionally, the prospective buyer could hire a private inspector or roofing contractor to determine the extent of the damage and estimate that the expected repair or replacement expenses would be and take those costs off the asking price. Case in point, if the seller was originally asking for $400,000 but the expected remediation costs are $10,000, the current owner could choose to reduce the asking price to $390,000.

A bad roof doesn’t have to crush your dream home. With a little research, you can be prepared on how to handle the situation if it arises.


Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist. She regularly produces content for a variety of moving blogs.