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Everything You Need To Know About Selling A House With A Bad Roof

By Jamie Richardson | September 27, 2022

You can sell a home that needs a new roof if you're willing to make repairs. It actually happens more than you think. There are always sellers that know that their home needs a new roof, but they want to list and sell it "as-is".  But, there are a lot of things you need to consider before selling your home.

If you want to sell a house with a bad roof, there are some things you need to know.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán

There Are Two Ways To Sell Your House When You Have A Leaky Roof

If you've noticed that your ceiling has water stains, damaged siding, or deteriorating flashing around chimney flues and vents, you need to deal with the problem immediately. You might be able to fix the damage yourself by replacing some of the shingles or flashing, but if not, you could end up having to replace the whole roof.

  1. You could sell your house without having to replace the entire structure. Instead, let the buyer replace the roof.
  2. You'll first need to replace the roof yourself and then sell the house.

We'll go through the specifics of each method when it comes to selling your home. We'll discuss what's good and what isn't so good about both options.

First, let's look at some of the challenges that might occur if you're selling a property with a bad roof.

There Are Several (Potential) Issues That May Occur When Selling A House That Needs A New Roof

If you want to sell your house for top dollar, you need to repair or replace the roof.

Most buyers don't usually have a large amount of money, so they often use their banks' financing to help them buy homes. However, when buying a house, most people don't have enough money to repair any issues that occur after they take possession of the home. That is a main reason why most lenders require an inspection of the property before they lend the money.

Most states mandate that homeowners fill out a residential disclosure form which includes specific disclosures about the roof. If this form doesn't specifically ask for the roof, it will tell you to disclose any significant issues with the roof.

The appraiser will notice this form along with the purchase agreement. If the roof needs to be replaced, that will significantly reduce the amount the buyers can borrow. That could decrease the loan amount the homeowners can take out to buy the residence. The buyer may have to come up with the difference in cash, and many buyers don't have it. 

Lenders view all of the appraisals. They will then request an inspection. The home will serve as the security for the bank’s investment. They must ensure that they can recover any lost funds if the borrower fails to repay them. The bank needs to be able to resell the home in case of default.

Water leaks from the roof may be an indication of larger issues at your property. If so, lenders may turn down your loan application due to the condition of the property, which could lead to additional costs for repairs.

If a seller wants to sell their house for the top dollar, they may want to consider fixing their home before putting it on sale. Lenders usually require these repairs to be done prior to selling the house. Any improvement you make to the home will help increase its value.

Sell the House without Making Repairs (but you get less)

If you want to get rid of your house fast, selling it as-is may be the best option for you. We've already talked about why this works well, so let's move on.

We'll now discuss how to market to as-is residential property owners.

What Kind Of Buyer Would Purchase A Home With A Leaky Roof As Is?

A homeowner trying to sell your house without fixing the leaky roof, then you may not get any offers at all. And if you do get an offer, they may require you to replace the roof before close.

If your want to sell your home without making repairs, look for a buyer:

  • Will pay you cash for your home
  • Isn't worried about a roof in poor condition
  • Probably someone who won't be living in the property

When buying real estate, investors are looking for properties that require some repair and/or renovation. They invest their money most effectively when they purchase these properties at below-cost prices and do the necessary work themselves.

They will make most of their own carpentry repairs. However, for other work that requires licensed tradesmen or special skill sets, they hire subcontractors who they've used before.

Investors can do most of their own renovations at a lower cost than hiring contractors who can do the job.

House flipping is an investment strategy where one buys a property for cheap, fixes it up, and sells it at a profit.  

Investors who specialize in larger property deals look nationwide for suitable houses.  

There Are Several Advantages To Selling A House With A Bad Roof To An Investor

Selling (The Property) "As Is"

When selling your home in poor shape as-is, you do not have to repair the issue yourself. You do not have to spend money on inspections and other fixes.  And that is if you have the cash readily available.

Selling (The Property) For Cash

Investors who purchase homes for cash often do so because they can avoid paying fees associated with traditional mortgage financing. These investors may not care about the condition of the property. They simply want to own the property outright and make money. . In addition, these investors may not require an inspection report prior to purchasing the property.

Selling Quickly

Investors are knowledgeable.  They are constantly reviewing properties and the real estate market. They can assess your house’s worth for themselves. They do not have to await an appraisal, inspection, or lender to complete the transaction. They may close within 14 days.

You Won't Pay Any Realtor Fees Or Closing Costs.

Real Estate buyers don't use realtors (usually). Sellers don't pay commission. They often include closing costs in their offers so that they don't have to pay out any cash at the closing.

Fewer Hiccups Than In A Traditional Sale

You don't need to use traditional marketing methods that normally include holding an open house, marketing the property on MLS, and leaving your home due to a tour or showing, because you're going to be dealing with someone else exclusively.

Cons Of Selling A Home With A Bad Roof To An Investment Company

Due to the high costs associated with repairing a property, investors usually pay less than fair market value for a house like theirs. Many sellers won't like the offer.

On the other hand, if you take into account the repair costs, closing cost, time, and uncertainty associated with selling through a traditional agent, buying from an investor might be your best option.

How To Receive Top Dollar From An Investor?

If you're going to pitch an investor, then it's always better to get at least two or three different investment opportunities. Make sure that each one has its own merits. And be sure to check out their track record before investing.

  • Buy in your area
  • Are interested in buying fixer uppers.
  • Experienced
  • Have a track record
  • Have proof of funds

You can waste a lot of (your precious) time searching for investors like this, and even more time reading through their reviews.

Replace The Roof Before Selling The House

With a roof replacement,  you pay for the repairs and then list the house for sale yourself, (maybe) without using a real estate agent.

Photo by Mr. Roofers

How Do You Know If Your Roof Is Bad?

If your house has a leaky ceiling, there are several things you should do.

If your roof is damaged, check for leaks. You may need to fix any holes or cracks in your roof.

If you already have moisture issues in your roof because of a leaky roof, you might have mold.

If the problem was due to damage from a storm or earthquake, then you should contact your insurance company. They will assign someone to inspect the damage and determine whether it is covered under your insurance plan. If the damage is not covered under your insurance plan, they will tell you so.

After that, have your roof inspected by a professional roofer who has been certified by the National Roof Contractors Association (NRCA).

You then choose a roofing contractor who is licensed and insured.

Find out how much the job will cost before starting any project. Before hiring anyone, make sure to ask about warranties and guarantees. Make sure you get everything in writing and check references. You can find a reputable contractor through online resources such as Angie's List, Yelp, Home Advisor, Zillow, TrustedPros, and others.

Make sure they clean off the shingle debris before removing them. Otherwise, you may get some nail fragments stuck inside the shingles when they're removed. 

They should be able to handle all repair jobs related to the damage. Don't use any kind of covering material on top of the old shingling or flashing.

How Much Does Repairing Or Replacing A Roof Cost?

Roof repair costs can vary considerably depending on a variety of factors.

  • Where the property is located
  • Type of materials used
  • Roof shape and complexity

Roofing costs break down into about 40 percent for material expenses and 60 percent for overhead and labor. If you're planning to replace your roof, you'll need to budget about $4,800 for overhead and labor and about 3,200 dollars for material expenses.

On average, repairing a house's flat roofs costs about $885.

According to FIXR replacement costs for roofs range from $7,000-$24,000. The cost can vary considerably.

Let's take a look at some of the reasons why roof repair costs can vary so greatly.

The Roof Inspection

An inspection of your house should be done by a licensed professional who will look at several different aspects of your house to determine its overall health.

  • Materials – how old are the roof materials, is the wear-and-tare normal for that age, has there been any damage from weather or storm such as hailstorms?
  • Are there any saggy or uneven places on the rooftop?
  • Roof leaks – Is your roof performing its intended function?

Roof inspections usually range from $120 to $3200. They could be more expensive depending on the size and complexity of your roof.

Some regions may not be able to conduct roof inspections during the coldest part of the year, so plan ahead for when they might occur.

Permits Required

You need to contact your local government for details regarding permits.

Once the job is finished, make sure that your construction company orders any final inspection and completes the permit.

Building permit costs vary depending on the size and scope of the project. For example, a small residential remodel could be priced at between $150 and $400, whereas a large commercial renovation would likely cost thousands of dollars.

Roofing Materials

Roofs come in a wide variety of different types and styles. You can choose from a wide array of roofing material options at varying prices.

Calculating the roofing cost is done using roofing squares, which are 10 feet by 10 feet (100 sq ft).

  • Shingle prices range from $1.50 to $5.50 per square foot.
  • Metal shingles cost between $9 to $12 per sq. ft.
  • Solar shingles are between $20-$25 per square ft.
  • Standard asphalt shingles cost less than architectural shingles, but they're not always better.


First let’s talk about average costs. In the United States, the average cost for a roof installation ranges between $3-$6 per sq ft. This can vary depending on the size and shape of your roof and what type of material you choose.

Roofing costs vary depending on the complexity of the roof. Some roofing materials are easier to install than others.

Roofing materials cost money. A steeply sloped roof requires extra effort and equipment to cover. That means more expense. 

Location and seasonality affect your cost. For example, in some regions, certain types of work cannot be done during the winter.

There are some states where there are strict laws and rules regarding the disposal of old materials. These may lead to significant price differences throughout different regions of the state.

It is always a good idea to get an estimate from multiple contractors before your final selection.

Once The Roof Has Been Repaired, What Do I Do Next?

After repairing your roof, you can start marketing your house for sale.

Before you start selling your own property, you first must decide if you want to hire an agent to help you market your property, or try to sell your property yourself. If you choose to sell your property yourself, it's known as a "For Sale by Owner" (FSBO) sale. A real estate agent will market your property with the other listings in your city and take care of all negotiations.

One of the main reasons to sell your own house is to avoid paying 6%, which is usually split between the two agents involved in the transaction. However, if you decide to go through an agency, you should expect to spend 3%.

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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