Should I buy a house with an ~old roof?
February 14, 2008 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Should I buy a house knowing I will probably have to replace the roof in 4 years?

So we found a house we love. The sellers have accepted our offer. The inspection went great, expect for one thing...

The roof.

It's in a perfectly adequate shape right now. There are some loose shingles, but nothing to really worry about (says our inspector). That said, the roof is 11 years old (same age as the house). The roof is a 20-year composition, which, according to our inspector, means it will probably have a life of 15 years. So, we will probably have to replace it in around 4 years.

Here are my two questions (and yes, I'm looking personal opinions and gut reactions, as well a cold hard facts):

(1) Would you buy a $169,000 house knowing you'd probably have to take out a $10-12k home equity loan to replace the roof in 4 years?

(2) Is $10-$12k an adequate estimate for a roof replacement? The house is in Houston, Texas and the square footage is around 2100.

(3) If I pay $10-$12k for a new roof, how much will this increase the sell price of my house?

Note: Obviously, if a bad storm hits and destroys the roof, our insurance will cover the replacement. We are assuming we won't be so lucky.
posted by JPowers to Home & Garden (30 answers total)
$10-12k for a new roof on a 2100 sq.ft. home sounds way high to me. Then again, I know nothing about the home. Are there a ton of funky angles, extensions and crap that would make re-roofing a nightmare (i.e. damn near every McMansion built in the past 20 years)
posted by Thorzdad at 2:58 PM on February 14, 2008

Take what you'd pay for the house if it had a brand new roof. Subtract the cost of a new roof. Take the result and as long as you pay that much or less, paying for the new roof isn't an issue.

The real issue you should be concerned about now is: Is there currently any water damage inside as a result of the condition of the roof? Either get it inspected by someone who can tell you if this is the case (or how likely it is, if damage is not evident), or make a further deduction from your offer to cover the possibility of this repair.
posted by winston at 3:05 PM on February 14, 2008

Get the sellers to give you a credit based on the estimated cost of the roof repair.
posted by jclovebrew at 3:06 PM on February 14, 2008

I agree, $10K sounds very high. I replaced the shingles on my previous house (1750 sqft, in Austin TX) for a little under $4K, paid for by my insurance because of hail damage (yay). Unless you'll need to replace the decking or something, I don't see your roof costing that much.

If I really liked the house and it otherwise seemed like a good deal, I'd buy it. If I needed to make a decision fast and this looked like the best thing I could find right now, I'd probably buy it. If it was just another house that I wasn't excited about, maybe I'd keep looking. You could try to negotiate the price down a little to allow for this, but I wouldn't expect a big concession.

All other things being equal, any house you look with an asphalt roof is going to be at some point along that 20-year cycle and present more or less the same question; any house with a 100-year roof is going to cost more.
posted by adamrice at 3:08 PM on February 14, 2008

When we sold a rental property with a bad roof, we got estimates on replacing it and the seller got estimates on replacing it.

We added them up, averaged them out, and then took half of that amount off of the sale price (essentially splitting the cost of a new roof w/ the buyer).

This is why you have inspections - so you can go back and re-negotiate when you find something major like this. Good luck! Hopefully the seller will agree to a reduction in the sale price.
posted by Ostara at 3:09 PM on February 14, 2008

Was your initial estimate for a total tear-off and re-roof? Maybe that's why it was so high.

If there's only one layer of asphalt shingles on the roof right now, you can go over it with another layer of new shingles.
posted by Ostara at 3:12 PM on February 14, 2008

If I were the seller I would not split the cost with you unless I were desperate - it's a 20 year roof with 9 years (nominal) left on it and 4 years worst-case. To answer your questions: 1) yes unless 169K was really pushing the value for the house or what I could afford, 2) Seems reasonable unless it is very flat with no angles, 3) No idea, but probably not much unless you intend to sell within 2-3 years of putting it on (quickly enough that you can call it a 'new' roof)
posted by true at 3:15 PM on February 14, 2008

Reshingling an asphalt-shingled roof is well within the capacity of the average person, even if you don't consider yourself handy. At a cost of a couple/few thousand bucks, you might pay someone to do it, but not a chance at ten thousand. Worst case scenario, you've got a weekend or two worth of labor, renting a dumpster, and whatever shingles and tar paper cost you. It's not as risky as, say, a furnace going bad. If you love the house, get a few bucks back for the roof and sleep easy.
posted by Nahum Tate at 3:19 PM on February 14, 2008

Below are some pictures of the inside of the house so you can see all the peaks and slants it has. Here's the best picture I have of the roof.

Picture 1

Picture 2
posted by JPowers at 3:24 PM on February 14, 2008

Probably not helpful, but Bugs to Features angle: Are either of you mad keen on some wacky solar or other installation in the roof? 'Cos you might not have the money/guts to do something like that if you weren't already replacing the roof.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:25 PM on February 14, 2008

In Illinois you can reshingle 3 times, then you have to tear down to the wood. For 2100 sq. feet it would cost around 5k at the most.

Is there structural damage? How severe is the weather in Houston?

10k sounds like highway robbery.
posted by Max Power at 3:27 PM on February 14, 2008

In this market? Ask for anything you can get. There are three homes on my street that have had signs in the front yard for nearly a year. I'm pretty sure those sellers (two have already relocated) would split a roof to stop having two mortgages to pay in a heartbeat!
posted by foxydot at 3:27 PM on February 14, 2008

10K is way high for 2100 sq ft, especially considering you only have a single layer and the new shingles can go right over top without a tear off.

A new roof won't increase the value much but is a selling feature that'll make it a bit easier to sell your house.
posted by Mitheral at 3:38 PM on February 14, 2008

As Ostara is saying, most of the time you can add up to two more layers of shingles over the top of what you have. You'll need to consult your local authority on this; the people who issue permits are the ones who would know. I wouldn't think this would cost you more than $3 or $4k. It will also be much less disruptive; they'll be banging on your roof for a day or so, but it doesn't stir up the dust and crud nearly as much as a tearoff.

When choosing your replacement material, go for '25-year dimensional' shingles. The 25-year shingles cost only a little more than the 20, and they will actually last 25 years, at least in the California climate where I learned this stuff. In the relatively mild California weather, a 20-year roof would hardly ever make 18 years, and 15 was quite common. I can't imagine it would be even that good in Texas.

Note that there are also "25-year" three-tab shingles; those don't last as long as they're rated, either. You really want the dimensional style.

The 30- and 40-year shingles, if properly applied, will generally last that long, but unless the house is pretty special, it's probably not worth going that high. Those cost a lot more than the 25-year flavor.
posted by Malor at 3:39 PM on February 14, 2008

On viewing your pictures you've got a few valleys but nothing too difficult. You don't have any difficult to flash projections that I can see. All the angles on the inside are because of your vaulted truss/rafter framing and don't really make the shingle job any more difficult.

Shingles have experienced rating inflation in the last ten years pretty bad. You can probably knock 3-5 years off of any rating. Unless your house is governed by architectural controls you'd be a lot better off going with a white of grey shingle. The shingles will last longer and you'll have lower attic temps reducing your A/C costs.
posted by Mitheral at 3:48 PM on February 14, 2008

Have the seller work a "new roof" into the price of the house and put it on the Mortgage. Its called a buyer's incentive.
posted by nickerbocker at 3:52 PM on February 14, 2008

The real question is: Would you pay $181,000 for this house? If the answer if no, then you should see what else you can get from the seller. It's a buyer's market right now. Don't settle.
posted by poppo at 4:01 PM on February 14, 2008

If they won't deduct the price of a new roof now, perhaps they will after 6-8 months of paying a mortgage on a place they can't sell.

The market is only going to get worse for sellers.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:26 PM on February 14, 2008

nthing everything above-- $10K sounds high for a roof, even one that complex, and forget having the seller deduct the cost of the roof repair right now. The seller needs to fix those shingles for you before you buy, or as a condition of buying. I can't believe they didn't fix them before putting it on the market.
posted by nax at 4:55 PM on February 14, 2008

Buying a house that needs a roof is fine, if the price of the house reflects that it needs a roof replaced.

But you are maybe missing a couple of important pieces of information. 1) How much the roof replacement will actually cost -- that will probably take calling some reputable roofing companies and getting at least ballpark estimates; your $10k figure sounds really high to me, but maybe there is something unusual about the house or the roofing business in your area that warrants that figure. Get real figures before proceeding. 2) Does the roof really need to be replaced? Life expectancies of roofs can really vary, depending on the quality of the materials and workmanship, how tough of a life that roof has had, and so on. The age is only one factor -- again, you would want a reputable roofing contractor (ideally more than one) to climb up there and say to you how long they thought the roof might last.

My gut sense is that if the replacement is going to be needed in half a decade or so, that doesn't get made into a big part of the house price negotiations (certainly as a seller I wouldn't be real amused by it) -- 4 or 5 years is how long many people plan on owning a house, so the roof might not even get replaced by you. And that many years is plenty of time to develop a savings plan for the roof, rather than expecting to automatically use a home equity loan for the job. There will be plenty of unexpected expenses in the first couple of years in the house, anyway.

So buy it if you like it, just make sure that the price reflects your assessment of the house's condition, and start budgeting for the upcoming work.
posted by Forktine at 5:09 PM on February 14, 2008

$10k is not high if you need to take off the old roof, but it should be about half that if you can roof over the present roof. You can put two layers of shingle up, but not three. Ask your inspector how many you have.

Would I buy it? It all depends. Is the $169k figure fair for a house with a new roof, or one which needs a new one? If the former, then you negotiate the price down to compensate. If you get half the cost knocked off the price I think you will have done quite well.

Home equity loan? NO! Please, you have a known expense facing you. Institute a savings plan to pay for it with cash in the future.

Home ownership brings many of these expenses. Get used to it.
posted by caddis at 5:12 PM on February 14, 2008

Home ownership brings many of these expenses. Get used to it.

Exactly. Your question seems a little bit odd to me. It's as though you asked, "Would you buy a house knowing you were going to be responsible for all repairs and upgrades necessary as long as you owned it?" Uh, that's what home ownership entails. If you're not prepared for that, just keep renting.

If you buy the house, get the kind of mortgage that allows you extended credit if you need it so you don't have to also pay for refinancing. A friend of mine had sewage gas leaks in her house and had to refinance her mortgage to get the money to make the necessary repairs. She needed $10K for the repairs, but had to refinance for $11K to cover the costs of refinancing.
posted by orange swan at 5:36 PM on February 14, 2008

Wow, you get a lot of house for 169. Nice.

The price does seem high, but figure roof cost of 10,000, with a lifespan of 16 years. Roof has @ 1/3 of its life remaining.

You're buying a house, and now you have a complication. But really, you have a negotiating point. Ask the sellers for 2/3 of 10,000 ($6,667) off to pay for roof depreciation. You might get it. This is a very rough market for sellers, and it's looking to get worse. Let them see the inspector's comments.

If you get a price concession, or even if you don't, start saving for that roof as soon as you buy the house. And use way better shingle. Roofing is labor-intensive, and using good materials is a much better bargain.
posted by theora55 at 5:56 PM on February 14, 2008

You found a house you really love. There will be expenses. In 4-9 years you may need a new roof, you may limp by with cold patch for a while. Sure, bargain. And let yourself have what you really love.
posted by pointilist at 10:11 PM on February 14, 2008

20 years ago I bought the Gungho homestead. At the time the inspector said I needed a new roof right away. I factored that into the offer, but it was a seller's market at the time, so no quarter was given. Anyhoo it was 15 or 16 years later that I finally got around to replacing the roof ($7k for about the same size house as yours). My thinking at the time was 'wait until it leaks'. If you love the house buy it. You'll probably find that the roof will last longer than you think and that you'll need a new furnace before the roof starts leaking... Good Luck
posted by Gungho at 7:05 AM on February 15, 2008

I would, but that's because I'd do it myself in a weekend with a couple friends and a case of beer know...a thousand bucks or so MAX.
posted by TomMelee at 7:05 PM on February 15, 2008

You'd be hard pressed to do it for $1K even with free labour. Even cheap shingles are going to push $40 a square. Going to need at least 21 squares plus extra for overhang, waste and to account for the extra area created by the slope (looks like a 12-12 slope on the garage, if the rest of the house is the same it's an extra 40%). Say 30 squares easy plus nails, flashing, eave seal/building paper, and sealant. Maybe replace a vent or boot. And a case of beer.
posted by Mitheral at 2:32 PM on February 16, 2008

You forget where I work. I sell 20-year's for no more than $20 a square new. Even $2k is cheaper than 10. Regardless, I was off topic, and for that I apologize. Paying retail for shingles is...silly at best.
posted by TomMelee at 3:11 PM on February 16, 2008

so Habitat will sell us shingles for less than retail?
posted by caddis at 8:00 PM on February 16, 2008

Sort of figured someone would ask that. No, we can't sell what we buy/are given, but local habitat's have stores where they sell overstocks, returns, and surplus building materials. Don't want to spam about them---but look for one. There are about 500 nationwide. Send me a mefi mail if you want more specific infoz.
posted by TomMelee at 11:17 AM on February 17, 2008

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