Doing an in-depth assessment of your home should be on your to-do list before putting your house on the market. If you live in the house, you’re already familiar with most of its quirks and issues. However, you may not be the best person to decide whether or not to tackle a major project before listing. 

A real estate agent can do a quick assessment, but most don’t have the training and credentials to do professional home inspections. Only a licensed or certified home inspector will be able to tell you what buyers – and lenders – will expect you to fix or replace before you finalize the sale. A home inspector will likely find hidden damage because they usually walk the roof, inspect the attic, and check for signs of damage covered up with paint. 

Knowing the age and condition of your home’s roof is one of the most important aspects to assess. Although you may be required to disclose a roof in need of repair or replacement, it’s unlikely you’ll be required to make the improvements. Here’s how to decide whether or not to spend the money on the roof before you sell. 

Why Buyers Care About the Roof

If your house needs a new roof, it’s likely to sit on the market a lot longer. Buyers know a leaky roof can cause major damage to a home. Your house is probably going to sit on the market longer. 

If your house’s roof looks old, has discolored or missing shingles, or has obvious storm damage, buyers may forgo viewing your home even if they like everything else they see in your listing. Other buyers may lowball their offer in anticipation of roof replacement. Meanwhile, even a minor leak can quickly become a bigger problem during a storm, costing you not only the price of roof replacement but also interior repairs, and slowing down the sale even longer. 

Buyers also know that replacing a roof is pricey. Because they’re investing a huge sum of money in a new house, they may not have the funds for major repairs. Most buyers expect sellers to tackle those projects or reduce the selling price to cover the costs. 

Signs Your Roof Needs Replacement

The most extreme damage is a sagging roof suddenly caving in, exposing the rooms below to the weather. But even if your roof doesn’t look ready to cave in, hidden roofing issues may already be causing damage.

Even a small leak due to missing shingles or an unpatched hole in the roof can cause rainwater, snow, and ice to enter the home. The result can be mold in the attic or walls and water damage to ceilings, walls, and floors.

Family Handyman magazine lists the following silent signs your roof may be failing

  • Ceiling stains
  • Damaged shingles
  • Dirty, clogged soffits
  • Mold where the roof and exterior walls meet
  • Mold on exterior walls
  • Rusty gutters
  • Open holes from satellite dish or antenna removal
  • Rusted chimney flashing
  • Hail damage
  • Water pooling on a flat room

Roof Replacement or Replacement Costs

How much you’ll spend on replacing a roof depends on the type of roofing, how big your house is, certain home features, and where you live. For example, if there are multiple layers of shingles to tear off or the plywood beneath the shingles needs to be replaced, re-roofing will take longer and cost you more. The type of roofing makes a big difference in cost.

Types of roofing

Home renovation guru Bob Vila notes how long you can expect roofing to last:

  • Asphalt, 15-30 years
  • Architectural premium asphalt shingles, 25-30 years
  • Wood shingles or “shakes,” 30 years (with annual upkeep)
  • Clay tile roofing, 50 years or longer
  • Metal roofing, up to 70 years
  • Slate tiles, 100 years or more

Generally, the longer the roofing is expected to last, the more expensive it is to repair or replace it. 

Average cost roof replacement

The average American home has 1,700 square feet of roof, according to Roofing Calculator. The site notes that roofing contractors typically charge between $3.50 and $7.50 per square foot to remove and dispose of two layers of shingles, install new underlayment and flashing, and put on new shingles. 

Re-roofing average cost on an average-size house, by type of roof, per Roofing Calculator:

  • Asphalt shingles, $6,000-$7,500
  • 30-year, architectural premium asphalt shingles, $7,000-$9,500
  • Cedar shingles or shakes, $13,000-$20,400
  • Natural slate, $15,300-$30,600
  • Clay tiles, $17,00-$30,600
  • Flat roof, $8,225
  • Metal, $14,500

Get estimates from roofing contractors

It’s not unusual for homeowners to get sticker shock when roofing estimates start to come in. Roofing contractors break down their costs at 40% for materials and 60% for the labor. You’ll want to get estimates from contractors that specialize in roof replacement. Ask friends and family nearby for recommendations or ask for estimates on sites such as Angie’s List or Home Advisor. 

If you aren’t confident in the quotes you receive, hire a certified home inspector or roofing inspector to give you an unbiased, professional opinion on your roof’s condition. 

Recouping the cost of a roof during sale

A complete tear-off and replacement can be a selling point. However, it’s unlikely you’ll recoup 100% of the cost of roof replacement. Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report estimates homeowners can expect to retain at resale about 68.2% of the cost of replacing an asphalt shingled roof. You can check the site’s averages for your location on roofing costs and 21 other home improvement projects. 

If the roof doesn’t require immediate repair, you might consider offering a one-year warranty with the sale or negotiating with the buyer to pay for half or some of the cost of replacing the roof after the sale. Bear in mind that the lender may not agree and the sale may not go through. 

No money to replace the roof?

Ready to sell quickly? We are trusted, local real estate experts with lots of experience and connections. We will purchase your home quickly, reliably, and fairly, and we can even purchase properties as-is: no repairs, no new roof, or even cleaning necessary!  Contact us today for more information.