Should You Buy a House with An Old Roof

Finding a perfect home is often an impossible task. You will likely run into dozens of houses with various flaws. And, if you want to get a home in the foreseeable future, you will need to settle on one that seems decent enough to purchase. This may include accepting minor, fixable flaws like bedroom painting or poor design choices. But, if it has significant defects like structural damage or roof issues, you really ought to consider them more carefully. With this in mind, we will explore whether you should buy a house with an old roof and how to go about doing so if you do.

Before you buy a house with an old roof

To elaborate on this issue properly, we first need to make a few things straight. Namely, many people believe that just because a home has an old roof, it automatically means that it is in poor condition.

Plates used for quality roofing.
Depending on the material, an old roof can be in terrific condition.

A well-made, properly maintained roof can sometimes be better than a relatively newer yet cheaper one. Some roofs are practically indestructible if maintained adequately. Therefore, the mere fact that the roof is old shouldn’t drive you away from the purchase. What you need to do is to determine the condition of the roof, not just its age.

Determining the condition of the roof

While there are tons of guides on how to inspect a roof, you really ought to hire a professional to do it for you, especially when buying a home. Roofs, as a whole, can be complicated to inspect since their flaws and issues are not always plainly obvious. True, you may be able to spot dents, leaks, or cracks. But structural issues that can cost a fortune to fix can be much harder to spot.

Mold gathered on roof shingles, showing what to look out for before you buy a house with an old roof.
Some roof issues are easier to notice than others.

Sometimes, homebuyers choose to waive a home inspection. Doing so can give them a competitive edge over other buyers, making their purchase that much faster. But, if you plan to do so, try not to forgo the entire inspection. If you believe that the roof is old, get a roof inspector to check it. Their assessment doesn’t have to be formal. But, it will give you the necessary info to make an educated decision.

Can having an old roof be beneficial?

In certain instances, yes. Namely, with an old roof, you can rest easy that you get what you paid for. Having a brand-new roof is a great way to boost the price of a home. Most homebuyers don’t do much research and make the common fallacy of assuming that a new roof is a good roof. A tried-and-true roof gives you a much better idea of how it stands and how you should maintain it.

Meanwhile, a new roof can keep you safe for decades. Or it may fall apart after a couple of months. Therefore, by considering a home with an old roof, you avoid all the flashy marketing that a home with a new roof brings.

When to avoid buying a home with an old roof

In essence, there are two situations where you should avoid buying a home. The first is when the owner avoids showing it to you. And the second is when the cost of repairing it is too high. If the owner avoids talking about the roof, you can rest easy that it is in terrible condition. The owner probably didn’t even inspect the roof and hopes you will take their word for it. This can likely lead to you having to replace the entire roof, if not parts of the home connected to it.

Wooden beans that support the roof of a home.
Before you buy a house with an old roof, know that roof replacement can cost a fortune.

If the second situation pops up, you might need to do some serious calculations. Not only will replacing a roof cost you a fortune, but you also might need to postpone relocating to your new home. You really need to get a reasonable price for a home to make replacing the entire roof cost-effective.

After buying a home with an old roof

So, let’s now assume that you’ve inspected the roof of a home and decided to buy it. Should you focus on renovating your roof right away? Should you give it a couple of months and see how it stands? Or should you simply forget about it until an issue pops up? Well, there is no one clear answer.

Roof maintenance

If you are not sure how to maintain your roof, you should find and consult a local roof inspector. They will tell you the specifications of your roof and give you their expectation of the problems you might face.

The fact that they are local is essential, as it gives them the necessary info about the local weather and roof issues that people face. So, while you may learn how to make Denver your home after moving, don’t expect that you will know how to maintain a roof in Denver without consulting a professional.

When should you replace your roof?

If you have the necessary finances, you might consider replacing your roof. An old roof can simply be too expensive to maintain, in which case replacing it is a cost-effective solution. The other situation is when you can buy a house with an old roof in decent condition, but you can afford a better one. A better roof will not only provide long-term safety but will also provide better insulation. So, if you can afford it, you should definitely consider upgrading your roof with a better version.


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