If you are shopping for a new home, you will likely ask many questions about a potential home’s condition before making an offer to purchase. Many of these questions should focus on the home’s roof. As the home’s first line of defence against the elements, the roof plays an important part in protecting your investment. Before purchasing a home, make sure that you have asked the following questions:

  • How old is the roof? No roof lasts forever, so it is important to know how many years you can expect to enjoy the roof before it needs to be replaced. Some types of roof have a longer life expectancy than others. A metal roof may last approximately 50 years, while asphalt shingle roofs tend to last between 15 and 30 years, depending on the quality of the shingles used.
  • Is the roof under warranty and is the warranty transferable? Most roofing materials come with a warranty. Warranties vary in length and may or may not be transferable to the new owner of the home. In addition, some contractors may offer a warranty on the installation of the new roof. Make sure that you understand what is covered by any warranties and how long they will last so that you can calculate what your out-of-pocket costs will be if the roof needs to be repaired or replaced within a few years of purchasing the home.
  • Was the roof installed by professionals? A poorly installed roof may not last as long as expected based on the type and quality of materials used. Asking who installed the roof may enable you to determine the quality of the workmanship involved and whether you should anticipate any problems caused by improper installation.
  • Has the roof had problems in the past (even if they have been repaired)? If the roof has leaked in the past, there may be mold problems or water damage to the home. These problems can be extensive and costly to repair so ask your home inspector to look for these particular problems if you have concerns about an old leak.

If your questions unearth potential problems, you have two options: you can walk away from the home or you can factor the costs of repairs or reroofing into your purchase price. A problem with the roof of a house may enable a buyer to negotiate a great deal, as long as the buyer is prepared to deal with the hassle of repairs and renovations.