06 Mar 2012

Selling Real Estate: Is Your Roof in the Gutter?

Guest contributor Jessica Wilkie is a Hill resident and Realtor with M Squared Real Estate. This post also appeared on her blog.

Selling real estate in DC? You, like many sellers may have this question hanging over your head:

“My roof is near the end of its useful life. Should I replace it before putting my place up for sale?’

Keep in mind, most buyers won’t actually see your roof before they write an offer. But you are required to disclose your knowledge about the roof’s age and whether or not there are any leaks or evidence of moisture — so the buyer will have at least some knowledge going in.

Most buyers will include a home inspection contingency in their offer, and if your roof is truly in bad shape, a home inspector will alert them it. Point being, the truth will come out sooner or later.

If you go ahead and replace the roof before listing, you eliminate potential objections from the buyer with regards to the roof. It’s also a very attractive attribute to extol when marketing your place. Since the roof is a large expense, the words “New Roof” get buyers excited.

And this is a more minor point, but if a contractor knows you’re replacing the roof it with a time crunch as a requirement of a sale, he may think to adjust his prices slightly upward. If you do it before listing through your own volition, you’ll have more time to shop around and get the best price.

It’s important to keep in mind that if there are active leaks or obvious signs of roof problems, many buyers will be scared off, and some may not even write an offer.

The negative to replacing the roof before listing is the cash outlay. A typical roof replacement on a Capitol Hill rowhouse costs anywhere from $6000-10,000, depending on the size of your home. So you’ll need a chunk of change to get the work done.

Whereas let’s say a buyer negotiates a new roof or a credit for a new roof as a result of the home inspection. In most cases, if you don’t have the cash, the costs could be paid for out of your funds at settlement.

In most cases, if your roof is near the end of its life cycle and you have the cash available, it’s worth getting the work done before listing and selling real estate in DC. It will give you a competitive advantage with other houses on the market, and it will make buyers feel more at ease when considering your home to purchase.

And a quick word on getting roof work done: most in our area are made of rubber, modified bitumen (asphalt- based), or tin. A tin roof lasts the longest (50-70 years) but requires the most maintenance, consequently many home owners let them rust and they do not get the full life expectancy. A rubber or modified bitumen roof lasts 10-15 years and is cheaper to put on.

Also, your house may actually have 3 or four roofs, as it’s common practice to just lay a new one on top of the old one. However it’s best not to have more than two. Make sure your contractor plans to remove the old ones before replacing it with a new one. It’ll cost a bit more, but it gives them the chance to check out the wood beneath the roof and make sure it’s in good shape. You also avoid having moisture problems between the layers.

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  • Siva Gopi

    “Keep in mind, most buyers won’t actually see your roof before they write an offer” – Great point and I very much agree with you and I see this in my real experience.

  • Siva Gopi

    “Keep in mind, most buyers won’t actually see your roof before they write an offer” – Great point and I very much agree with you and I see this in my real experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004331137725 Jeena Smith

    According to me it’s better if you are loyal with your buyer.You can ask him to purchase your home by deducting the price of repairing the roof, instead of fixing it by your own.

    Reference: Topgrade Roof Specialist