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Information for Buyers, Sellers & Realtors

One of the highest priced maintenance expenses a homeowner can face is the replacement of their roof.

Negotiations between a buyer and a seller can often be frustrating when both parties cannot agree on terms present on the final work order.

So if a roof becomes an issue in negotiations it is often a big issue.


No one wants to have to replace a roof in order to sell a home. It almost doesn’t seem fair from a seller’s perspective since they will get no use of it. So it is most often that a seller deals with this issue cautiously. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Replacement cost – options might include recover, conversion from shake to comp, etc.
  • Cost to repair roof. will the repair satisfy a buyer in this price range?
  • Weigh the benefits of the aesthetic value of re roofing. Will it help sell the home? Must I be concerned with covenants or a homeowners association?
  • What would I want if I were buying this house?
  • If repair costs exceed 15-20% of the roof cost, perhaps that money would be better spent on a new roof — give the buyer the option to reroof with material of their choice and contribute cost of repairs accordingly.
  • If I reroof the house before sale, perhaps I limit buyers ability to upgrade.
  • Perhaps I should include the cost of a new roof in the purchase price and negotiate later.
  • If repairs are done before the home goes on the market a) it might detract from the overall look of the home and b) it might serve as a red flag that the roof is or has been an issue.
  • Available in aesthetically pleasing colors such as white, tan & light gray.
  • You don’t want to deal with a roof issue for at least 5 years. Determine your comfort level in replacing a roof on this house. How big an expense are you looking at down the road?
  • Weigh the lender requirements vs. your own needs. if you plan on adding a second story to the house, how does that affect the roof situation?
  • Realize that the seller may only be required to do minimal repairs or replacement. You may want to contribute to an upgrade in roofing material to match the house.
  • Estimate how long you expect to live in the house. you do not want to get stuck having to replace the roof in order to sell the house. consider giving yourself a buffer zone by upgrading to a long lasting material to avoid this situation.
  • Even though a re-roof is acceptable now it might be better in the long term to do a tear-off now and include the additional cost in financing.
  • Have reasonable expectations in line with the age of the home. Don’t expect a perfect roof.
  • If the seller cannot afford to pay for a new roof, then ask the roofer if he can be paid at closing or ask the agent and lender if they can do an escrow-holdback so the transition can close and the roof can be installed at a later time. Then the roofer would be paid by escrow on completion. (This can be an important option when the weather is bad.) Escrow usually require about 1.5 times the cost of the roof to be placed in escrow.

From a buyers perspective, if a home they are considering purchasing needs a new roof they will probably assume one or more of the following:

  • The seller is waiting to see if the roof will be called during inspection.
  • The seller does not have enough available funds to repair or replace the roof to make it presentable for sale.
  • The seller has listed the home, taking into account the fact that the roof might need to be repaired or replaced, and is willing to negotiate the issue when and if it comes up.
  • The seller means “as is” and they really mean it!




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