Should You Replace Your Roof Before Selling Your Home?

Replacing a roof before selling your home can add value to your property.

Observe a conscientious buyer looking at a home’s exterior and you’ll notice that person walking around the entire perimeter of the property, looking up. What is he or she doing? Well, they’re more than likely looking at the condition of the roof. Roofs are one of the biggest expenses people are concerned with when buying a home.

This is not without reason. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace a roof in poor condition. If people are buying a home, they want one they know will not require a full roof replacement for quite some time. They see a home with a brand-new roof and they are already excited about buying. So here’s the question:

Should you repair your roof before selling your home? More importantly, should you replace your roof before selling your home? The answer to both questions depends on the condition of your roof, your current cash position, and the value you are hoping to get out of your property.

Determining to Replace a Roof or Not

The first thing you have to do is ask yourself how much money you ideally want to get out of your house. This can be tricky because most people conflate cost and value. In other words, they assume that if they put $10,000 into a brand-new roof, it will only raise the value of the home by that much. That’s not necessarily true.

Cost vs. Value

The cost to replace a roof can start anywhere between $3.50 and $5.00 per square foot. For the average single-family ranch on the East Coast, you’re looking at a total replacement cost of between $5,000 and $10,000. With that out of the way, you can now look at the value in one of two ways:

  1. At what price could you sell if you replace the roof?
  2. At what price could you sell if you don’t replace it?

Starting with the second question first, your home could lose quite a bit of value (compared to similar homes in the surrounding area) if the roof needs repair or replacement. Selling a house that needs a new roof could easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars in value.

Now you have to ask whether or not you will get more than market value if you replace or repair the roof before selling. In all likelihood, you will. Consider that the other homes in your general area with similar values probably don’t have new roofs. By replacing yours prior to sale, you will be adding value to the home with that new roof.

Advantages of Replacing a Roof Before Selling

Here’s what replacing your roof (or repairing it if your listing agent suggests) can do for you:

1. Increased Resale Value

Your resale value will definitely be higher with a new roof. It’s as simple as that. Leave your roof in poor condition and the price goes down.

2. Appearance Upgrade

A new roof improves curb appeal which is essentially an appearance upgrade. Remember that the first impression a person gets of your home from the street carries through the interior inspection.

3. Longer Warranties

Should you decide to offer a home warranty, a new roof will allow for a longer warranty. This will increase the resale value of the property.

4. Loan Approval

Loan approvals are made based on the resale value of a property. That means a home with a new roof is more likely to be approved for a larger loan.

5. Faster Sale

Buyers realize that finding a home with a brand-new roof is rare. You’re likely to sell your house faster simply by replacing the roof.

The advantages of installing a new roof prior to sale should be obvious just from these five points. Still, we have to look at it from the other side of the coin.

Selling a House with an Old Roof

There are some advantages and disadvantages to selling a house with an old roof. Trust us when we say the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

Here are the advantages to selling a house with an old roof:

  • You don’t have to spend the cash when you’re trying to sell;
  • You don’t have to go through the hassle of finding a reliable contractor; and
  • You’re more likely to be able to sell your home as a ‘fixer-upper’ in as-is condition.

The following are the disadvantages associated with selling a house with an old roof:

1. Lower Resale Value

As for the disadvantages, we start with the fact that selling a house with an old roof immediately means you won’t get as much money. The amount of loss in resale value will be commensurate with the roof. A roof that has 10 years left on it will garner more value than one that needs to be replaced immediately.

2. Poor Buyer Perception

Another disadvantage can be traced to buyer perception. Selling a home with an old roof may give potential buyers the impression that you did not take very good care of the house. Even if the rest of the home is pristine, those lingering doubts will hurt your chances of selling and reduce your eventual price.

3. Failed Inspection

Third, a bad roof generally motivates home inspectors to dig a little more deeply to find flaws. Your buyer could come back with a long list of things that need to be repaired and upon which sale is contingent. You could end up with a bigger repair bill than you started with.

4. No Sale

Lastly, a roof in poor condition may prevent you from selling your home altogether. If it looks bad enough from the street, you may never get an offer – except for one of those guys who offers to buy any house for cash. But then you’ll get such a low-ball offer, it won’t even be worth selling.

How to Decide Whether to Replace a Roof or Sell As Is

The trickiest part of the whole question is deciding what to do. How do you know if you should replace or repair your roof before selling, or just sell as-is? Remember that selling a house that needs a new roof will cost you in the long run. So here’s what you do:

  1. Get a roof inspection. An inspection conducted by a qualified roofing company is the place to start. An inspector will be able to tell you how bad the roof is, how much life it has left in it, and what would be needed to bring it up to snuff.
  2. Determine the extent of any damage. From that roof inspection, you and the inspector should be able to determine the extent of any damage. A severely damaged roof may be beyond repair. One with only slight damage could be sufficiently repairable rather than replaced.
  3. Get some estimates. Remember the cost versus value issue we talked about? In order to determine whether or not repairing or replacing your roof would add enough to your home’s value, you have to know what repair or replacement will cost. So get some estimates based on your inspection data.
  4. Determine how you will pay for it. Assuming some measure of repair or replacement is necessary, the next thing to consider is how you’ll pay for it. Your homeowners insurance may cover the cost if the damage was due to a covered event. If not, could you pay for with cash or would you need a home equity loan? Remember that a home equity loan will have to be repaid as soon as your home sells.
  5. Factor in loan approval. Last but not least is factoring in the idea of loan approval. Is someone likely to get a loan for your property based on the condition of the roof? Your listing agent should be able to help you here. You might also ask the roof inspector as well. If loan approval is unlikely, you don’t have much of a choice.


Call the Reliable Roofing Experts Before Selling

Now that you know some of the finer points of adding value to a home with a new roof, we encourage you to contact A & J Reliable, Inc. before you sell. Let us take a look at the condition of your roof prior to making any decisions. If we believe you need to repair or replace your roof before selling, we will let you know exactly what it will take to get your roof where it needs to be.

If repair or replacement is necessary, A & J Reliable, Inc. can do the job for you. We are experienced roofers serving customers throughout the greater New York and New Jersey region. If you’re selling, you have nothing to lose. We offer free roof inspections with no obligation. Please give us a call before you decide to sell. We want you to get the most you can from your home.