The things that compel buyers to actually buy a home depend on the buyers’ emotions first, but other things like practicality also come into play. As we always say, problems with the house are always best fixed before the listing and inspecting begins. Among the major issues buyers want addressed, no matter how much in love with the property they may be, is the condition of the roof. Because a roof in need of repair or replacement can seriously erode the price your house will bring, making an informed, educated decision is important. Should you do the work before the house is listed, or should you sell the house “as is?”.

We’ve put together the best advice we can find from selling agents, building inspectors, and those whose job is staging property to sell better. We share those thoughts here.

Disclosure
If your roof is in bad shape, you’re going to have to disclose the problems to the buyer. Selling agents are bound by a strict code of conduct and provisions (Code of Conduct for Agents and Sales Representatives). This code requires selling agents to make buyers aware of any structural problems. This can become a negotiation point, bringing the price of your home down. A new roof can cost a homeowner many thousands of dollars and you can expect the buyer to lower the price he’s willing to pay accordingly.

If, on the other hand, you repair or replace the roof, the issue no longer works against you. As a matter of fact, new roofs are a wonderful selling point, and will often pay for the work at closing.

The Condition of Your Roof
Unless you are a professional building inspector you probably have only an inkling of the true condition of your roof. We recommend that you call in an inspector before you make a decision about your roof. If, upon inspection, you’re told that the roof must be replaced, consider the following points.

• Is the mortgage on the home paid in full? If you already own your home outright, getting a higher price might not matter so much to you. Replacing the roof is almost certain to help you get a higher price.

• Is the roof leaking? If there is significant damage to the roof as in missing or cracked tiles, it probably means that the roof is deteriorating rapidly and must be dealt with. If you allow leaks or loss of tiles to continue, your house will undergo damage that will deplete the home’s value in a big way. A bad roof is among the worst problems a house can have and even magic in terms of staging property will not work to eliminate the buyer’s concerns.

• Can you afford to re-roof? If the roof is in bad shape and you can afford it, call in the roofer. You’re apt to get most or all of your money back, and you won’t be expected to drop your price because of the condition. If you cannot re-roof, discuss it with your selling agent. It may be wise to drop the price in light of the deferred maintenance issue.

The Cost
Of course the cost to repair or re-roof will be a major consideration. Because the cost can be influenced you’ll want estimates from three reputable roofers who are bidding the SAME treatments. In other words, one roofer may suggest Product A over the existing roof, while a second wants to use Product B after tearing off the roof totally. In order to get a good feel for the price, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Decide what you want before you ask for estimates.

The ROI
How much of the cost can I expect to recoup? This is a question for your selling agent. Each house in each neighbourhood is different and so will be the return on investment. Your selling agent will be able to give you an estimate of how much your fix will be worth depending on comparable homes in your area and how your home ranks in terms of other considerations including the condition of other systems, the street appeal, and even the level of staging the property has had.

As a home seller, you have the advantage of selling team members – your selling agent and your property styling professionals – to rely on as you make these decisions. Trust them to help you get the best return you can on your home investment.

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