March 11, 2023

Selling a House With an Old Roof [Should I Replace the Roof?]

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Selling a House With an Old Roof

Selling a House with an Old Roof

If you're getting ready to sell your home, you might be wondering if it is necessary to repair the leaking old roof before selling.

Of course you don't want to pass on a problematic house to the new owner. But sometimes, you're not able to afford the cost of repair, so you're left helpless against it.

So, in order to help answer questions you may have, we put together this guide to walk you through the process of a home sale-- in spite of missing shingles, leaks, and many other roof issues you may be facing.

Signs that You Might Need Roof Repairs

The root cause of all problems that homeowners usually face is deferred home maintenance.

A regular home inspection allows you to get ahead of problems before they even start.

In fact, nearly 20% of home inspections uncovered issues with the current roof's condition. This is quite expected, since the roof protects the rest of your home from the elements. Therefore, a periodic roof inspection might be a worthwhile investment, especially after a storm.

However, not everyone may have the budget for it, resulting in a problem getting so bad that roof repairs are necessary.

There are many signs of a bad roof to watch out for, and we've listed some below:

Light Shining in from the Outside

If you get into the attic, you can easily check for this. If light could get in, then there certainly is a way for moisture to get inside and cause a lot of damage.

Water Stains or Traces of Mold

Stains or dark trails in the ceiling is a sure sign that there is a leak somewhere in the roof. This should be addressed quickly as moisture provides an environment conducive to mold growth.

Shingle Granules

Aging shingles crumble into bits, which you can usually find in your gutters and downspouts. When that happens, it means that it might be time to replace your roof.

Damaged Shingles

Warped, missing, or broken shingles is part of the normal wear and tear of a roof. You can either replace the shingles individually, or consider other options if the damage is more severe.

Sagging Roof

Your roof should always be in ship shape even after a hailstorm. If you notice any changes to the roof slope, it might be an indication that the structural integrity of your roof framing is compromised and repairs are in order.

How Much Value Does a New Roof Add?

If your roof had fallen into such a state of disrepair that replacing the entire roof is your only recourse, you might be wondering if investing money replacing a roof would give you a full recoup of the money spent when selling.

Well, the answer to that is it depends on your choice of roofing materials...

Roofing Materials

Asphalt shingles

On average, an asphalt shingle roof replacement would cost you approximately $20,000 which adds about $15,000 to your home value. This translates to around 68%of the amount invested.

metal roofs

According to McGraw-Hill Construction and Analytics, having a metal roof is rapidly gaining in popularity all across the United States.

And it is for good reason!

Metal roofs are highly durable and customizable, available in a vast array of colors and patterns that even mimics clay tiles.

On average, expect to spend about $10,000 for a new roof, with a stunning 85% return.

composite shingles

Composite shingles are made from plastic and other recycled materials and designed to look like slate roofing.

It costs around $25,000 for a brand new composite shingle roof, and with a resale value similar to asphalt shingles. They are a great investment as they could last beyond 50 years!

Clay or concrete tiles

Tile roofs are another popular roofing choice since they are fire, rot, and insect resistant. They also retain their appearance far longer than shingle type roofs and don't crumble into dust with age. What's more, they suit a variety of architectural styles.

If you choose to replace your roof with tile roofing, you'd spend between $20,000 and $60,000 with around 60% return for your trouble.

Recouping Value of New Roof: In Summary

While you may not be able to get back the total amount of money you put in, having a roof in great condition can definitely boost your home's curb appeal. It would also help you sell your home faster if you're going for a traditional sale attracting turn-key buyers.

Roof Repair Options

Recouping Value of New Roof: In Summary

Getting a brand new roof is not the only solution if the home inspector finds issues with your roof. If you're lucky, you could get away with just a couple minor repairs.

Depending on the extent of the damage, there are a lot of repair options available to you that may be able to extend your roof's lifespan.

Shingle Replacement

Individual warped, cracked, or damaged shingles can easily be replaced without making a dent in your pocket. You just have to be certain that the new shingles match your existing ones.

Partial Re-roofing

Partial re-roofing should be considered if damage to your roof is highly localized.

While it might not be as expensive as a having a totally new roof, doing a partial re-roof every few years can quickly add up. Additionally, with each additional component done, the slope of the roof is altered slightly, imposing a limit on how many times you can do this.

Types of Roof Replacements

Recouping Value of New Roof: In Summary

A total roof replacement would fall under major repairs, so expect it to cost a pretty penny.

Still, if the only way to solve your problems is to replace your roof, there are two avenues open to you:

Roof Replacement via Roof Over

As the name suggests, a roof over involves installing the new roof over the old one.

The new shingles will be attached to the existing roof, and they would still look and function the same. For all intents and purposes, you can market it to buyers as a new roof.

Roof Replacement via Tear Off

Replacing the roof via this method involves peeling off the entire roof and installing a new one.

Although this is the costliest option (costing upwards of $20,000), doing so allows you to also check the purlins and the rafters for structural damage and thus repair them if there are any.

Additionally, if the roofing material is attached directly to the frame, it is sturdier and would last longer--around 20 more years, depending on roofing materials used.

Can You Sell a Home with a Bad Roof?

Yes, you can absolutely sell a home with a bad roof! Whether your roof is 15 years old, 20 years old, or just bad and damaged, you can sell your home.

Options when Selling a House with a 20 Year Old Roof

So you have an old roof.

What now?

Fret not, you can either:

Option #1: Replace Your Roof before Selling

Option #1: Replace Your Roof before Selling

Prospective buyers, especially first time homeowners, typically look for move in ready homes.

They won't be enthused with the real estate transaction if they find out that they have to undertake roof repairs or even the possibility of replacing a roof. Not everyone is equipped to deal with the headaches of a renovation.

Moreover, if they are a financed buyer, the mortgage lender might not grant their loan approval request if the house is not in good condition.

Although a new roof would not guarantee that you get 100% of what you spent for the replacement, the roof acts as a barrier against adverse weather making it a worthwhile investment. It ensures that the entirety of your home's structure is protected.

A new roof is also factored in by appraisers, upping its resale value in contrast to leaving it as is, allowing you to sell your home for more money.

Still, even if you can afford replacing or repairing your roof prior to a home sale, you might want to take a look at other home improvements you can do that can further boost your home's resale value.

Option #2: Sell the House As Is

If you don't have the funds to invest in a roof repair or replacement, then you can consider selling your home as is for cash.

This would free you up from paying for an inspection, searching for a roofing contractor, and supervising the work. Replacing an existing roof can take a few days or up to three weeks, depending on your home's square footage, the roof's accessibility, and the weather.

Option #2: Sell the House As Is

But who would willingly buy a house with a leaky roof? And for cash too?

The answer is a special type of potential buyer: the cash home buyer.

Cash home buyers can be real estate investors or house flippers who typically purchase homes in poor condition. Even a condemned house can be sold to these types of buyers, as they are seasoned veterans in the industry with a professional construction team who handles the necessary renovation and rehabilitation work.

Cash buyers don't have to wait for appraisers, inspectors, or loan approvals like other traditional potential buyers. This eliminates the uncertainty of a deal falling through. Having the capacity to do this allows them to close fast.

As an added bonus, no real estate agents are involved, so you don't have to worry about paying commission.

You should keep in mind though that real estate investors and house flippers are looking at a distressed property through the lens of a business investment. Their cash offers are usually below market value since they factor in all the repairs they may need to do, including having to replace your roof, before they are able to sell it or lease it out for a steady cash flow.

Still, with the time and money saved, selling to a cash buyer is very common. Unlike most buyers, they usually cover all of the costs associated with the sale-- including closing costs and helping you get on with your life sooner rather than later.

How to Decide between Roof Replacement and Selling your Home As Is

If you're torn on what to do, ask yourself the following questions:

What is the Extent of the Roof's Damage?

To be able to answer this, having your home inspected is vital. A home inspection costs $200-$500 and it can help you save money on unnecessary repairs and headaches down the line.

Even if your roof is old (ten years or more), as long as the inspector finds that it is still functional, with no leaks or damage, there is no need to replace it.

An all-clear from the inspector will be indicated in the inspection report, which you can use as a marketing tool when selling your home.

Do I Have the Money, Time, and Energy to Spare for Repairs?

Taking stock of your financial condition and your willingness to undertake repairs is absolutely essential. Most homeowners in a rush to sell would rather pass on the burden of addressing the roofing concern to potential buyers.

What is the Condition of the Housing Market: Seller's or Buyer's Market?

In a competitive market where there are a lot more sellers than buyers (i.e. buyer's market), deciding to repair your roof first is a no-brainer if you want to list on the market. It would languish on the market, which, in the worst-case scenario, would make it even harder to sell.

On the other hand, in a hot seller's market where the buyers outnumber the sellers, buyers aren't as picky. This makes selling the house as is easier (even on the market). You can get away with doing very little as the property sells itself. Sometimes, you may be fortunate enough to get the market value for your home even if you sell as is!

Regardless of the market, you can always sell as is to a cash buyer with little difficulty.

Final thoughts: Should You Replace Your Roof before Selling Your House?

Ultimately, deciding whether to repair your roof before selling boils down to the following:

  • Condition of your current roof
  • State of the real estate market
  • Availability of funds for repairs
  • Willingness to do the repairs
  • Your time horizon for selling

Another thing to keep in mind is that replacing your roof before selling won't allow you to recoup its full value-- the cost may not be worth it.

If you would like to avoid the hassles of repairs and can't be bothered with open houses, you can opt to sell to a cash buyer.

Selling to a cash buyer gets you to the closing table quickly. And here at Sell My House Fast, we're able to help you do just that!

We have a vast network of local buyers who specialize in the real estate conditions in your area, so you get the best cash offer for your property-- regardless of its condition!

If you'd like to get in touch with us, you can always call us at (844) 207-0788! We'd absolutely love to hear from you and guide you through the process of selling your home with an old roof.

If you're ready to get the process started now, fill out the form below. 🙂

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By clicking Get My Cash Offer, you agree to receive calls and texts, including by autodialer, prerecorded messages, and artificial voice, and email from Sell My House Fast or one of its partners but not as a condition of any purchase, and you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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Author: Andy Kolodgie

Andy Kolodgie is an experienced real estate investor with a network that expands nationwide. As owner of Sell My House Fast, Andy’s goal is to provide home sellers with more options to their real estate problems than a traditional home sale. 

He’s been featured on multiple publications including Amazon, Yahoo Finance, MSN, HomeLight,, Apartment Therapy,, LegalZoom, Zolo, and

Sell My House Fast has been a cash home buying company since 1999. We buy houses nationwide! At Sell My House Fast, we offer cash for houses and connect sellers with local buyers. If you want to sell your house for cash, fill out our short form to get fair all cash offers for your house!

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