When you're thinking about putting your house on the market, it's crucial to know what shape your home's roof is in. A roof that needs repairs can cause all sorts of problems. This is why lenders have started to require that a roof be certified by a professionally trained roofing inspector to approve home loans.
If you're thinking about buying or selling a home, you should know about roof certifications and how they can affect a home purchase or sale.
- A roof certification is an inspection that lets you know the condition a roof is in and gives you an estimate of the remaining life of the roof.
- Roof certifications are separate from home inspections.
- Many realtors advise their clients to provide a roof certification to a buyer to assure its condition.
- When looking at your roof's condition, the inspector will look at the type, age, pitch, layers, and any repairs done in the past.
What Is a Roof Certification?
A roof certification lets you know the roof has been inspected, what shape it's in, and gives you an idea of how many years of life the roof has. Most of the time, they are not done during a routine home inspection. They are not always asked for in purchase contracts, either.
Some cities have guidelines and truth-in-housing rules that govern repairs before resale. Other cities do not require that sellers replace failing roofs. Be sure to check the rules for the city in which you're buying or selling.
Home inspectors do not perform roof certifications unless they are certified to do so. They may do a visual study from the ground but won't climb on the roof to check it. Roofing inspectors climb up on the roof to check it. They will then issue a report that describes:
- Missing or loose roofing materials.
- Overall condition of roofing materials.
- Ridges, caps, and drip edges.
- The soundness of drains, downspouts, and gutters.
- Flashing around roof pipes, chimneys, vents, and valleys.
- Mounting of HVAC units.
The inspector will also check other items that affect the roof's life and could cause problems for other parts of the home down the line.
If the roof does not require repairs, the roofing inspector will estimate how much life in the roof remains and will certify what shape it's in. The certification is good for two to five years, but some cities may have different rules.
If the roof does require repairs, the roofing company will issue the certificate after it is fixed. If you have a roof warranty, be sure to get any needed repairs done while it's still in effect.
Why are Roof Certifications Done?
The purpose of a roof certification is to let the lender, buyer, and seller know what shape the roof is in. Roof repairs can be costly, and a person thinking of buying a home would want to know if the roof on that home needed to be fixed. They are also done so the buyer knows how many more years will pass before they may need to pay to have the roof fixed. This also helps the sellers of the house. They may want to pay for the roof repairs so they can still sell the house.
Many realtors advise their clients to provide a roof certification to a buyer to show the buyer the house's roof is in good shape. If the sellers refuse to provide a roof certification and the roof is older, home buyers might decide to pay for their inspection and make the repairs needed a contingency of the sales contract.
A home buyer might be trying to choose between two houses. If one provides a roof certification and the other doesn't, the one with the certificate might be a better choice for a buyer.
Who Needs a Roof Certification?
The need to obtain a roof certification is driven by who the real estate market favors at the moment. A seller's market is when prices rise due to a decrease in the number of available houses. A buyer's market has too many homes in supply, which can cause prices to drop.
A roof certification is neither a guarantee nor a warranty. Instead, it is a roofing professional's opinion on what kind of shape the roof is in. Lenders then use the certificate to decide if they want to lend money to a buyer to purchase the house.
When selling your home, you should look at buyer trends. Are roof inspections being required? You should also read the regulations in your area regarding what sellers must do in regards to their home's roofs. In a seller's market, the roof condition might not matter. On the other hand, buyers could be so eager to buy a home, and they might purchase one that needs roof repairs.
During housing market changes, and often in seller's markets, a roof certification is not a buyer demand. In a buyer's market, it might be a factor buyers want to see in a sale. Your realtor should be able to tell you which way the market is trending.
Factors That Impact Roof Certifications
When looking at your roof's condition, the inspector will consider the type, age, pitch, layers, and previous repairs. Common types of roofing materials are shingle, wood shake, clay or concrete tile, slate, metal or steel, tar and gravel, and synthetic.
Roofing companies say that wood shake roofs often require more repairs if they are older than 10 years. On the other hand, tile roofs can last 50 years, as long as nobody has walked on them, which can cause cracks or broken tiles. Shingle roofs are often good for 20 to 40 years, depending on the quality of the shingles.
Although not all states require seller disclosures, many roofing companies will refuse to certify a roof if a seller does not disclose repairs done in the past. Likewise, roof inspectors will want to look at a past repair to ensure it was done right and won't cause further problems.
Most roofing companies will not honor claims due to natural disasters or severe weather. They only cover problems that have been caused by faulty work on their part. The events most companies will not include on a workmanship warranty are damage from high winds, foot traffic, or skylights or solar panels that were put in wrong.
Natural disasters that damage a roof are covered by either a homeowner's insurance policy or a flood insurance policy. If a weather event has damaged your roof, be sure to contact your home insurance provider.