If you’ve decided to sell your home, but the roof is in a bad state of repair, can you sell your house if it needs a new roof?
According to a survey carried out by Zopa, the return on investment for a new roof is 63%. But more importantly the state of repair of your roof may affect whether homebuyers are able to get a mortgage to buy your home. Which is why it’s important to understand whether you can sell your house if it needs a new roof.
If the roof on your house is in a very bad state of repair you should replace it before you sell. If you don’t and your roof needs replacing, you may struggle to sell it to conventional homebuyers, as they may not be able to get a mortgage on your home if it’s considered uninhabitable. Also, it will be a negative to potential buyers and will decrease the overall value of your home by more than the price it would cost to replace the roof.
You may be able to repair the damage without needing to replace the entire roof. But you will need to get a specialist roofing contractor to check your roof first.
Will a new roof help sell your house?
A new roof will help to sell your house as it will give a great first impression. Homebuyers will be comforted by the fact your house has a new roof. They will take comfort knowing it will be water tight and won’t require maintenance for some time to come.
But be aware you will probably spend more on a new roof than it will add value to your house. On the other hand, being able to promote a ‘brand-new roof‘ when you list your house will be a major positive for potential buyers.
Be sure you need a new roof before replacing it in its entirety. Bear in mind you might be able to repair the roof or patch it up. But this will depend on the type of roof you have that needs repairing.
For example, if it’s a flat roof on the house that’s in a bad state of repair it will probably be best to replace the complete flat roof section. However, if you have a slate or tiled roof you may be able to replace the damaged slates or tiles. This is on the assumption the integrity of the roof structure is sound.
On the other hand if the roof is a thatched roof these are more tricky to insure. If the thatched roof is in a bad state of repair, the insurance company may require a full roof maintenance and replacement program.
But homeowners insurance may not be available if the the house needs a new thatched roof. Which means buyers will not be able to get a mortgage.
Does getting a new roof add value to your home?
Getting a new roof on your home will add value as a new roof will improve the kerb appeal of your house. A new roof will improve its desirability. As a consequence this will make it easier and quicker to sell your house when you list it with an estate agent.
However, you will probably only get back about 63% of the money you spend on a new roof when you sell your house, as discovered by Zopa. So if you spend £10,000 on a new roof, you’ll probably only get back £6,300 when you sell your house.
Can you get a mortgage on a house that needs a new roof?
It will be very difficult to get a mortgage on a house that needs a new roof, especially if the surveyor considers the house uninhabitable.
The reason why lenders are cautious about lending on properties that need a new roof or that are uninhabitable is because they have no guarantee the buyer will do the work. If the buyer doesn’t do the work and the house leaks badly, this could lead to severe water damage to the rest of the house. If the buyer defaults on their mortgage and the lender has to repossess the property, this damage will make it much harder for the bank to sell and cover the outstanding mortgage. Banks don’t like the risk.
But some lenders will approve a mortgage but only release a portion of the funds at the time of purchase. This means the lender will retain a percentage of the mortgage. This is called a mortgage retention.
The lender will release the rest of the mortgage monies after the building work designated by the surveyor has been completed. Which means the homebuyer will need to have available the necessary funds to complete the works.
Can you get home insurance on a house that needs a new roof?
Homebuyers may be able to get home insurance on a property with a bad roof. But not necessarily on a house that needs a complete new roof. Buyers will need to disclose the extent of damage to the roof to the insurance company at the outset. This will enable them to assess the risk of cover.
Sellers should be aware that if homebuyers are not able to get insurance cover on the house, this will affect their ability to get a mortgage. Mortgage companies insist on homeowners having an active homeowner’s insurance policy in place from the date they become responsible for the property.
If the reason the roof needs replacing was as a result of an insured risk (like storm damage), your insurance company should pay for the repair or replacement. But if the replacement is down to a lack of upkeep and maintenance, your insurance company won’t pay for the repair. This is because insurance companies will not cover roof wear and tear.
If buyers are able to get insurance cover, the insurance company will not cover any consequential damage caused if the roof leaks into the house. Also, the insurance company may insist buyers get the repairs done within a certain timeframe from completing the purchase.
What do to if your buyer asks for a new roof?
If your buyer asks for a new roof you should pay for an independent survey on your roof or get a reputable roofer to check the roof for you. Surveyors are sometime overly cautious when they survey a house, so it will pay to get things checked independently.
But bear in mind that if you don’t act on the request from your first buyer and your house sale falls through, it’s possible you may have the same problem with your next buyer. Which might mean your house sale could fall through twice or more if you don’t act on feedback from your buyers.
Who pays for a new roof buyer or seller?
It should be the seller who pays for the new roof. This is either before the house is sold or as a price reduction when it’s sold. But if the roof does need replacing, it’s better if this is done before the seller lists it for sale. Otherwise it will be difficult for buyers to get a mortgage and insurance on the property.
Is it reasonable for buyers to ask for a price reduction if a house needs a new roof?
If the homebuyer’s survey has indicated the house you’re buying needs a new roof, you are within your rights to ask for a price reduction. This is unless the asking price already reflects the fact the house needs a new roof.
If the asking price doesn’t reflect the cost of roof repairs or roof replacement, the price reduction should at least cover the cost of repair or the cost to replace the roof covering.
How to negotiate a new roof when buying a home
The best way to approach negotiating a new roof when buying a home is to assume the vendors will pay 100% of the replacement cost. Which means if the asking price doesn’t already reflect the fact the house needs a new new roof, your offer should be reduced by at least this amount.
Consider the following when you consider how to negotiate a new roof when buying a home
- You can negotiate directly with the sellers themselves. It’s more usual for negotiations to be conducted via the seller’s estate agent.
- It’s not advisable to use solicitors to negotiate a new purchase price.
- Bear in mind when negotiating that the asking price should be reduced by more than the cost of the new roof.
- Who chooses the roofing contractor? Consider a joint decision.
- What input you have as a buyer on the type of roofing replacement. You may prefer a certain type of roof covering, which may be different to what’s already on the roof. If your choice of roof covering is more expensive you must to be prepared to cover this extra cost.
- Who will carry out the roof repairs? If it’s the seller there’s no guarantee the buyer will proceed after the repairs are complete. If its the buyer they will want to know the sale will complete.
- When it’s the buyer’s surveyor who has picked up that the house needs a new roof, the seller may want to have an independent survey done.
- Be prepared to walk away from the property if your negotiations don’t go to plan.
Final thoughts on can you sell your house if it needs a new roof
If you are selling your home and it needs a new roof you should replace it unless you absolutely can’t. If you do so it will be much easier to sell.
Unless it’s a flat roof, it’s unlikely you’ll need a complete new roof. However, if the roof has been leaking for some time the roof structure may have been compromised. But even then the damage should be localised to the leak. Which means more often than not the roof won’t need replacing, but could be repaired instead.
Which is why you should get a roofer to check the roof for you. Get at least two to three quotes for the work. Don’t always go for the cheapest quote, especially if the roofer can fit you in next week. If the contractor is free next week this may suggest they are not busy for a reason. That is, they are not a reputable roofer.
But even if the roof doesn’t need replacing and only needs to be repaired instead, you should repair it before you sell.
But also, this is a very good reason why you should read this article too. It’s about how you could save over £70,000 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. Even I was amazed when I did the calculations!
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