How to Negotiate a New Roof When Buying a Home
So you’re about to buy a new home – CONGRATULATIONS! It can sometimes be a stressful process going through everything before the house is your home. One of the most overlooked things is perhaps getting a roof inspection before you purchase the house. A roofer will let you know if the roof is in tip-top shape or if repairs need to be done, or even – *gasp* – a replacement roof is needed. If either of the latter is true, then you might want to talk about how to include that in the overall price of the house. Here’s how to negotiate a new roof when buying a home.
Despite it likely being one of the most expensive things you’ll purchase in your entire life, buying a house is more like haggling at a flea market for an intriguing piece of upcycled furniture than it is paying for something in a store — it’s all negotiation.
Yep, as long as an agreement can be reached between the seller and buyer (within the confines of the law), no terms are off the table – which means, as the prospective buyer, you shouldn’t be scared to communicate your demands if you feel something needs addressing. Something like, say… a questionable old roof.
Is a roof replacement a big, not to mention expensive, job? Yes, but it’s also an essential part of the “product” you’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for. So, if you’ve found the house of your dreams, but the roof is more of a nightmare, let’s discuss further how to negotiate a new roof when buying a home.
Tips on Negotiating a New Roof When Buying a Home
Okay, so we know you’re probably not a professional roofer, (a professional roofer can most certainly help) but there are things you can look out for and questions you can ask when viewing a property that may shed some light on the state of a roof before you make an offer.
You need to find out…
- What materials were used on the current roof
- How old the roof is and who installed it
- When it was last inspected
And you should keep an eye out for…
- Water stains on the ceiling or walls of the top level of the property
- Mossy areas
- Missing or worn shingles
Inspections and Your Rights As A Buyer In Colorado
Inspections are a must when you’re thinking about buying a house. At your expense, an expert appraiser will assess the property and report back to you on any minor or major defects.
Do bear in mind, however, that a standard appraiser will only assess the roof from the ground.
To get a full roof inspection, you’ll need to contact a roofing specialist. It will give you leverage when thinking about how to negotiate a new roof when buying a home.
As per the standard Colorado real estate purchase contract, you’re then well within your rights to stipulate that the seller remedy any housing conditions that these inspections flag as unsatisfactory. After all, if the damage is severe, it may affect your ability to secure a mortgage or home insurance, in which case, the seller can kiss your offer goodbye!
In fact, as the climate in Colorado swings between extreme heat in the summer and lots of snow in the winter, roofs in our Centennial State often fall into disrepair, so it shouldn’t come as a shock to the buyer if the inspector finds some damage up there.
Whether the seller will agree to your terms is another matter entirely, but a new roof doesn’t necessarily have to be a dealbreaker if you know how to negotiate in these kinds of situations — let’s run through some key tips.
Establish Your Terms As Early As Possible
As discussed, you’re well within your rights to request structural defects of a home be remedied before you buy, but you need to give the seller plenty of notice. The earlier you lay your terms out on the table, the more receptive the seller will be.
How early, you ask? Well, we think it’s best that you establish a positive roof inspection as a contingency when you make your bid for the house. This way, the seller is well aware of your needs when they accept your offer, but don’t rest on your laurels just yet.
In order to be as forthright and efficient with your requests as possible, it’s important that you book the inspection sooner rather than later, so you and the seller are made aware of structural issues in good time.
Making A Strong Case
More than simply letting the seller know that you want the roof to be replaced, you need to really make your case, and explain why replacing the roof is the right thing to do.
To give your buying conditions a strong foundation, be sure to have the roofing specialist you hired to carry out the inspection provide a detailed rundown of what precisely is wrong with the current roof.
What’s more, if the roof is or is nearing the 20-year mark, remind the owner that if they weren’t selling, they would have to replace the roof anyway, and being that you’re not the one who’s been living in the home, the onus should not fall on you to pay for the replacement.
The overall message you should be sending is that for a quick and easy transaction, they need to accept your terms, otherwise they’ll have to put their home back on the market and place their life on hold for the foreseeable future.
If you know for a fact that the current owners need to get out fast, say… to purchase their new property before someone else has a chance, you can use this as leverage without seeming too forceful or demanding. You are, after all, addressing their needs by reminding them of the urgency of their situation.
Get Multiple Quotes
At this point, the seller may be hearing you, but worried about how much a new roof will set them back. Getting quotes can clear up this uncertainty, but it’s important that the seller feels this is done in a fair and impartial manner, which is why it’s a good idea to get three quotes in total and allow the current owners to select one of the companies.
You should also have each roofing company provide breakdowns detailing exactly how the money would be allocated between materials and labor.
Be Reasonable in Terms of Budget
As you’ll be moving into the house, you should get a say in the kind of roof installed, but to sweeten the deal a bit for the seller, you may want to go easy on the pricey materials, designs, and contractors.
Even though, ultimately, you want the owners to pay, trying to keep costs down and perhaps even secure a discount with a contractor may be the very thing that convinces them to submit to your requests.
Possible Options When Negotiating a New Roof
Now that you know a bit more about how to negotiate a new roof when buying a home, you’ll be presented with a few outcomes for you to consider:
Seller Pays For Roof Installation Before Closing
Your first option may be to have the seller pay to have the new roof installed before closing on the house.
- The house is complete when you move in.
- You won’t have to worry about organizing anything.
- You don’t have to pay the contractor any money.
- Roof installation can take between a day and a week depending on the complexity and size of the house and roof design, so the closing date will likely be a little delayed.
- Sometimes, the only people who can claim materials and workmanship warranty are those that pay for it. As such, it won’t transfer to you when you get the keys, leaving you in a sticky situation if there’s a problem with the new roof at a later date.
- You may not have as much say in the materials and design of the roof.
Seller Gives a Discount On the House
Another popular option (and probably your best option) is to have the seller deduct the cost of roof installation from the agreed offer on the house, so you can use the difference to have a roof installed yourself after closing.
- Sellers are typically far more likely to agree to these terms.
- As you’re technically paying for the roof, you shouldn’t have any issues with warranties.
- You may be able to negotiate a large discount for shouldering the burden of having to organize installation yourself.
- You get full control over materials and roof design.
- You have to organize the installation process. During this time, even though a good contracting company will strive to limit any inconvenience, you may not want to move in until after project completion.
Seller Pays You to Have Roof Installed After Closing
With this option, the value of the house remains the same, but the seller uses the equivalent of roof installation fees to reduce the buyer’s closing costs, thereby freeing up some funds for post-move installation.
- You get full control over the type of roof that gets installed.
- Sellers are more likely to accept this request.
- No warranty issues.
- Again, the responsibility falls on you to organize the installation, pay the contractors, and deal with any inconveniences during the installation process.
If the seller genuinely isn’t willing to budge, you could just call it quits and walk away, but as a last-ditch effort, you may also want to offer a compromise weighted heavily in your favor. For example, you could offer to split the costs 70/30.
The seller may push for 50/50, but as the buyer, you should be in charge of the negotiations, as you could retract your offer at any point. If you’re particularly in love with the house, going “halfsies” isn’t a terrible result, but it’s more than you should be willing to bend.
In this scenario, it’s a good idea to ask your realtor to inform the seller of what their house is likely to sell for now that the problems with the roof are common knowledge. This reminds them that they will have to deal with the roof issue eventually and that it’s best to address it now than to waste time putting the house back on the market and going through the same thing with a different buyer.
B&M Roofing and New Homes
Knowing how to negotiate a new roof when buying a home can add more layers to an already tricky situation, but with the right tools and experts involved, you’ll not only have the house of your dreams – but a nice roof to keep you cozy.
If you’re interested in purchasing a property in or around the Denver area, whether residential or commercial in nature, contact B&M Roofing today. We’ll send out a highly-experienced member of our team to inspect the roof and provide you with a quote for repairs, or, if necessary, a full replacement.
Our expert opinions, detailed reports, and great prices may be just the bargaining chip you need to get a new roof included as part of the sale on your soon-to-be dream house.