When we're shopping for a new home or property to add to our portfolio, there are numerous factors to take into consideration. Sometimes it can be difficult to spot the problem areas.
Although the initial impression is vital, it isn't everything. While the neighbourhood, the garden, the layout and the overall health of the property are all important, where you really want to be looking is up.
The roof is arguably the most important facet of any home and can prove incredibly costly and disruptive to repair or replace. When you've just funnelled all of your savings into putting a deposit down for a new home, it will be painful to realise you need to replace a roof. We've gathered a handy list of the top things you should be looking at when going house hunting.
First, inspect the roof from a distance. If you can see any notable worn spots or missing shingles even from a low vantage point then there is probably a lot of work that needs to be done.
You might also notice signs of curling or a fair amount of mould and mildew, in which case the roof is either old or has been poorly maintained. Either way, it will probably need to be fixed or replaced in the near future, so this should be taken into account when making an offer if you really like the property.
Don't be afraid to ask the current homeowners about existing warranties, the age of the roof and the contact details of the roofing company that worked on the roof (if they have it). The more information you have, the better.
Note that roofs with asphalt shingles should be inspected by professionals at least every couple of years, particularly after strong weather. Wooden, metal, and tile shingles should be checked at least every 5 or 6 years.
Before putting your final offer on the table, it's always recommended to ask for a full property inspection. This will include a detailed report of all facets of the home, including the roof.
Althorough inspections can be expensive and if the inspection turns up bad news that leads to you turning away from the property, it could be seen as throwing money away. You should instead see it as saving you a larger fortune in the long run.
If you can, check the guttering and the drains to make sure everything is in order. It's common to find leaves and general detritus gathered in them, particularly after a heavy winter, but if you find pieces of shingle or grains of asphalt floating in the gutters, it might be a sign that the roof is losing its weatherproofing.
The loft ventilation system might not be something you'd initially consider, but without it, the roof could end up warping and your energy costs could skyrocket. With decent ventilation, not only will your bills decrease dramatically - but there will also be less moisture build-up in the roof itself.
Even a small roof leak can lead to a major problem if left untreated. That small breach in your defences could lead to elemental damage of your loft insulation and it could even drip down into the rooms directly beneath, potentially ruining carpets, floors, and staining walls.
You'll generally find leaks around the chimney or next to vents and flashings, so be sure to check there first and also ask the current homeowner if there have been any recent leaks. They might not be 100% honest, but it's always worth asking just in case.
If you've fallen head over heels for a property, you might overlook the fact that the roof is in a state of disrepair, but you'd be doing so at your peril. When you're buying a property, you're taking on liability for everything about it - including the roof. So, it's ultimately up to you to do your due diligence and make sure you're buying a home with a roof that won't fall in the moment you sign the mortgage!