29 Sep. 20

Roofing Inspections and Home Buying

There are so many things to consider when buying a home.  Are you going to build, buy a spec home, an existing house, a new neighborhood, or an established one?  Which side of town, basement, deck, or patio, pool or no pool?  Kitchen size, layout and how long will you be in it?  These are all important questions in addition to the area, schools, amenities, accessibility, and more.  Having a solid and experienced realtor is a great first step.  However, he/she is going to want to know some basics in terms of location, house preferences, and your needs.  

There are pros and cons to buying a new or preexisting home.  Much of it is personal preferences and being in the right place at the right time.  And the market will have a big impact on your selection too.

Homes, like cars, can break down over time.  Think about the number of moving parts in a home on everything from garage doors, closets, doors, and cabinets to opening and closing windows.  Everyone wants to be able to buy a pre-owned car that has a long track record of solid maintenance so they know what they are getting.  Real estate is a different story.  If there have been multiple owners you do the best you can in researching the condition of major issues in hopes of heading off an expensive home improvement during the first few months of moving into the home.

While you can’t put an entire house under an x-ray or run a scope to search for “code” issues like you can in a vehicle, you can go over the home with an expert.  Nearly all FHA, VA, and USGA home loans require an inspection by a state-certified inspector.  A home inspection is like letting a doctor giving you a complete exam.  They will check the electrical service coming into the home, wiring and breaking panels for proper amperage, water pressure, plumbing, foundation, and basements, attics, appliance operations, outlets, and the roof.  They are looking for structural and safety issues as much as anything because no house is perfect.

The average life of an asphalt shingled roof is 25-30 years if it has been maintained and been free of storm damage.  Curled, cracked shingles and valleys along with attic signs of previous water leaks are not a good thing.  However, as professional and diligent as most home inspectors are there can be underlying damage that only a roofing professional can find, or assess.  More than one home inspector has been fooled on roofing assessments and analysis.  If you know it going into the purchase you can leverage the replacement cost against closing costs, or reductions in the price.  However, too many homeowners have their personal story of having to replace a roof within the first 18 months of owners without being prepared to do so.

This isn’t to say anything negative about home inspectors.  An overwhelming number of them get it right.  But if you have any doubts about the condition of a roof on a home you are considering take the extra step and contact a professional roofing contractor.  Ask them to walk the roof, tour the attic, and give you their professional opinion.  More than once a professional roofer has discovered storm damage on the roof of a house for sale that the homeowner was unaware of.  Enter the home seller’s insurance company.  These professionals look for signs of aging, shingle nail tears allowing water ingression, curled shingles, drip edge, gutter, or ventilation issues that are causing problems.  Many of them can be rectified without replacing the entire roof within that first year.  And many homebuyers go ahead and purchase a property knowing the need for a roof replacement and including it in their overall budget.  

Reputable and established roofing contractors will perform an inspection at your request because they usually get the job for replacement or repair.  However, they also care about people and homeowners.  It’s why they do what they do!  A roof replacement is one of the biggest expenses you can incur when purchasing a home, but it’s also relative to the protection, safety, and insulation it provides during extreme weather and weather-related events.  Next to your garage door, the biggest opening to your residence is the roof.  If you look at it from a 3-D comparison with the walls and other entry points you would see the roof covers the entire house, not just a portion thereof.  

And established companies back up their workmanship with warranties in addition to the individual material warranties for shingles, etc.  Companies that care aren’t out to fool customers because they don’t need to for business.  They are locally owned and operated which means they have a vested interest in the community in which you are about to purchase a home.  The name on the side of their truck means much more than a single roofing job!

Gilstrap Roofing has been covering the roofing needs of the Upstate since 1935.  We are a family-owned, local business.  We are proud of our BBB and Angie’s List ratings.  Contact us today for all your roofing questions and needs.

Brian Gilstrap, President  

Gilstrap Roofing

Greenville, SC 29611