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3 Reasons Why a Buyer Wants the Seller to Pay for a New Roof

October 16th, 2023 | 6 min. read

3 Reasons Why a Buyer Wants the Seller to Pay for a New Roof

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Buying a new home is a huge decision that can’t be taken lightly. That’s why it’s not surprising when home buyers want certain things fixed before signing on the dotted line. 

Some requests are reasonable and don’t turn into deal breakers. However, a problematic roof is a completely different story.

So, I understand if you’re taken aback when a potential buyer wants you to pay for a new roof before buying your home. Especially when you consider how much it costs. 

But is it a reasonable request? And if it is, why?

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners in the Nashville area determine what to do about selling or buying a home with an older roof. Now, I’ll help you understand why you may have to pay for a new roof before selling your home. 

This article covers the following:

  • 3 reasons why a buyer wants the seller to pay for a new roof
  • What should you do when the buyer wants you to pay for a new roof?

3 reasons why a buyer wants seller to pay for a new roof

The truth is the buyer takes on a big risk when buying a home with a roof that needs replacing. So, it’s valid for them to ask to pay for a new roof if your current one falls into any of the reasons below.

However, it’s a matter of digging deeper to determine if the roof is really a problem. 

1. Your roof has reached the end of its lifespan

Once a roof reaches the end of its life, the only thing that’s left to do is replace it. So, a buyer has every right to ask you to pay for a new roof if your current one has reached the end of its lifespan. 

Think of it as buying a product knowing it’s defective before even opening the box. This is especially true if your roof is currently leaking or has had frequent leaks in the past. 

3tab asphalt shingle roof that has reached the end of its lifespan(3-tab asphalt shingle that has reached the end of it's life)

While every roofing material has its own lifespan, you most likely have 3-tab or architectural asphalt shingles. Assuming the roof was properly installed and has adequate ventilation, you should get around 20 years.

So, don’t be surprised if a potential buyer asks you to replace your roof if it's near or past the 20-year mark.

2. Your roof is improperly installed

Even though every roofing material has a specific lifespan, the quality of installation ultimately determines how long a roof lasts. In fact, poor installation can lead to a roof that’s a few years old being in worse condition than a 15-year-old roof. 

So, the buyer is well within their rights to ask you to pay for a new roof if the home inspector finds your roof is improperly installed. Now, mistakes do happen during the installation process. 

improperly installed architectural asphalt shingle roof(Improperly installed roof)

However, a roofer would have to really not care to end up with an improperly installed roof. Unfortunately, this happens often because some homeowners try to get the cheapest roof possible

Even if leaks haven’t shown up yet, it’s just a matter of time. So, it makes sense for a buyer not wanting to take on a roof that’s not functioning correctly. 

3. Your roof shows signs of major repairs

Speaking of improper installation, the next reason a potential buyer wants you to pay for a new roof is when it shows signs of frequent problems in the past. Let’s say your current roof was improperly installed 10 years ago, and major leaks showed up in different areas over the years. 

3 tab asphalt shingle roof with patch repairs

Once the repairs are done, there will most likely be patched areas. This clearly indicates that the roof has (or had) continuous leaks and other problems. 

A roof with multiple large repairs is easy to spot due to mismatching colors. It’s also unsightly, which most homeowners don’t want when investing hundreds of thousands into a new home. 

What should you do when the buyer wants you to pay for a new roof?

After learning why, you’re ready to learn what happens when a potential buyer wants you to pay for a new roof. Every buyer is different, so it’s a matter of personal preference and motivation. 

Let’s look at a few ways to handle a problematic roof when selling your home. 

Move on to another buyer

The first way is to simply move on and wait for another buyer who’s willing to take on a problematic roof. With interest rates being what they are currently in 2023, buyers are more cautious about taking on homes needing work. 

So, it really depends on the market when selling your home and finding a motivated buyer. Just be willing to adapt if the roof keeps being a pain point for buyers.

Take the cost of a new roof off the asking price

The next way is simply agreeing to a contingency on the offer, stating that replacing the roof is required before closing. This is the easiest option, but it relies on both parties being reasonable. 

I recommend having the potential buyers get a few quotes to find some middle ground on how much should be taken off the asking price. However, make sure they’re getting quotes for the same roofing material and not a premium upgrade. 

Replace the roof before closing

The next way is to simply agree to a contingency on the offer stating that replacing the roof is required before closing. If you accept the contingency, don’t be surprised when they get quotes like the previous option.

After all, the roof being installed is on their future home. But just like before, make sure the quotes are reasonable and use the same roofing material.

Just know that it’s not the worst idea to replace your roof before selling your home, especially if you know it’s a problem. In fact, a new roof even increases your home’s value when putting it on the market. 

How much does a new roof actually cost?

After reading this article, you should understand why a potential buyer would want you to pay for a new roof. You also know the ways it’s handled by both parties involved.

As long as everyone is reasonable and willing to work together, the roof shouldn’t cause a sale to fall through. However, it ultimately depends on you, the buyer, and how motivated both parties are.

But no matter what, you’ll probably have to replace a problematic roof before selling your home. That’s why it’s important to know how much a new roof costs so you know what to be prepared for from a pricing standpoint. 

Check out How Much a New Roof Costs in 2023 to learn what you can expect to spend or take off the final price when selling your home. roof cost calculator

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