While most people know they’ve found their perfect new home the moment they walk through the door you need to know a good deal more about the property before agreeing to a sale. A home is one of the few lifetime investments that will appreciate noticeably over time — so make sure you aren’t stuck with a money pit demanding constant repairs.
A problem roof is costly to fix or replace. Inspecting it, inside and out, is essential for spotting tell tale signs of damage or structural defects. Ask the realtor or owner about the age of the roof and its repair history and don’t forget to give the garage roof the same once over.
Snakes and Ladders
Before you grab a ladder, take a preliminary look around with a pair of binoculars. Walk around the outside of the property looking for signs of aging or sagging. Are there signs of previous repairs? If so, make a note of the position and check the rooms below for interior damage. Pay particular attention to steep valleys and roof surfaces obscured by vegetation.
Look out for missing shingles or those showing curling or cracking or loss of texture. Slate and clay tiles are also prone to chipping. Very old wood shingles covered with moss or wood rot will almost certainly need replacing. When calculating the cost of repairs consider modern alternatives like fiberglass roofing sheets.
When you do climb that ladder, examine the flashings and gutters and the underside of roof overhangs. Look for open wood joints and if you suspect rot use an awl or sharp knife to determine how deep the decay goes.
Inside the house check each of the upper rooms carefully for bubbling paint or plaster and stained panels; the classic signs of water leakage. Damp or discolored attic insulation is also a good indicator of a leaky roof.
Buying a new house is a big decision that will tie up much of your disposable income for at least 15 years. Forking out for a new roof is not the best way to start that long-term love affair with your dream home.