What if you want to buy a house that needs a new roof? This might be a simple question, but the solution can get complicated. Here are your options if you find the ideal property in the right location but the house needs a new roof.

My House Needs a New Roof

First, you could negotiate your best price and after closing have a roofing contractor put on a new roof, assuming you have the cash to do that. Depending on the total square feet, that will cost $12,000 to $18,000. Second, if your lender requires a new roof before they will fund your loan and close (because the roof has less than two years left), you could have a dilemma. But there is an approach that often works, and it’s an approach I used for the sale of the home in this photo.

New Roof

This home has two roofs that are full of moss, and the roofs are 38 years old. The buyer’s lender required a new roof for both houses prior to closing. So then the question is, “Who will pay for the roofs?” A buyer isn’t going to put money up prior to closing to repair the roofs, and a seller isn’t going to advance money to put on a new roof before closing. There’s always a possibility the buyer won’t close, so a seller doesn’t want to risk it, and the seller may not have the funds anyway.

A New Roof Solution

In this case we simply raised the price by the amount of the roofing contractor’s bid to a new roof on both houses (one roof is the main house, and the other roof is the guest house above the shop). The total roofing bid was $28,000, so we raised the agreed selling price by that amount, and we hired a roofing contractor to do the work prior to closing. Since the roofing contractor has a 10 day grace period to pay his roofing supplier, the roofing contractor could do the work and get paid out of escrow at closing. That way neither buyer nor seller had to come up with the funds to put on a new roof.

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