Buying a Home? Here's Your Roof Inspection Guide

Tile roofIt’s dreadfully stressful.

You’re investing hundreds of thousands into a pre-owned home and the last thing you want to find post purchase is a costly problem—especially in the roof.

Consider this:


Let’s do you a solid: Here’s a simple guide to roof inspections so that you’re not stuck with a new home that has a bad roof or you’re not overpaying for a home with a bad roof.

Before the Offer: Look for Signs of Water Infiltration

To better shape your offer right out of the gate, look for potential roof problems the first time you see the house.

Whether it’s an open house or private showing, there are a number of things you can look for:

  • Water stains on ceiling — These are a dead giveaway of a leak in the roof.
  • Fresh ceiling paint — While not always a sign of a roof leak, it could be a sign that someone has tried to paint over water stains.
  • Curled shingles — If the home has asphalt shingles or cedar shakes, look for curling at the edges. This is a sign that the shingles are near the end of their usable life.
  • Missing shingles and tiles — Red alert: if shingles or tiles have been missing for a while, the roof may have water damage.
  • Water stains under the roof — Peak in the attic and look around for signs of water infiltration.
  • Water damaged fascia boards — Look for cracks and discoloration in the fascia boards around the roof. This can be a sign of an old roof.

With flat roofs or shingle roofs, it’s easy to spot potential problems since they’re more obvious. But tile roofs can look fine and dandy from the outside while hiding some serious problems—like a deteriorated felt underlayment. Protecting the roof from water, the underlayment deteriorates over time and needs replacing every 12-20 years. Ask the seller when’s the last time they had the underlayment replaced. If they start sweating profusely, you may need to reevaluate your offer.

During Escrow: Listen to Your General Inspector

Some buyers ask us whether they need a separate roof inspection.

The answer: Yes, if the general inspector asks for it.

Home inspectors know enough to point out potential problems. But they’re not roofing experts. So when they see something that could be a sign of a bigger roof problem, they’ll usually recommend a separate roof inspection.

If you live in the Phoenix or Tucson area and need a roof inspection holler at us to inspect the roof.

What to Do When You Find a Problem

So, let’s assume some smart, amazing roofing company *cough*Lyons*cough* finds a serious problem with the roof. What do you do?

You have a few options:

  • Ask the seller to complete the repair/re-roof.
  • Ask for a credit so you can get the repair/re-roof done yourself.
  • Continue the process without negotiating.
  • Walk away from the deal.

Want to learn how much to ask for when negotiating price due to a roofing problem? Read our article: “Home Inspection Found Roof Problems—Now What?”

Lyons Roofing serves all of metro Phoenix and Tucson. If you’re buying a new home and want a roof inspection, give us a call!