I’m Flipping a House—Do I Really Have to Replace the Roof?

Flipping houses has become somewhat of a craze these days, especially with TV shows like Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, and Flip or Flop. If you’ve jumped on the bandwagon, here’s what you need to know about replacing or repairing a roof on the house you’re looking to flip.

If you’ve flipped a house before, you know from experience that you need to hire an inspector (possibly an infrared inspection service) to examine the home. He or she will be able to detect major issues that may not be obvious to an untrained eye, such as foundation cracks, a leaking roof, or damage from termites, water, or mold. The inspector will be able to determine the condition of the roof.

The roof structure is such a key player in the home’s integrity. It keeps water and creatures out, it keeps heat and cooling in, it plays a large role in curb appeal, and it protects the residents inside from adverse weather. If the inspector says the roof is damaged, it needs to be repaired or replaced (depending on the severity), no doubt about it. Remember that rarely will a buyer want to purchase a home with a damaged roof, no matter how beautiful the kitchen remodel is or how great the landscaping looks. Be aware that a badly damaged roof could be a deal breaker that will scare away any potential buyers.

In addition to checking for roof damage, have the inspector check the gutters. Gutters play an integral part in protecting the roof. Check to make sure that the gutters are draining properly, and consider installing a leaf guard if the budget allows for it. Leaf guards prevent debris and leaves from blocking the water flow of the gutters, allowing them to properly drain and avoid damaging the roof and the eaves. If the house has a chimney, be sure to check for a flue liner and install one if the home didn’t already have one. Flue liners are now required, but older homes may not have them installed. If the yard has tall trees, consider trimming them to prevent transferring mold from the tree to the roof.

If you have decided to replace the roof, take care to consider what color and materials will be best for the style of the home and climate in which the house resides. Choose a classic color that coordinates with the color of the stone, brick, or wood paneling of the home. Take care to meet the HOA’s standards for roof colors. When choosing the type of shingles, consider each option to decide which is best for your project. For instance, asphalt shingles are the least expensive, but they also have a short lifespan compared to other types of roofing. Metal and clay shingles offer a gorgeous alternative that last for a long time and may allow you to increase your selling price, but are a more expensive option and may not follow the HOA standards or style of the surrounding houses. There are many factors to consider when choosing the material for the new roof.

If there are no issues with the integrity of the roof, yet replacing it would give the home a much-needed facelift, you may consider replacing the roof anyway if budget allows for it. Updating the roof color and even shingle material can do wonders for the home’s curb appeal, and you could increase the selling price as well, as potential buyers may be willing to pay extra for a brand new roof and a beautiful exterior.