Looking for your dream home is exciting, but sometimes you can have “new house” goggles on. You see everything that’s perfect with the home and can envision your future in the rooms. Unfortunately, those goggles can get in the way of issues in the house, that might seem small now but can turn into a huge headache down the line. The roof falls into the category. When potential buyers are looking through a new home they’re focused on the interior the most of the back yard. Unless the roof has recently been replaced, making it part of the selling point, the realtor probably won’t mention anything about it. The reality is that an old or damaged roof can cause a lot of problems for the interior of the home from leaks, to mold, to damaged wood, and more. It’s important to know what’s going on before you buy the house. Even if you’re willing to take on the expenses, you need to be prepared. Here are a few questions you need to ask the real estate agent or the owners before buying the house.

How old is the roof?

Roofs can last between 20 to 25 years depending on the type of material and the overall maintenance, some materials last even longer. If the house is older, ask whether the roof has been recently been updated or replaced.

What kind of warranty is on the roof?

Since roofs do last for quite some time, the company that installed it will often have some kind of warranty guaranteeing their work. Typically this can last about 20 years or so depending on the company and the type of roof they installed.

Has a repair been needed?

Your real estate agent might already mention this as it could be a selling point for the house. If repairs have been made they should be able to provide the documentation showing what repairs were completed, the warranties, and the contact information of the company who did the repairs. If the owner did the repairs, you can have a roofing inspector look over the work to verify it was done correctly.

Are there any cosmetic issues?

Small cosmetic issues might not be a huge issue for you as the buyer. It’s on the roof so no one is really going to pay any attention. The issue is that damage to the roof means that some of the underlayment is exposed which could lead to more issues such as water damage, wood rot, and more.

Is the seller willing to replace or negotiate the price?

If there are potential issues with the roof before you buy the home, discuss with the real estate agent about the current owners replacing the roof, and then adding a percentage of the cost to the final price. They could also negotiate to reduce the price of the home because the roof replacement or repairs would become the buyer’s responsibility.