Roof Replacement or Not

LilFlowers MJLNJune 18, 2013

Our home is only 7 1/2 years old located in a rural area of Louisiana on 0.93 acre lot. It was built by Jim Walter Homes, but we bought it as a foreclosure 5 years ago. Our Realtor told us that since the house was practically brand new that we really didn't need an inspector. Being a first time home buyer, my husband and I went along with it. A couple of months ago, we had a severe wind storm that pulled off some of the shingles. We contacted our insurance and a roofer. The roofer told us that the shingles were not installed correctly on our home and that the whole roof would need to be replaced in order to do the roof correctly. The insurance adjuster told us that we didn't have a claim since it was due to poor workmanship.

Our roof has since been repaired but has not been replaced. We are wanting to put our home up for sell around this time next year. Our house is currently worth $159,900 and a new roof would cost over $14,000 for shingles and labor. Since we have an Acadian style home, we could put a metal roof on our home, but I am not sure if it is more expensive for that or if that decreases value. Could we put the home for sale as is with a lower than market price or is it worth it to get the roof totally replaced? Would it hurt us if we chose not to replace the roof? Does it raise the price of the home if it gets replaced? This would our first time selling so I am just curious.

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re roofing a house doesn't really pay back much if anything. people expect when they move into a place that the roof will be sound. A new roof may be a desirable sales point, and might help you sell your house faster. Since you have been told the work on the original roof was defective you will have to disclose that fact, unless the repair involved complete repair of all of the roof and not just that which was damaged by the storm. I would also try to get the opinions of a couple of other roofers and talk over your options with a couple of realtors. They can tell you what is standard for the area and give you an idea of whether your plans are advisable. Don't talk to just one roofer or realtor, go ahead and pick their brains while you are getting estimates for cost of roofs and values on your home. Do your homework and you will not be plagued later with "what if's and if only's". best wishes

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Talk to more roofers, if you only talked to one to begin with. It is possible that another roofing company would certify your roof for a period (of 5 yrs or 3 yrs). If they do that, then you should be good to go to sell (and address any roof concerns on inspection of buyers).

I'd not do metal. Generally, that would be more expensive than asphalt shingle.

And, wow! 14k for a new roof on a 159k house? Also worth it to get more bids. That sounds steep if you don't need new sheathing, etc.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 12:06PM
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Get more opinions. But, in general, if I were to look at a home with a roof that had issues due to poor workmanship, and it hadn't been replaced, I'd look a LOT harder at all of the other items in the home. I'd expect those to probably be poorly maintained as well. And my offering price would reflect that.

If your home is "worth" 160K, then without a new roof, it's only "worth" 145K. It needs all parts functional in order to keep it's base price. Defects and needed repairs are deducted from that in a buyers mind.

Also, Jim Walter homes and other owner participant build homes don't appraise or sell at the same price level as other similarly built homes that are builder built. There is a big question mark in most people's minds about the quality of the owner contributed labor that happens on those homes. The only way to set aside those questions is to have everything in perfect repaired shape with nothing for a buyer to pick apart---even beyond the prep for a standard home. That starts with the roof, and goes all the way through the foundation.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 1:25PM
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I mostly lurk on this site, and I'm no expert or anything but thought I could pass along our recent experience regarding roofing for the home we sold in January of this year.

The house is 50 years old, located in southeast Florida, and the condition and age of roofs are issues to the few providers of homeowner's insurance in this area- mostly it's Citizens Property Insurance, a semi-governmental agency that provides windstorm and homeowner's policies to homeowners who can't get it elsewhere (and very few insurers write homeowner's policies in Florida).

The roof in question was an architectural shingle type, 19 yrs old. We had a couple leaks we were chasing around, and with the last leak began looking for reputable roofers to repair the leak. Since we also anticipated selling the house, we hired tradesmen to fix other items that needed fixed. Around this same time, people insured by Citizens began getting notices of inspections of their homes, these notices also informed homeowners that their policies would not be renewed if if their homes had shingle roofs over 20 years old. We also heard stories ( from people who had gone through the inspections that the inspectors ( hired by Citizens, not the homeowners) were arbitrarily failing roofs over 15 yrs old, resulting in non-renewal of their policies unless the roofs were replaced.

We were beginning to think that perhaps with all this it was a good idea to at least consider replacing our roof, and we were advised it might be a good idea by several of those tradesmen ( who were relaying their own experiences with Citizens as we spoke of selling the house). We looked around, compared prices and figured that we could replace our roof with a three tab shingle roof for less than an allowance for a new roof that a buyer would want. A new roof would take care of the leaks, and it would meet current county hurricane codes as well. We found a great roofer and replaced the roof in September 2011, as well as hot-mopping and resurfacing the flat roof over the patio and pool, and replaced rotten wood and painting on the soffits and fascia, for a total of $14,500 ( about 3500 square feet).

We had informed the roofers that we anticipated selling the house, and they gave us a 10 yr warranty that included one new homeowner. Especially since roofs are such an issue in this neck of the woods, I'd like to think that a new roof with a warranty would be a good selling point.

Tiffany: It's also been our experience that if a roof is in questionable condition, it's going to come up as an issue when the house goes up for sale. Especially if you know there are issues with a roof, I'd get some bids to replace that roof, or consider an allowance to a buyer to replace the roof. I know we went with the least expensive option- the three-tab shingle roof, installed to code by a reputable roofer. IMO in those instances you spend what you need to (or can), but not any more than that. I'm sure that if we had to go with a roof replacement allowance for our buyers, they'd have wanted more than $14,500.

I know this is long, but your situation with a roof improperly installed sounds exactly like this very house when we bought it in 1985. Inspections on the house were required by our lender, and we could see the shingles were placed...well... looked like the roofer might have been stoned, crosseyed or drunk as he nailed them onto the roof ( nailed!). Our roofing inspector failed it as he stated it was a disaster waiting to happen, the seller's roofing inspector claimed it was perfectly ok. But my husband went to the county, checked the owner's roofer's license and found it fraudulant ( belonged to someone else). Considering the potential crime there, the owner backed and agreed to replace the roof. Needless to say, if we hadn't had to have house inspections, we'd likely have been stuck with that roof, as it sounds like you were with yours.

As for home inspections, seems prevailing wisdom recommends that buyers get those, doesn't matter the age of the home. From what I've seen, heard, read, there can be defects or problems in new houses just as there can be in houses 5, 10, 20, or 100 years old. And as a buyer investing significant sums in that new ( to you) home, you sure don't want to be stuck with a serious defect. I'd never consider buying a home without an inspection.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Without getting into anything about replacing or repairing options. I'd have a big bone to pick with my insurance company. And my realtor, for such absurd advice for that matter, but that's a different issue. I'm rather shocked that your insurance company agreed to cover your new-to-you home without either seeing the property themselves or wanting to see the inspection report - and since there wasn't one, they should have insisted on one. Insurance companies have become much more proactive in requirements for their insureds as detailed above and you don't have to live in hurricane country for that to be the case. So since they agreed to cover your home and that includes the roof that is now supposedly installed incorrectly, why didn't they catch that initially and insist on remediation? That *should* have been a requirement by them before insuring and then it would have been an issue to fix prior to your purchase and reflected in YOUR purchase price.

You said that you contacted your insurance and a roofer. In that order? By any chance did the roofer come at the recommendation of the insurance company? If not, how did your insurance company decide your roof was installed with poor workmanship? Did they send an adjuster out who did a thorough inspection, not just a stand on the ground with binoculars look-see? Did you tell them the roofer told you it was poor workmanship? You certainly should speak to at least one other roofer that is not referred by the insurance company or the realtor!! Lots of questions in my mind about how this has evolved and I feel bad for you because a great deal of it is just as you say, inexperience, but the end result of that is a high price tag. The real shame is there isn't a friend or family member with more house smarts and experience that you could have counted on for guidance. But I still smell something a bit fishy and would like to know a little more about how this all came to be.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:21PM
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LilFlowers MJLN

Ok, so the general message here is if it were your choice you would replace the roof. I would NEVER not disclose the roof or try to defraud anyone. It will be in paperwork and I realize that it will bring the price down significantly. We are first time home buyers but not first time homeowners. My husband was left with a fixer upper that already had a new roof on it. We fixed that up and that is what we will live in again once we sell our home.

Egbar-. I will contact realtors for their advice on the matter and any other matter that may hurt our resell. We only had one roofer show up at our house. The other 3 that we contacted either didn't contact us back, didn't show up, or fell off of a roof and was hurt. We only have a limited amount of roofers in the area. I guess I am going to have to branch out to the nearby city and see if maybe they would come out and give it a look for an estimate.

Kirkhall- We seriously called everyone in the phone book who were licensed roofers and had only one who showed up. How would they certify a roof? My current roof or the one I am planning to put on? Guess that is another item I will have to Google. Our roof is REALLY steep at 11/12. The one roofer who showed up said it was over 4000 square foot of roof. The garage is what took the most damage. It is considered a "detached" garage according to the listing, although it has a covered walkway that is attached to the house as well. There was only ONE shingle near the ridge vent on the house that was detached and hanging. We didn't even notice that one. Our insurance adjuster had to take a picture of it and show us. Whomever put the roof on didn't put enough nails in the shingle nor did they put the nails in the strip where the nails are supposed to go. I REALLY did not want to go with a metal roof but since I am wanting to sell and then build, I didn't want to eat up the money we have saved. According to the roofer, the sheathing is still in good condition.

live_wire_oak-Thank you for your reply. I do see your point. I was going to say that with replacing the roof, our price will lower anyway. I can see through the eyes of a homeowner that if it would need a roof, I probably would not buy it either and question other things in the house. This house was evidently a "customized" Jim Walter Home since there is not a floor plan like it. Back in 2008, I went to look at their floor plans because it amazed me that they would waste 6 ft x 19 ft on an entry hall. When we bought the house, it was in amazing shape. There have been very few issues with the house but I often wondered why they did certain aspects to the house. Such as, putting the house facing one road with no windows on the side of the house where the most land was. We have never had any other issues and didn't expect to have issues with the roof. Boy, was I wrong! We have replaced the carpet. There are delta faucets throughout with each sink having its own emergency shutoff valve. However, I have NEVER understood WHY they would put presswood base boards as the framing for the garage door. I noticed that about 2 years ago. We have changed out ceiling fans and some light fixtures as well. Reason: They didn't put the boxes in the ceiling in some of the fixtures for the wires to go through and I was afraid of it burning down our house. We found out about it after changing out a fluorescent light in the kitchen that broke and putting in another light. My husband didn't know what to say. Sadly, MOST of the homes around me are built the same way. We have had several neighbors complain about how their homes were built. BTW, the realtor told us it was a Jim Walter Home but it isn't anywhere in any of the paperwork that I have. Is there any way to check to see who built the house?

Marybird- I really wanted an inspection on the house, but the realtor convinced my husband that we didn't need one and big mistake there. We bought the house as a foreclosure and knew we would have to replace several things in it to get it more "sellable." We bought the house at a great price, so my husband didn't want to pass it up. It was only $120,000. It was in great condition. No wear and tear. Everything was new. In fact, when you walked through the door, it smelled like a brand new house. The previous homeowners had only lived in it for 1 year before the guy lost his job and couldn't find another one. It turns out my husband knew his sister in law. You are correct; Lesson learned! I will NEVER buy another house without an inspection even if the price is right. We are going to build but I am getting educated daily. Thanks to gardenweb. LOL

Thank you everyone. I just wanted a concensus view on how a person looks at buying a home as is like when someone buys a foreclosure. I really do want to get the best value for the money. It is partly why we aren't selling this year. I have plans of replacing the laminate countertop in the kitchen with that of a solid surface, repainting the walls in a neutral color. I also have to replace the flooring in one of the bathrooms because the previous owner obviously had a dog and it scratched the linoleum. Not only that but whomever put in the linoleum cut it peculiar and it is not straight plus there are cut marks in it EVERYWHERE. So thank you all again so much. I really do appreciate it!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:33PM
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LilFlowers MJLN

dlm- I will try to answer your thoughts without trying to skip out on it because I had similar thoughts as well. First, I was rather surprised as well since they came out to the house and took pictures of the home after we called them to switch our coverage from another insurance company to them. I was rather shocked when they told me that they couldn't cover shoddy workmanship. I argued with them until I was blue in the face.

I'm guessing that since we were with another insurance company before them that they "figured" it was an ok house. I forgot to mention this earlier since I was on the roof kick but we submitted a claim with our previous insurance. We thought the roof was leaking at that point. The adjuster came out and said that it was our air conditioner. He went on the roof and said the shingles were good for another 30 years. He said he checked it. I was outside watching him on the roof and he NEVER said that there was something wrong with our roof, EVER. It turned out it was the A/C system leaking into the ceiling by a pipe that our A/C man has since fixed.

We contacted the insurance who told us to find a roofer before they could do anything. They did not recommend anyone. We went through the phone book. This is a small town. We have about 6 roofing companies since we live near a military base. The roofer said that the roof needed a replacement since they did not nail it in the right place and claims that it was shifting. Then gave an estimate and then we submitted it to the insurance who then sent it on to the underwriter. About a week later, the adjuster came out and said they would not cover it because of the shoddy workmanship. The adjuster got extremely rude with me. He then talked to me as if I was a child. "This is a 3 tab shingle. 1, 2, 3. This is what we call an architectural shingle. See this strip here, there should be nails in it." I'm like ok. "There needs to be 6 nails in that strip since your roof is higher than a 7/12 pitch." He also told us that there is a article in our insurance that says they will not pay for the work if it isn't done correctly by whatever work is done.

Both the roofer and the adjuster got up on the roof to evaluate the situation. The roofer never said poor workmanship, but the adjuster did. We do have family that has experience but they don't live any where near us. I live an hour away from my family. No one has bought a home. My family usually builds there own. My husband's family are not people we like to deal with when it comes to buying something. It is just how it is.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 5:24PM
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I have a steep roof too--12/12 pitch. So, I get that.
They certify a roof by guaranteeing it won't leak in the next 5 yrs. A particular roofing company provides the certification. Usually, you'll pay them some amount of money to inspect it and repair what needs repairing, and then they'll certify it for the new buyers. That is something to check into.

Get out of the phone book! Who uses those these days? ;) Get on FB and ask your friends/husbands friends who has a roofer recommendation. google roofers for your area, etc. Does roof replacement require a permit in any local city? Go to the permit office and ask if they have a list of licensed roofers. Some general contractors are roofing companies. etc. The phone book isn't the way to go anymore, I'm afraid. (who put the roof on your fixer upper?)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 5:39PM
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Well, you know if the roof held up for 5 years without any problems, it can't have been that bad.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:12PM
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LilFlowers MJLN

Kirkhall- The fixer upper roof was done 15 years ago by my father in law who has since been in an automobile accident and his uncle who has since passed away. We had 2 friends recommend a roofer but after many telephone calls on many days with several messages left on the answering machine, no one called us back. In fact, they told a friend that they were swamped and were fully booked, so I am guessing that was the reason for the lack of response. They replaced the roof of our church, so that was who we were trying to get to come and bid as well as 2 others since I have always heard 3 estimates are better than 1. I am not worried about the roof going anywhere since this roofer added several nails to some existing shingles that looked like they were about to join the others that flew off the garage. The house didn't need much attention.I will have to look into certifying the roof.

nosoccermom-it lasted 5 years for us but was put on over 7 years ago. I never thought that it was bad roof. Maybe it was the architectural shingles that make it look good.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 11:08PM
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Tiffany, I just wanted to mention that it's often possible,to find out who built a house if you can access the building and zoning website for the county in which the house is located. That's usually available on the county's government website. The building and zoning site may have links where you can search for building permits for a specific address, the permits will list the names of the individuals who pulled them, and the name of their construction company, if applicable. If your house is only a few years old, that information might be readily available from an internet search.

If this information isn't available online, perhaps a phone call to your county's building and zoning information might get it for you. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 5:07PM
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Hi, OP. The behavior of your insurance company is criminal. The reason they come out to take pictures is to assure themselves that the house is in proper shape before they wrote you a policy. Figuring the house is "OK" because you had insurance elsewhere does not hold water. I live in tornado/hail country and just about everyone in my neighborhood, including myself, has had their roof replaced at some recent point due to hail damage. (There is a high hail deductible to pay with that, standard with insurance companies.) Some people take advantage of this...tottering along with crummy roofs until the hail comes along, but I guess that is for the insurance companies to figure out. Again, I cannot say this enough times, your insurer is behaving quite badly. I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Tiffany, did you or your dh go up on the roof to see if it is like the rude adjuster said? Just wondering if he was trying to feed you a line to get out of paying the claim.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 5:09PM
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Agree with the above posters, which is why I suggested that the roof installation can't have been that horrible if the roof lasted for 5 years without any problems. You also mentioned, I believe, that your first insurance company never said anything about poor workmanship nor did the roofer. Could you check with both to find out more about this?

Here is another thing I found:
"if the workmanship was poor and needs to be redone, that is not an insurance issue. If on the other hand, the poor wiring caused a fire, the insurance would pay. The insurance company would then go after the contractor. In other words:
Insurance may pay for the damage caused by the poor workmanship, but it will not pay to correct the problem."

The question is whether it is really true that the whole roof needs to be replaced to fix the problem, i.e. that a repair won't do.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 12:57PM
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