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What should a realtor look for when showing a listing to a client?

How does a realtor or a client know whether to pursue a house or to walk away?

It really depends upon what the clients are looking for. If they want a historical home and if the home has not been restored, they can expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars or more in restoration. Some buyers are looking for fixer uppers, but even then, they will walk away if the renovation is too costly or overwhelming.

Most buyers are looking for a house that is close to move in ready without expecting to spend a lot of out of pocket money within the first 5 years of ownership.

The top three high dollar repairs facing a prospective home buyers in the Houston area are:

  1. Foundation Settlement
  2. Roof
  3. Air Conditioning / Furnace (HVAC)

This blog addresses roofs.


This blog will address shingle or composition roofs only as they are the most common type of roof in the Houston area.

The cost of replacing a roof can escalate if there are multiple layers of shingles that must be removed or if the roof sheathing or deck that supports the shingles has rotted. Placing a third layer of shingles is prohibited by code. If two layers already exist, then all layers must be removed before applying new shingles.

Roof Shingles

Shingles are often rated at 15-year, 20-year, 25-year, or 30-year shingles; however, the life expectancy of ALL shingle/composition roofs is about 15 years.

To determine the age of a roof can be tricky. A rough guesstimate is to take the age of the home and divide by 15. For example: if a house is 35 years old, then 35 divided by 15 is 2 with a remainder of 5. This means the house should have had 2 roofs (the original and the replacement roof), and it has approximately 5 years left before it needs to be replaced.

This does not always hold true because of shingle damage caused by wind or hail which could cause a roof replacement before its normal life expectancy. It is also impossible to tell how many years of useful life are remaining. A tropical storm or hurricane can cause early repairs or replacement of a roof.

What To Look For

Sunshine, rain, and age will cause the protective granules in the shingles to wash away. These granules protect the shingles from damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. Look for discoloration of the shingles that move vertically. Shingles will have a washed effect as shown below.

Before and After Roof Wash for UV Ray Damage

Look for shingles that are lifting up along the edges of the roof as well as the middle of the roof. Look for shingles that are brittle, torn, or damaged. In the photo below, note that there are several raised shingles. If there are only a small number, then the roof can probably be repaired instead of replaced. The more raised shingles there are indicates the roof is at the end of its useful life.

Lifting Shingles

Look for sags in the roof. This could be due to sloppy workmanship, but it could also be due to rotten sheathing underneath the shingles. A home inspector should always inspect the roof structure from inside the attic to determine if there is a structural issue. Further assessment by a roofing contractor may be required.

Sagging Roof Shingles

What To Do

Ask the home owner how old the roof is and if it has a transferable warranty. This is a negotiable item. Either the seller or the buyer can pay for a new roof. Some roofs will function well for another few years before they have to be replaced. If the buyer is expected to pay for a roof, get several estimates so that the buyer can budget for a new roof when they purchase the house.

If the roof is in good condition, plan now to set aside some money each month to go towards a new roof. Determine the approximate age of the roof. Divide the cost of a replacement roof by the number of years remaining (15 years – remaining years left). Your professional home inspector has been trained to inspect roofs. If they detect issues, they may recommend further assessment by a specialist.

Call us today for a free home inspection quote.