Roofing Value – How a new roof is a good investment, in certain cases

Where do you live? Homes in different parts of the city have different expectations, depending upon the area. One would expect a high end roof in the nicest neighborhoods of Encino,  Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Tarzana and Woodland Hills. Whereas, most roofs in Northridge or North Hollywood are not expected to look expensive.

There are certain circumstances where it’s relatively certain that you will be spending your money wisely if you replace your roof. For example, if you are certain you will sell your home, but not immediately, say, you intend to live there a few more years and your roof is leaking in several spots, worn out and you’re facing a substantial repair bill, you’re probably better off replacing it.

Roof Repair vs New Roof

Opting for a repair may stop the leaks, but if you go to sell in a few years, that money spent on repairs will be effectively lost when the buyer is told the roof needs replacement, which he will.  They will almost certainly get an inspection which states the roof needs replacement, and negotiate new roof costs into equity credit – a reduced price.

Of course, they may not succeed in getting all the credit, every real estate deal is unique, but it’s not going to help you either.  A worn roof does not usually look very nice and therefore it reduces curb appeal and selling a home. In this regard, is much the same as selling anything else – it’s a product in a market and if no one wants your product, if you have few buyers, you may end up with a lower price.

Every situation is unique and there can be circumstances where you can get away with just repairs even when replacement is obviously required.  If it’s a flat roof, it’s not visible, and you can just repair it relatively cheaply to stop the leaks until you sell then you might skip replacement.  You will probably lose something in the sale since this will come up, but perhaps not the entire cost of a new roof and even if you did, you’ve not lost much, especially if you were not in a position to afford it in the first place and were required to get a loan to cover the costs.

If you’re going to live in your home long term then of course it becomes a no brainer, but I am often asked “when to repair, when to replace?”  Not everyone can afford a new roof, which probably averages about $7500.00.  But if 2-3 reputable roofers tell you that your roof has only 3-4 years left, and the repair estimates are equal to roughly 10% or more of the replacement price then should probably just replace it.  There’s little sense in spending so much money to repair a roof that will only last 3 years.

You should just invest that money in the new roof.  You are guaranteed against leaks, you will not have wasted money on repairs and you will never have to spend money on your roof again (most roofs nowadays are guaranteed for 25 to 50 years – far longer than your average person lives in the same residence).  Even if you were required to get a loan to secure the funds for a new roof, it’s possible that over a 3-4 year period, the interest on the loan would roughly equal the repair costs and the advantage here is that you get to live with this new roof during that time period.

Also, it is important to understand that when your roof is in its’ final years of life, it is not uncommon to face repair bills every year and indeed, shingle roofs can be impossible to properly repair in their final years because the shingles become too brittle to fix.

Last but not least, if you’re going to sell your home immediately and you need a new roof, it may be a wash as to whether or not you should replace it.  However, if it leaks all over the place, these are things that you’ll have to disclose so you should consult your real estate agent on this as they are experts in this area.

Los Angeles roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing. In this blog series he shares his years of roofing information he has from roofing homes in all Los Angeles areas including Altadena, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Northridge, Pasadena, Encino, Los Feliz and Silverlake.