What to Look for When Buying a New Home

Making Real Estate Ownership Just a Bit Easier

When buying or selling a home, there is a lot to consider. However, according to Forbes, the condition of the home’s roof should be priority number one. You want to make sure the roof is structurally sound and has been well-maintained. The roof is one of the home’s most vital, and most expensive, features.  Whether you are looking to list your home for sale or are looking to purchase a home soon, here’s a list of what to look for on the roof before signing on the dotted line.

The Age of the Roof

aged roofAccording to Forbes, the first question you should ask is regarding the age of the roof. While a well-maintained roof, with quality materials, can have a substantial lifespan, substandard materials and/or shoddy installation can dramatically shorten a roof’s life cycle. Thus, considering the age of the roof is a great place to start.

Unfortunately, on occasion, the current homeowner (whether it’s you or the potential seller you are looking to purchase from) does not know the age of the roof. While some signs of aging can be visible from the ground, such as missing shingles or damaged tiles, many other important warning signs often lay beneath the surface. This is where an inspection by a licensed professional is essential. Traditionally, before a home can be listed, a formal inspection is completed. If the seller has already done an inspection, ask to see it. If you are the seller, contacting a professional to carry out an inspection will provide a potential buyer with peace of mind.

While you may be hesitant to schedule an inspection, it is important to remember this: a roof replacement can be a costly expenditure that, when unexpected, may derail the selling or buying of a home. With that being said, information is the most important asset. Once you know whether a home has a new roof, or needs one, you can often negotiate accordingly.

From the Ground

Before obtaining a formal inspection, there are several signs of potential concern that can be viewed from the ground. If you simply stand at a distance from the home, you can likely spot some superficial signs such as mold and algae, missing/ damaged shingles or tiles, clogged gutters, and deformities such as sagging in the roof. It’s important to keep in mind that a visual inspection is not a substitute for a formal evaluation of the roof’s condition – just a good place to start.

Mold and Algae

In wet climates, roofs can become breeding grounds for mold and algae. If a roof is showing dark, black, or green streaks or spots, chances are, mold and algae have taken hold. Neither one is a good sign. Not only do they both affect the curb appeal of your home, but they jeopardize the well-being and lifespan of the roof. It is important to particularly check the north side as it is the one most likely to show signs of growth. While smaller gaps in your roof that cause leaks and mold may not visible from the ground, if there are visible signs on the roof, it is advisable to dig deeper with a professional inspection.

Missing/ Damaged Materials

Whether the roof is shingle or tile, missing and/or damaged roofing materials can often be spotted from the ground and should be attended to straight away. If the roofing material is missing or damaged, the roof is vulnerable to weakening underlayment and potential leaks.

Clogged Gutters

Are the gutters overflowing with debris? If so, that could be indicative of several potential issues- including water backup and overall lack of roof maintenance. If water starts backing up, it can seep into the eaves, and eventually lead to rot. However, keeping your gutters free of debris will ensure water will flow as it should and not back up into places where it shouldn’t be. Lastly, be sure to check for soft spots under/behind gutters in corners and places where water can collect in heavy rain events.

Roof Deformities


While this warning sign may not be as easily spotted as those previously listed, depending on the situation, it is possible. You want to look for places where the roof might be sagging or have soft spots.

The Report

While a visual inspection of the roof from the ground can provide key insights into the well-being of a roof, it is also to be aware of key components that could be the source of a potential roofing issue in the future. Below are a few of the things you should look for when reviewing the inspector’s final report.


While the condition of the actual roof is hugely important, other aspects, such as ventilation, should be considered as well. Picture it: The first part of the inspection report indicates that your potential home just had a new roof installed. Great! However, as you read on, there are some questions about the ventilation (or lack thereof). Every roof should have proper mechanisms to allow sunlight and air to come in easily. Poor ventilation can be the cause of several serious (and costly) roofing issues. If ventilation isn’t up to par, you could face mold or a warped roof in the future. However, ensuring a home has proper ventilation will not only protect your roof but help lower your AC cost. Certainly a win-win!

Canals and Seepage

A seepage system involves downspouts, gutters, and drainage pipes. Evaluating these components involves getting on the roof and carefully conducting a detailed inspection, hence why it is best left to a professional. However, if there are any deficiencies noted on the inspection report, it is important to consult with a roofing contractor before proceeding.

Breaks and Leaks

Roofs are typically prone to leaking in the valleys, roof seams that connect additions, headwall flashings, plumbing vents, and chimneys. It is important to have all leak points evaluated by an inspector before any real estate transaction. If a leak is visible, remember that, while water may be pouring out of one spot, it could actually be leaking from somewhere further away from the problem area. That is why it is so important for a trained professional to diagnose any potential issues, and to ensure they are addressed before finalizing the transaction.

New Home Roof

One of the most important things you should be considering when purchasing a new home is what’s on top. After all, this could turn out to be your family’s biggest investment, and not buying an appropriate roof would mean risking everyone in it.

Roof Commander is the local go-to for all of your roofing needs! Whether you’re a seller, buyer, or agent looking to avoid any hiccups before closing Roof Commander will have everyone covered. If you want more information on what we offer give us a call at (352)459-7599 and let’s get started today!