It’s become the new ‘norm’, as potential homeowners try to get their feet in the door any way they can. We understand this, but passing on home or roof inspections in order to get the house is risky business.
With bidding-wars upping sales values by hundreds of thousands of dollars, many buyers are desperate to jump into home ownership. Many are also willing to forego the home and roof inspections process, buying ‘as is’ without any conditions whatsoever. Or, they’re agreeing to a pre-inspection done by the sellers or real estate agent. This is a major red flag for me, as there’s a big conflict of interest with the inspector who gets a lot of business from the selling agent.
Trust me, they will be less likely to do a thorough job or raise any issues.
Having bought a home without any conditions, or with a shady inspector, you will now be on the hook for any potential problems as well as the maintenance of this home.
If you’ve rented in the past, a simple call to maintenance or the landlord took care of all your problems. Now, you are the person who must maintain the property. Home ownership is a major responsibility and you must get some education on how to best take care of your new investment.
To help you take care of your new home, especially one that may not have been properly inspected before buying (I’m not judging, Toronto’s market is hot!), I’ve put together a list of things you should be doing and watching out for in your new home, especially as it pertains to your roof.
Once a year at a minimum and always before winter or the spring. This is especially important if you have trees on your property to clean the eaves and ensure your roof is in good health. They will tell you the age of the roof and how many more years you have until it needs to be replaced, any small repairs they can do to extend its life, if there are problems with the skylights, flashings, eaves etc.
Or in very close proximity of your roof, as they tend to scrape against the shingles, taking off the protective granules, or piercing them over time. Every fall, trees drop all their leaves and contribute to the eaves buildup as well as algae growth on the shingles. If you have coniferous trees, don’t think you’re home free; pine needles become acidic as they decompose and deteriorate shingles wherever they are being dropped. Just like bird poop.
Especially with large, leafy trees in the yard. You don’t know if the previous owner cleaned them out regularly. If there’s a buildup of rotten leaves, this will prevent the proper drainage of your roof and can cause ice damming during the winter and damage to the home’s structure over time.
This will allow you to seek out the company if there’s any warranty claims, manufacturing defects, etc. These roof warranties are usually transferable, just like HVAC warranties, so make sure you get all the paperwork that goes along with your home.
Ideally, you would get it inspected before you move in but it’s never too late to find out what, if any, potential problems your new home has.
Flat roofs in Toronto actually leak more than sloped ones. After rain, check if your flat roof is draining properly. Did you know that most of the older flat roofs don’t drain properly? When I climb up for standard flat roof inspections I usually find a miniature kiddie-pool in the middle of the roof! This problem needs prompt attention as it will leak over time. The roof will need to be re-sloped or have a ‘scupper’ put in to prevent this damaging pooling.
The reason why I’ve focused mostly on roof related issues in this list is because a house literally needs a roof over its head to keep you and your family, as well as your fancy new furniture and decorations, dry and protected. If you start from the opposite end, by renovating, painting, and decorating first, you will be doing it all over again once a leak springs and ruins all of your efforts and savings.
Remember, just because the roof looks good from the driveway/road does not mean the other side of the home is in the same condition. I’ve seen roofs partially replaced to give a home curb appeal, or just before a sale, then new buyers are walking into an unknown problem just waiting to happen. Once you’ve ensured that your roof is sound with a thorough roof inspection by a knowledgeable roofer, and you know your foundations are secure, you can start the decorating and moving in process.
For example: I had a homeowner in Forest Hill move into a newly bought home with custom built floor to ceiling cabinetry. This was also a major reason for them buying the home. During the first winter, the roof developed a leak from ice damming, damaging all of that fine cabinetry and the hardwood below it. The solution wasn’t simply a repair of the roof: it cost well over $5000 to repair all the interior work and that’s before my costs of fixing their roof. This is exactly why roof inspections exist. A simple inspection before they moved in would have told them they had to re-roof as soon as possible.
In addition, there are companies in Toronto that are used by unscrupulous sellers before a home goes on the market to ‘spruce’ up the property, just to make it more appealing to buyers. Many times they will attempt to hide expensive fixes, such as structural problems or roof leaks with carefully placed furniture, decorations or repainting the problem areas just before the home goes on the market.
If a home has just been repainted, that’s one of the red flags you should watch out for. If it’s just the second story of the home, including the ceiling, that’s a double red flag. I call this type of home a ‘pig with lipstick’; it’s making a run-down home appealing for a short amount of time. New homeowners, already stretched with insane mortgage payments, will have to deal with expensive leaks and structural problems. I’ve seen a lot of clients and friends being bamboozled into buying money pits and I abhor such practices, along with the companies willing to hide structural damage.
Proper roof inspections eliminate these problems. Or, at the very least, they allow the purchaser to at least be aware of the potential costs involved in buying a particular home.
You never know what you will get in the end, especially with the older homes in Toronto. They may look good on the outside, but what lies beneath the drywall or under your roof shingles?
Roofs and foundations are the largest expenses in home maintenance. New owners should address any potential issues before they become expensive complications. Having joined the exciting, yet daunting, world of home ownership, there are many things you need to worry about in your new home.
Let us take care of the most important one, your roof. Contact Archer Roofing to thoroughly inspect your property and put your mind at ease when it comes to the health of your roof.
Most people don’t think about things like roof inspections until it’s too late. Be proactive.