The roof is one of the most expensive parts of a house. You don't want to buy a property only to realize that it will need a new roof soon. You can avoid such surprises by evaluating the roof before closing the purchase deal. Below are some of the areas of focus you can use during the evaluation.
Some people will tell you not to focus on the cosmetic issues, which is good advice as long as you are sure the issues are strictly cosmetic. This is because some cosmetic roofing problems are a sign of underlying structural issues. For example, roof discolorations may be cosmetic, but they can also point to drainage problems. Therefore, find out what has caused the cosmetic problems on the roof.
Roofing materials differ in various ways. Some materials are good in energy conservation, some materials are durable, and some materials require high-maintenance. For example, asphalt shingles are not as durable as slate roofs. You need to know what you are getting so that you pay the right price for the house.
Drainage plays a huge role in roofing durability. When water doesn't flow off the roof in time, it accelerates the deterioration of the roofing materials. Wood rots when exposed to water, shingle granules may fall off, and metal can rust. You will probably need the help of a home inspector to evaluate roof drainage since it requires some skill and experience.
The age of the property is not necessarily the age of the roof since roofs get replaced all the time. You need to know the real age of the roof so that you can approximate how much longer you can use the roof before replacing it. The roof's age will also determine whether it is still under warranty. Don't forget that your home insurance company might balk at covering your house if the roof is too old.
If the seller inspected the house before listing it for sale, then the pre-listing inspection report should also tell you something about the roof. Some sellers inspect their properties to show that they have nothing to hide and to confirm that their properties don't have structural defects.
Lastly, you should also scrutinize the disclosures of the property seller for further insight on the roof. Note that the seller is obliged to disclose any structural defects on the roof. Good sellers will also disclose anything that potential buyers might worry about.
Hopefully, the tips above will help you buy a home with a structurally sound roof that won't give you problems soon after purchase. Involve a real estate agent in your home-hunting plans to try to ensure that is the case.