Seven Clues that Your Investment Property Needs a New Roof
Clue Number One: It Has No Roof.
It’s hard to say with confidence that any given part of a rental home is ‘more important’ than any other — they all kind of have to work together in a very specific way to accomplish their job — but if there was one part that fit the bill, it’s the roof. Roofs basically keep every other part of the building safe, and when they go wrong, it’s always a disaster. So how can you know that it’s time to invest in a roof repair before the tenant calls and complains of water damage?
Lifespan vs. Age
Every roof is installed with a specific lifespan, and it’s generally possible when buying an investment property to get an accurate-ish estimate of when the current roof was installed and what it’s lifespan was when it was installed. A bit of subtraction should tell you — it had a 25-year roof installed 21 years ago…yeah, you should invest in a new roof. Up front.
Buckled or Curled Shingles
Look carefully at the slopes of your investment house that get regular, direct sunlight. If the shingles you see are visibly curled or just plain missing, there’s a good chance your roof is either currently defective or will become defective the next time there’s a strong wind. Ask a roofing contractor whether you need a replacement, or you can afford to deal with a repair for at least five more years.
Missing Roofing in the Valleys
The most important material on any roof is in the ‘valleys’, the places where the rainwater naturally collects as it flows down to the gutters. If you can look at your roof and see even one place in the valleys where there are missing shingles, missing flashing, or any ‘bald spot,’ just commit to a new roof, because it’s almost a sure thing that you need one.
If the flashing around your chimney, vents, skylights, or any other ‘feature’ on your roof is the decades-ago kind that is made primarily of tar or roof cement, you need to get them replaced with modern metal flashing immediately — and you might very well need a much more extensive roof repair as well.
Granules Where They Don’t Belong
If the shingles you can see are missing granules — or if you see them at ground at the roof’s edge, or in a fan coming out of the gutter downspout — you’re probably going to need a new roof. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to make it another several years with a good repair job, but don’t count on it.
Similarly — if you find shingles in the yard, or there are visible missing shingles, you’re in the same boat as a above. Get a contractor out there to tell you how much you’re going to have to pay, and pay it: it’s better than the alternative of paying a lot more down the road.
Daylight Visible from the Attic
You’d be amazed at how many roofs look immaculate from the outside — but then when you get into the attic and look around, you can see blue sky clearly through several different parts of the roof. Yeah, that’s bad, too.