The big ticket items are where the equity disappears. One of the biggest is the roof. Once a potential home owner sees water damage on the walls or ceilings; notices the old shingles or is alerted by their home inspector that there is a roofing problem that equity quickly vanishes.
A pre-listing inspection can not only let a seller know what they are facing ( repair or replacement) and in the case of repairs can give them some less expensive ideas for fixes. Just like basements, it is best to look at this head on and not to just paint over water damage. Just because the leak seems to have stopped it does not mean that it will not come back. Do not paint the basement!
Rain or water from thaw comes at the house from different angles. Light rains might not recreate the problem leading the home owner to think that the issue was a onetime deal. But a later hard driving rain with winds from the right direction might renew the problem.
Replace? Most roofs last about 20 years. So if the roof is older assume that it will need to be replaced. Other things to look for are moss or other green algae from constant moisture; wear around the chimney or other protrusions; shingles with damage or that are missing. And of course the interior signs brown water spots on ceilings or walls; areas of puffy dry wall or outright drips.
A full roof replacement is the costliest option but it will increase the value in the buyer’s eyes.
In some cases a second roof patch can be added. It looks and works like a new roof but will not last as long as the full replacement.
Leakage or damage around protrusions: The chimney and pipes have all had the shingles and roofing materials worked around them. This creates potential for the water to work it’s way in via small openings or cracks that eventually grow. Likewise the gutters may pull away, twisted or not have been attached well, allowing water to stream along the exterior wall and down into the foundation. Check the attic on a sunny day and turn the lights off. Check the underside of the chimney and the stack vent. Look for little pinhole spots of light indicating that the roof needs repair or replacement.
A temporary fix: There are options that can create a barrier. In the past, tar or epoxies might have been swabbed around these areas. Often this is now replaced with new materials such as self adhering, water proof sheathing underlayment like Grace Ice & Water Shield. Additionally, flashing can add air and water proofing. After your fix, return to the attack and recheck for those pinholes.
Repair cracked shingles: If there are only a few cracked or torn shingles then repairs can be simple. The home owner may opt to do it themselves.
A temporary fix: With roofing sealant and a putty knife the crack can be filled. First a bead of sealant under the cracked shingle covering exposed areas. Then press the shingle down. Repeat placing sealant on top and use the putty knife to spread it ensuring that all areas are filled.
Torn or missing shingles: Only use the above method if the shingle is cracked. Otherwise replace it. Match the shingle to the existing ones as closely as possible.
Curled corners: Older shingles may have begun to curl but are not yet broken or cracked.
A temporary fix: With a bead of sealant under the curling edge press the shingle down. Hold for a few minutes until it stays.
Warm, dry afternoons are the best time to try a repair. The shingles will be suppler from the sun making them less likely to crack.
NEVER climb onto a roof that’s wet, icy or covered with morning dew, be extra cautious if there is moss as well – these are all slipping hazards.
Be alert to the signs of water damage. Often if caught in an early stage there is an easy fix. Whether done by the home owner or a professional taking the time to search out issues before listing a house will help decide rates, anticipate final expenses and keep the profits from leaking away before the close.