Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

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bagelhead
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Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by bagelhead » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:52 am

Home inspection showed age-indeterminate water damage in the attic wood and some ceilings. Some moisture is also present in the attic now. The roof was changed about 6 months ago.

Inspector suspects improper roof replacement and ongoing ? mild ? leak. He also suspects the leak was present before the roof replacement as well, as there is evidence of some prior repair efforts. Sellers disclosure states nothing. Inspector suggests additional semi-invasive roof inspection, which will cost at least several hundred dollars.

Realtor says the roof is under warranty and therefore any problems related to the roof should not be an issue. My instinct is to walk away, as repairing the roof is not something I am interested in, nor do I want to risk additional major problems (more leakage, black mold). Also, we would be "buying" their problem, as we would have to disclose a history of roof leakage when we sell the house.

What are the Boglehead's thoughts?

miamivice
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by miamivice » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:58 am

Check into how transferable the warranty is. The full warranty probably won't transfer but a portion is.

Honestly, I'd walk away and buy a house that didn't have indications of water damage.

123
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by 123 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:02 pm

I'd just move on to another house and pass this one by.

If the roof wasn't properly maintained/fixed there are more likely to other problems which you just haven't found yet. I'd have some doubts about the roof warranty. Does it transfer to a subsequent owner? Is the warranty for labor and materials? Is the individual/company that installed the roof still in business to service the warranty? If they screwed up on the initial installation there is no assurance that a warranty fix will be any better.
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Not Law
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by Not Law » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:03 pm

Sounds like improper attic ventilation. There needs to be air flow from the soffits to the peak area to eliminate condensation in the attic.

BIGal
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by BIGal » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:38 pm

Assuming the realtor you are referring to is the sellers...and not one working for you. If he/she is your realtor, you may want to reassess that decision as well. Good luck.

miamivice
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by miamivice » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:41 pm

All real estate agents work for the seller (the seller pays both agents in typical transactions). People work for the person who forks over the money.

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Bob B
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by Bob B » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:33 pm

The Realtor's response is the typical one used to move the sale along. No warranty will stop a leak and you will still be the one stuck with the hassle of remediation. Take him or her out of your decision.

If you really like the house, you need to find out if the leak is active. If it is and nobody wants to be responsible for it, walk away or be willing to take ownership of the problem.
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lthenderson
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by lthenderson » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:39 pm

If the house was the one I wanted, I would negotiate to have the sale contingent on the leak being fixed at the sellers expense whether that means a new roof or figuring out exactly where it was coming from and solving that issue. I would not however go ahead and buy the thing and count on a warranty. I would also be prepared to walk away if it wasn't fixed 100% to your satisfaction.

On a related note: I bought my current house "as is" and it turned out to have a roof leak along with a plumbing leak. Both were easily fixed and I have never regretted buying it.

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plannerman
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by plannerman » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:19 pm

I just had a new roof put on our house--one with a 50-year guarantee. We had a leak with the first hard rain. I called the roofing contractor and he refused to come back and fix the leak. So I had little choice but to hire another roofer to repair it. So my take is the guarantee isn't worth the paper it's printed on. YMMV

plannerman

BIGal
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by BIGal » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:23 pm

miamivice wrote:All real estate agents work for the seller (the seller pays both agents in typical transactions). People work for the person who forks over the money.

You may want to do a little research on this question. http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_g ... k_for.html
I agree that agents do get paid by the seller, however, "buyer's agents actually work for the buyer and have a fiduciary responsibility to look out for the interests of the buyer".
That is why I asked the question because it does make a difference.

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jfn111
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by jfn111 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:08 pm

BIGal wrote:
miamivice wrote:All real estate agents work for the seller (the seller pays both agents in typical transactions). People work for the person who forks over the money.

You may want to do a little research on this question. http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_g ... k_for.html
I agree that agents do get paid by the seller, however, "buyer's agents actually work for the buyer and have a fiduciary responsibility to look out for the interests of the buyer".
That is why I asked the question because it does make a difference.

+1

August
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by August » Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:40 am

While my first instinct is that I would pass on the house due to a chronic roof leak, it's also important to know where and why the roof is leaking. Is it an easy fix? Is it leaking around a vent or pipe boot that could easily be replaced, wind damage to the shingles, or a downspout letting out on the roof that could be redirected? Is it a flashing issue? How is the roof ventilation? Or is it leaking due to a dead valley or improper roof design/construction?
Working in a job where I see roof leaks daily, I wouldn't put much faith in the roof warranty, but YMMV.
Also keep in mind that depending on the location of the house and the type of roofing material, a six year old roof is nearing middle age. (For example, I live in the south and a 20 year shingle will last around 12-15 years due to the sun, ice, wind, and hail we tend to get here)

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Kosmo
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by Kosmo » Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:22 am

If the roof really is under warranty then the sellers should have no issue getting it fixed for you. At the very least insist on that and that they cover the cost of a 2nd inspection by a different roofer (not home inspector) to make sure it was fixed properly. Or you could ask for a price reduction that would cover replacing that entire section of roof, including shingles, underlayment, plywood, etc. Or you could walk away.

DoTheMath
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by DoTheMath » Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:36 am

In addition to the issue of the roof, I would give thought to whether this is an isolated issue or indicative that the previous owners were not careful to keep up with maintenance and the shoddiness of repairs. When we bought our house there was several issues we knew about like the OP's roof issue. We were okay with that as we could include the cost and hassle in our negotiations. What we didn't account for was the other issues which didn't show up on the inspection (none serious, thank goodness) which have cropped over the years.

The sort of owner who is willing to own and sell a house with roof issues may well have half-assed other maintenance and repairs over the years.
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Carson
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by Carson » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:06 am

I would be careful with the roof warranty as well. This might refer to the actual performance of the shingles themselves under normal condition, but would not cover improper installation, subsequent damage, etc...
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hand
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by hand » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:26 am

BIGal wrote:
miamivice wrote:All real estate agents work for the seller (the seller pays both agents in typical transactions). People work for the person who forks over the money.

You may want to do a little research on this question. http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_g ... k_for.html
I agree that agents do get paid by the seller, however, "buyer's agents actually work for the buyer and have a fiduciary responsibility to look out for the interests of the buyer".
That is why I asked the question because it does make a difference.


As it turns out, there is sometimes a difference between who salespeople say they work for (you) and who they really work for (the person with something to sell & paying a commission and themselves).

Undoubtedly, buyers agents market themselves as having a fiduciary duty to the buyer, however in many cases, the reality can be different - as a buyer it is your responsibility to ensure that the buyer's agent's interest in earning a commission doesn't result in a higher bid price than absolutely required, you don't accept defects that can't be easily remedied, you don't work with vendors (inspector, lender, insurance) who charge a premium, but where benefits go to the agent rather than to you.

As a thought experiment - what is your remedy if your buyer's agent suggests your first offer is $10k higher than required? What if they suggest a roof leak isn't a big deal and probably covered by the warranty and you should move forward, but it turns out the problem can't be fixed or the warranty service won't perform. What if they recommend you use an overcharging lender who their broker just so happens to have an ownership stake in rather than a market priced lender. For all practical purposes, you have no recourse.

The line about trusting someone as far as you can throw them applies here.

While there are undoubtedly many good agents who do their best for their clients, my experience is that this isn't the majority. It would be horribly naïve to believe that your agent is prepared to meet an unenforceable promise of fiduciary duty rather than focus on ensuring a quick sale and their competing fiduciary duty to themselves and their family.

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Watty
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by Watty » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:42 am

The manufactures warranty will also only cover defective materials and not defective installation. Any problems defective materials would rarely show up in the first ten years so it was almost certainly a installation problem

Some roof warranties require that their "roofing system" be used and that the contractor registers the roof along with proof they they were certified in that "system" and that only that companies "system" products were used in addition to the shingles. Many contractors are not certified by the manufacture or will use less expensive supplies other than the actual shingles so the long warranties you sometimes hear about do not apply.

I had a similar problem when I had a leaking roof replace and the crew put the roof on did not fix the flashing which was apparently one of the problems which was causing the original leak so it still leaked after the roof was replace. The roofing company apparently had subcontracted out the work to different crew because their normal crews were busy. The first two times they "fixed" it they just tried to use a tar like caulk to seal the leak. In addition to being ugly when you actually got up and looked at the roof, it didn't stop the leak and likely would have only lasted a few years even if it had worked. After much pushing they removed about three feet of shingles and put in new flashing and new shingles but I was lucky I was able to get them to do that. It seems to be OK now.

You can insist that the seller pay for the roof inspection, but you should hire the inspection company.

Even though you don't want to deal with the repairs I would still have the roof inspected since you are in a great position to pay hardball with the seller. November is a great time to buy a house since there are so few other buyers in many housing markets. Depending on your local market the seller may be looking at not being able to sell the house until next spring if this sale falls through. This is especially true if their house has been on the market for a long time. If the seller needs to sell this house before they can buy their next house then one thing they may also be worried about if interest rates will go up and if the interest rate on their next mortgage will be a lot higher if they wait until next spring to buy their next house. They may even have tax reasons that they want to get the sale completed by the end of the year. They may even have another house under contract or they could be building a new house that will be completed soon.

One problem with agreeing to more repairs of the roof is that you will not know if the repairs work or not until there are several hard storms and it could be many months until you have had several hard storms. After you have the roof inspected you could require that the seller pay repairs by a different roofing company if they cannot get it immediately done by the contractor that put on the roof. You would also require that they also pay to have the roof reinspected.

In addition to that you could also significantly drop the offer price to cover your risk that there might me more problems with the roof and you might need to have it replace. I don't know you local market but I would consider insisting on the repairs AND dropping the offer price by the cost of the new roof.

At a low enough price the house is likely a good deal so I would push hard since you have nothing to lose. You can also start shopping for a different house in case this one does not work out.

stan1
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by stan1 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:46 am

This is your decision not the realtors.

1) Is this a highly desirable house due to location, a special fit for your needs, or are there dozens of similar houses on the market that meet your needs? The more desirable the property or better fit for your needs the more I'd be willing to work with the sellers. A lot easier to walk away if there are many other houses that will meet your needs.

2) Houses are complex and there are thousands of things that can go wrong. MOST roof leaks are fixable but sometimes there are design flaws in the house that make recurring roof leaks a problem. You need to find out whether the spot is an isolated leak, whether the new roof was laid down incorrectly and needs to be replaced, or whether the roof design is flawed and will require major rework to fix. If you live in a climate with freezing temperatures you need to take that into consideration (I've never lived in such a climate so can't help).

3) If the house is well located and meets your needs in ways that other houses on the market don't I'd ask the seller to fix the problem or give you a credit for the repair. Don't accept the answer that it is under warranty; if it is the seller should call in the roofer and get it fixed before escrow closes. Most warranties are for materials. Labor is case by case with the roofer. In general my preference is to ask for the credit so that I can get the job done right. Under the time pressure of escrow the seller will ask their realtor to recommend a roofer who is available now, works fast and is low cost. That means quality will be a lesser consideration to schedule and cost.

4) Starting the process to walk away may get the seller to respond with a more favorable answer.

bagelhead
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by bagelhead » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:03 am

Watty wrote:The manufactures warranty will also only cover defective materials and not defective installation. Any problems defective materials would rarely show up in the first ten years so it was almost certainly a installation problem

Some roof warranties require that their "roofing system" be used and that the contractor registers the roof along with proof they they were certified in that "system" and that only that companies "system" products were used in addition to the shingles. Many contractors are not certified by the manufacture or will use less expensive supplies other than the actual shingles so the long warranties you sometimes hear about do not apply.

I had a similar problem when I had a leaking roof replace and the crew put the roof on did not fix the flashing which was apparently one of the problems which was causing the original leak so it still leaked after the roof was replace. The roofing company apparently had subcontracted out the work to different crew because their normal crews were busy. The first two times they "fixed" it they just tried to use a tar like caulk to seal the leak. In addition to being ugly when you actually got up and looked at the roof, it didn't stop the leak and likely would have only lasted a few years even if it had worked. After much pushing they removed about three feet of shingles and put in new flashing and new shingles but I was lucky I was able to get them to do that. It seems to be OK now.

You can insist that the seller pay for the roof inspection, but you should hire the inspection company.

Even though you don't want to deal with the repairs I would still have the roof inspected since you are in a great position to pay hardball with the seller. November is a great time to buy a house since there are so few other buyers in many housing markets. Depending on your local market the seller may be looking at not being able to sell the house until next spring if this sale falls through. This is especially true if their house has been on the market for a long time. If the seller needs to sell this house before they can buy their next house then one thing they may also be worried about if interest rates will go up and if the interest rate on their next mortgage will be a lot higher if they wait until next spring to buy their next house. They may even have tax reasons that they want to get the sale completed by the end of the year. They may even have another house under contract or they could be building a new house that will be completed soon.

One problem with agreeing to more repairs of the roof is that you will not know if the repairs work or not until there are several hard storms and it could be many months until you have had several hard storms. After you have the roof inspected you could require that the seller pay repairs by a different roofing company if they cannot get it immediately done by the contractor that put on the roof. You would also require that they also pay to have the roof reinspected.

In addition to that you could also significantly drop the offer price to cover your risk that there might me more problems with the roof and you might need to have it replace. I don't know you local market but I would consider insisting on the repairs AND dropping the offer price by the cost of the new roof.

At a low enough price the house is likely a good deal so I would push hard since you have nothing to lose. You can also start shopping for a different house in case this one does not work out.


Thank you all for the thoughtful replies.

The main issues are that there is a knowledge gap on how we can determine what is truly wrong (there is some mention of a flashing problem, but how can we know this is true or the only problem?) and also on how we can assess whether the problem has been corrected (waiting months for major storms?).

Also, is this problem even considered a "roof leak" and, if so, is it something that must be disclosed on a future sale? I would assume this would reduce the re-sale value of the house by whatever discount could be obtained on the current sale.

SouthernCPA
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by SouthernCPA » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:09 am

After buying a house myself that had a clean bill of health by the inspector - only later to find that we had major leaks in the roof which resulted in rotten decking, new skylights needing to be replaced, and ultimately a new roof - I would pass. We tried to chase down leaks and repair parts of the roof, but ultimately, the only way we could get it to completely stop was to fork over the cash to put new skylights in and replace the entire roof.

If the roof has issues, the easiest thing to do is move on. Don't rely on any "warranty." Chances are there is a clause in there that will leave you on the hook for it anyway.

user5027
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by user5027 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:41 am

plannerman wrote:I just had a new roof put on our house--one with a 50-year guarantee. We had a leak with the first hard rain. I called the roofing contractor and he refused to come back and fix the leak. So I had little choice but to hire another roofer to repair it. So my take is the guarantee isn't worth the paper it's printed on. YMMV

plannerman


Was it a licensed/certified installer? If so, I would have contacted the manufacturer directly. Even if it was an installation defect. The last thing they want is their certified installers not acting right.

We just had our roof replaced in July and within a month I got a package in the mail with the warranty from the manufacturer.

If it was just a guy with a ladder on a pick-up buying his shingles at a big box.... well you get what you pay for.

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hand
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by hand » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:42 am

Watty wrote:At a low enough price the house is likely a good deal so I would push hard since you have nothing to lose. You can also start shopping for a different house in case this one does not work out.


This is also a great way to let your realtor know that they've failed in their attempt to get you to accept a leaking roof, and motivate them to work a bit more proactively to get the seller to address the issue.

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Watty
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Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

Post by Watty » Fri Nov 11, 2016 5:02 pm

bagelhead wrote:The main issues are that there is a knowledge gap on how we can determine what is truly wrong (there is some mention of a flashing problem, but how can we know this is true or the only problem?) and also on how we can assess whether the problem has been corrected (waiting months for major storms?).

Also, is this problem even considered a "roof leak" and, if so, is it something that must be disclosed on a future sale? I would assume this would reduce the re-sale value of the house by whatever discount could be obtained on the current sale.


Getting it reinspected after the repairs, or even better have the inspector also drop by while they are doing the repairs, would help you get a better idea of if it was fixed or not but you cannot be 100% sure. That is why I also suggested dropping the price by the cost of a new roof to cover you if there are long term problems. Around here that might be eight to ten thousand dollars but it would vary a lot by the type of roof. You might even want to drop it by a couple of thousand dollars more just for the inconvenience.

A lot also depends on the price of the house. With a $200K house that might make sense. With a half million+ dollar house there is not reason to put up with problems like that.

Many sellers will not go for that but you might have a seller that really wants to sell that would agree to it. It is a bit extreme but you don't have anything to lose by asking. Basically you are ready to walk if it isn't a fantastic deal so you might as well see if you can get a fantastic deal.

After I made my first post I was thinking about this and what I would suspect might have happened was that the seller was ready to put the house on the market last spring but they knew that the roof was bad so they just had the cheapest fly by night company put the roof on that resulted in the problems. Even worse they might have put the roof on themselves and not have really known what they were doing. If that is the case then that choice may cost them dearly either with you or whoever eventually buys the house, but that is there problem.

One situation I would run away from though is if they were flipping the house they they may have intentionally done a lot of cheap repairs. I would run away from a house like that. Even if they have owned the house then two years you need to be careful. Some people will buy a house to fix up then sell it after two years when the homeowners capital gains exemption becomes available.

You should also consider getting a new real estate agent. Trusting the roof warranty was a bad suggestion.

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