11 Things You Can Do If You Can’t Afford A New Roof

Old Roof Lg

All roofs wear out over some time, depending on the durability of the roofing material. If your roof is in poor condition, your home could get leaks, develop mold and mildew, and cause large-scale water problems across significant home systems. 

Keeping up with the cost of living is becoming a major challenge in today’s world. A large number of people are struggling to stay afloat in the current economy. Projects such as roof replacements are usually placed on the back burner until roof replacement is required.

However, you might be unable to pay out-of-pocket, posing a serious problem. Paying for a new roof using a credit card should be a last resort as credit cards incur incredibly high-interest rates, which may leave you with massive debt.

But just because you cannot afford a new roof at the moment doesn’t mean that you should live under a debilitated roof. What to do if you can’t afford a new roof?

Here are 11 things you can consider doing if you find yourself in needing cash to for a roof replacement. 

File a Claim With Your Home Insurance Provider

In my opinion, your first call should be to your home insurance company. Most homeowners insurance policies cover roof replacement if the damage results from an act of nature or sudden accidental occurrence and will not pay to replace or repair a roof that gradually deteriorated due to wear and tear or neglect. However, it’s worth a try depending on the circumstances of the roof damage.

Insurance companies will send out a claims adjuster to examine the home and the roof to determine whether or not to approve your homeowner’s roof replacement claim. Depending on age, your insurance company may prorate your roof and pay a portion, but not all, of the claim.

Bear in mind your insurance company may deem the roof only needs repair and only pay the claim for a repair, not a replacement giving you time to either save money or contact other outside sources to come up with the money for roof replacement.

Consider Taking Out a Home Equity Loan

Equity is the ownership of any asset after any liabilities associated with the asset are cleared.

A home equity loan is also known as a second mortgage. Therefore, it is a fixed amount of money secured by your home repayable in equal monthly installments over a fixed term, just like your original mortgage. 

Can you use your home equity if you have one for anything? One of its significant benefits is its flexibility and is best suited for long-term ongoing expenses like renovations where your roofing needs fall. 

The amount that you can borrow usually is limited to 85% of the equity in your home. However, the amount you can borrow depends on your income, credit history, and home market value. 

The downside, however, is that they require the property to be used as collateral, and the lender can foreclose on the property if the loan defaults. 

Consider a HELOC Loan

It’s challenging to come up with the money to pay for roof replacement upfront. However, you may spread roof repair costs over time with several financing options.

Although it’s ill-advised to use your credit card to pay for a new roof, you can still use it if the price is just a few hundred dollars. Otherwise, apply for a personal loan that allows you to pay monthly. There are numerous financing solutions providers you can utilize, such as local banks.

If your roof has sustained significant damage and is estimated to cost thousands of dollars, consider a HELOC. It stands for a home equity line of credit. It is a type of homeowners’ loan that enables one to utilize the equity in the property to cover the cost of a new roof.

Home equity is a concept that measures the portion of your home that you own. The more you clear your mortgage, the more equity you have. HELOC is an excellent solution to help you acquire a good value interest rate loan instead of using an unsecured scheme.

Consider Refinancing Your Home

Refinancing a mortgage means paying off an existing loan and replacing it with a new one. Cash-out refinance takes advantage of the equity you have built over time and gives you cash in exchange for taking on a larger mortgage and borrowing more than you owe on the mortgage, and pocketing the difference.

The difference between home refinancing and equity loans, you ask? Cash-out refinancing is the first loan, while home equity loans are second loans. 

Cash-out refinances to pay off your existing mortgage and give you a new one, while on the other hand, home equity loans are separate loans from your mortgage and add a second payment.

Mortgage refinancing, though, is not always rosy, even when mortgage rates are low. It could prove time-consuming, expensive at closing, and result in the lender pulling your credit score.

Consider a HUD 203k Rehab Loan

The HUD 203k program is a rehab home loan program that allows you to refinance your home and obtain money to do rehab projects such as a roof replacement.

The HUD 203k program has a streamlined program for $35,000 or less and a full rehab program for projects over $35,000. Most roof replacements would fall under the streamlined program unless the roof structure also requires repair.

In the 203k program, repair money is held in escrow until the contractor completes the job. In streamline loans, 50% of repair costs are distributed immediately at closing and the remaining 50% at completion.

Apply For a Government Sponsored Grant

A grant is essentially a gift. Grants are government schemes provided to offset the effects of goods and services tax on homeownership and available to senior citizens aged 55+, persons with disabilities, and families with children.

However, home repair grants are usually given, providing your home falls into the category of below living standards and the occupants are at serious risk. These services are available and applied for at the local government offices.

Specific government-sponsored programs provide financial assistance to homeowners who are unable to pay for significant house repairs. These welfare services are available at the federal, state, and county levels as grants and loans.

Examples include the Weatherization Assistance Program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Home Repair Program. They allow you to keep the overall cost of your roof replacement to a minimum.

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to apply for these grants and loans. If you’re a senior, a person living with disabilities, or people earning a low to moderate-income, you qualify. 

Religious institutions and charity programs are other good sources of grants and low-interest loans. They often run projects for people in such situations. You can also try crowdfunding.

Contact Local Churches or Charities for Aid

Contacting local churches or charities like Habitat for Humanity may provide you some aid to help you. Depending on your individual situation, local churches and charities may be willing to help.

Some churches have men’s groups that will go out and provide charity work if you can supply the building materials. While this may be a long shot, it’s worth a few phone calls.

Inquire About Payment Plans With Roofing Companies

Some large roofing companies offer payment plans to help you pay for a roof replacement. You’ll likely incur a higher interest rate, a down payment of at least 30%, and short-term monthly payments for 3-5 years.

Some roofing companies work with finance companies that will finance your roof replacement. Beware of companies asking for double digit interest rates. Some rates can be as high as 36%.

Many smaller roofing companies do not offer this option and require payment in full upon completion.

Seek Help From Family and Friends

No one likes to take their problems to their family and friends. However, your circle of influence can often be your best source of help. Often, our fear stops us from asking for help from friends and family who may be more than willing to help. Don’t just assume they won’t help you.

Be sure to don’t approach them without a plan. Be willing to chip in part of the costs of barter your time. Be honest and explain your situation. Offer a personal promissory note if needed.

Don’t pressure them and don’t be mad if they can’t or won’t help you. The relationship is most important.

You can also use platforms like GoFundme to secure funds from friends and family. Use social media to spread the word and bring awareness to your need. Family and friends may not pitch in several thousand dollars but would gladly help with $20 to $100 and help you spread the word by sharing your story.

Save Money

When you do not have the money for your roof repair and getting a loan is not an option, then putting aside money if the repairs are not too dire and can wait a few weeks or months is a factor to consider.

You can get a new hustle to give you more money then make informed choices to help cut the overall cost when you have saved enough. In other words, try bootstrapping, and in the end, you’ll have some available cash for the repair.

Cutting on cost means choosing to make repairs when contractors are not too busy, so you can negotiate with the roofer on prices and asking for a better price on roofing materials on sale.

It could take you a little more time to achieve your roofing goal, but you will get the job done in the end with no debts on your tail.

Selling Your Property As-Is

You could avoid the time and expense of replacing your roof by selling your home in its current condition, letting the new owner deal with the problem.

However, a damaged roof could fetch you much less in selling price than the actual value of the house is. 

So to sell your faster and get better, you could consider investing in minimum improvements like patching holes and cracks in the walls and ceilings, fixing broken doors, and replacing broken window glass.

Other tips you can use to best dispose of your property are removing clutter, painting your interior, hiring a great real estate agent, putting up a sign in the yard, and using professional photographs.


As tempting as it is, do not try to repair the roof yourself as you could cause more damage to your roof. Understanding the roof repair process from start to finish should be a homeowner’s important skill that could go a long way in keeping your property in shape, cutting down on expensive repairs, and getting value for your money.


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.