Roof Certification Inspection Explained (Do You Need One?)

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Hubert Miles

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When putting up your house for sale, the roof condition is crucial as it will determine the success of the process. Previously, lenders used to require home buyers to have the roofs of the houses they intend to buy inspected before loan approval. However, this process has changed over time. 

Today, financial lenders require professionally trained roof inspectors to provide a roof certification before approving some home loan types. While roof certification is a common concept in the real estate world, many home buyers and sellers have little or no information regarding this critical process. 

A roof certification is a roof inspection report provided by a certified roof inspector that determines the roof’s overall condition, what (if any) repairs are needed, and how much estimated life the roof has remaining. A roof should have 2-5 years of useful life remaining and be free of leaks to be certified.

Here is everything you need to know about roof certification.

What is Roof Certification?

 A roof inspection is done to determine the roof’s condition and provides you with the roof’s estimated remaining life. Most home inspections do not typically stipulate that a roof inspection be undertaken unless the home inspector observes problems that need repair. 

Roof inspections are also not a requirement in purchase contracts. However, there are some states where regulations are inclusive of roof certification before resale. Other states will not require you to make roof repairs which means that you should always check the state and local real estate laws when selling a home. 

Lenders and insurance carriers, on the other hand, may still require a roof certification to meet HUD guidelines or to obtain a homeowners insurance policy.

A roof certification is not the same as a home inspection. Home inspectors cannot conduct roof certifications unless they have the necessary training certification to do so.

NACHI or ASHI certified home inspectors must inspect the roof from the ground level and document their observations. However, most home inspectors will walk the roof to inspect it as long as it’s safe. However, a home inspector has to undergo additional training certifications to issue roof certification reports.

During a roof certification process, some of the critical issues that roof inspectors look for are the overall condition of the roof, loose roofing materials, condition of flashings, etc. For example, in asphalt shingle roofs, the overall condition is impacted mainly by the remaining roof granules, which protect the shingles from direct sunlight.

If your roof does not require any repairs, the roof inspectors will provide an estimate of the roof’s remaining life in a roofers inspector report. A good certification should have an estimated roof’s remaining life of between two and five years. In case the roof requires repairs, the certification is only provided once the repairs have been made. The HUD minimum standard is 2 years.

Why are Roof Certifications Done?

Roof certifications are meant to:

  • Provide information to lenders and buyers of the actual condition of the roof
  • Provide an estimate of the remaining life of the roof
  • Highlight possible repairs to the roof

Most realtors will require you to provide a roof certification to potential buyers for them to ascertain its condition. When the seller is unwilling to provide the certification, the buyer might opt to pay for the certification and make the necessary repairs as part of a contingency of the sale contract.

When a buyer is confronted with choosing two houses, the seller who provides a roof certification appears more credible than the one who doesn’t. 

Since there is a lot of fluctuation in the real estate market, understanding the current market trends will help you as the seller understand just how important having the roof certified is. This way, you can prioritize this necessary process along with a home inspection before putting up your home for sale.

Remember, in most cases, the lender will ask for a roof certification before closing. Unfortunately, many sellers wait until closer to closing to provide this certification. The risk here is that it could halt the sale of the house if a roof condition is discovered that requires repair.

Who Needs a Roof Certification?

The question of who needs roof certification depends on the people that the real estate market favors at the time. For example, a seller’s market occurs when the supply of available homes reduces, leading to increased property prices. 

On the other hand, a buyer’s market is characterized by many homes available in the market, leading to a decline in prices. If you are selling your home, consider the purchasing trend regarding roofing certification and the local council regulations. 

When there is a high demand for homes, a roof certification is less likely to be a priority for many buyers since they are desperate for a home. Higher home demand forces buyers to accept a home that requires a lot of roof repairs. 

When there are many homes for sale in the market, roof certifications are critical determinants in the sale contract. Your real estate agent should therefore advise you on the current market trends when selling your home.

Many buyers and sellers will pass on a roof inspection unless the lender requires it or unless the home inspector observes serious concerns with the roof.

Factors Influencing Root Certifications

Some of the key factors that roof inspectors consider when assessing the condition of your roof are the type of roof, age, previous repairs, layers, and pitch. Most roofs are made from composition shingle, clay or concrete tile, wood shake, slate, metal or steel, synthetic material, and tar and gravel. 

Roofing experts think that roofs made from wood shake require more repairs, especially if they are ten years or older. On the other hand, tile roofs can last up to 50 years as long as there are no broken or cracked tiles

Roofs made from composition shingles can last for anywhere between 15 and 40 years, depending on the quality of the shingle used.

Although it is not an absolute requirement, roof inspectors will not certify a roof if the seller is unwilling to disclose past repairs. Inspectors are always looking to determine if previous repairs were done correctly and will not subject the new owner to future problems. 

Possible compensation can result from damage to the roof that has already been certified. The company only takes liability for issues resulting from faults on its part, meaning that the roofing companies do not compensate for roof damage due to natural disasters and severe weather. Still, instead, they are covered under the homeowner’s insurance policy.

Key Takeaways

When considering roof certification in home sales, the goal is to ascertain the current condition of the roof and its estimated life span. 

You need to understand that the certification is you should treat neither a warranty nor a guarantee hence as such. Ideally, roof certification is an expert opinion on the roof’s current condition to help the involved parties such as lenders and buyers make an informed decision. 

There is no denying that roof certification is a crucial process in home transactions, so buyers should always make it a requirement in home transactions. But, at the same time, sellers should readily provide the certification.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting professional home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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