Roof issues are once again in the news with Louisiana home sales. I have had several roof issues come up with Lake Charles buyers and sellers recently. When listing your Lake Charles Home For Sale, the seller must fill out property disclosures. There is a section specifically designated for the Roof. Sellers should disclose everything about the home they are selling since they have owned the property.
One particular situation occurred after a Lake Charles home I had for sale went under contract. I was asked several questions from the buyer’s agent pertaining to the roof. Apparently there was a sag in the garage ceiling near the attic pull down. When I asked the sellers about this issue the sellers informed me it was that way when they purchased the home as a For Sale By Owner. Apparently the previous owner had fallen through the attic not floored. Next question was….how old is the roof? Well the sellers were uncertain and had indicated the roof was 12 years old on the disclosure form (same age of the house).
That raises an important question here in Calcasieu Parish …. any previous .hurricane damage???….Hurricane Rita hit us hard 5 years ago. 90% of Calcasieu Parish replaced entire roofs through insurance allowances so most homes have what is known as a “RITA ROOF”. In the case mentioned above , this particular home did not have the roof replaced so we ran into some issues in order to get the sale closed! The Sellers had to make repairs to the roof replacing shingles and have the roof inspected by the buyer’s insurance inspector to certify the life and condition of the roof.
In the example above, the current Lake Charles homeowners had purchased the house in 2006 (after the hurricane) and did not work with a REALTOR, they purhcased For Sale By Owner with no disclosures, inspections or answers to questions we as REALTORS think to ask on behalf of our clients. The previous owner probably pocketed his insurance money….it happens.
Once the Lake Charles home for sale went under contract the buyers conducted an inspection and guess what….the inspector recommends that the roof be replaced, there are missing shingles and loss of granules with wear and tear! Not only did the buyers inspect the home but they obtained a roofer opinion and quote to the tune of $7,200 which of course they asked for in the inspection response!
As the Lake Charles sellers agent, I advised my sellers to get an opinion of their own which they did and it turns out the inspection from their insurance adjuster said there was 7 years of life left in the roof and only 12 shingles that needed to be replaced. That does not mean he was entirely out of the woods, we still await the appraisal and for the new Lake Charles buyers to obtain insurance. With the roof being 12 years old that requires a roof inspection by the insurance company before writing a new policy.
Lake Charles Home Sellers may be upset when they question why they must make repairs when:
- the roof doesnt leak and has had no problems
- the roof was this way when seller bought the house
- selling the house “as is” buyers either want it or they dont
- paranoia….the inspector, roofer and buyer’a agent are out to get us
Moral of the story…..
- Current Owners could have avoided this if they would have had a Realtor represent them with their initial Lake Charles home purchase and conduct their own inspection without disclosures from a For Sale By Owner
- Disclosures are important
Lake Charles, LA is located in Southwest Louisiana. We have a tropical climate and some months bring tropical rainstorms, sometimes severe. Not only do we have tropical storms in Southwest Louisiana but also extreme heat! The roofs of Lake Charles homes gt wear and tear and those granules on the asphalt shingles can deteriorate. Heat can dry out the shingles and cause them to become brittle and tear or break. 9 times out of 10 a Lake Charles home buyer will conduct a home inspection and whent they do, the home inspector almost always finds a roof issue some of which can be:
- missing shingles
- popping nail heads
- rotten decking
- ridge wear
Also keep in mind that according to the FHA Guidebook for Appraisers the following is a checklist under Roofing Material:
- The roof must have at least 3 years of remaining life
- Roofing on slopes of 2 1/2:12 or less must be installed by a licensed roofer using built up roofing that meets the Uniform Building Code. Rolled roofing is not acceptable.
- FHA will accept a maximum of 3 layers of roofing material. If mor ethan two layers of roofing exists and re-roofing is required, all of the old roofing must be removed as part of the re-roofing. The placement of composition shingles over wood shake shingles is not acceptable.
Estimated roof life expentancies:
- Rolled Roofing- NOT acceptable for FHA
- Composition Roofs- average life 15-20 years
- Wood Shingle- average life 16-22 years
- Built up roofs- average life 10-13 years
- Torch down roofs- acceptable with certification that roof was installed per manufactuer’s specifications
- Metal roofs- accepttable with certification that the roof was installed per manufacturers specificiations.
If you think you don’t have a roof problem think again!! Your roof overhead protects you. It is important to make sure the roof stays in good condition and conduct regular maintenance checks. If you are selling your Lake Charles home, conduct an inspection and fix any items before listing your Lake Charles home for sale. You will be glad you did!