Your home: Can a multiple-layer roof hurt my chances of selling my house?

By Chad Taylor

Question: If I have more than one layer of roofing on my home, should I be concerned about resale?

The short answer is “yes.”

Now for the “why.”

The Taylor Made Team

If there is one thing that I love about my industry it is that things are constantly changing. And roofing guidelines are no exception to the rule.  When I started my real estate career, I sold homes with three layers of roofing. Sometimes even with composition shingles (also known as asphalt shingles) over wood/shake shingles. It used to be common practice to install one layer of roofing over another.

Well those days are gone. As the years have passed, the insurance guidelines and the city guidelines have changed dramatically. Also, we have learned more about attic ventilation and how multiple layers of roofing actually compromise the life of the roof because of poor ventilation and the extreme temperature changes that we see from summer to winter.

So back to that short answer of “yes.” We are really talking about two different issues: multiple layers of composition roofing and composition over a wood shingle/shake roof.

When a buyer is purchasing a home, their homeowner’s insurance carrier will inquire about the age of the roof and the number of layers. If the roof has multiple layers, typically, the insurance company will only insure the top layer. So let’s say we have a hail storm and the roof takes a beating. If it needs to be replaced, the insurance policy will only cover the replacement of the top layer. The layers beneath the top layer and the decking (plywood) beneath will have to be paid for by the homeowner. Not very fun, huh?

In the case of composition over shake shingle, it is virtually impossible to obtain insurance for a home purchase these days. There are only two companies that know of that will offer coverage. And as mentioned earlier, they will only cover the top layer. And in some cases, the buyer will have to pay a higher premium.

If you currently have a comp over shake roof be aware that at some point you may no longer have full coverage with your current carrier. I am not trying to scare you. I just don’t like surprises for my clients, or anyone for that matter.

Now that roofs are in the spotlight, more and more buyer’s representatives are asking for a full roof replacement up front in a contract written on a home with multiple layers of roofing. As a listing specialist, I am encouraging a roof replacement on our listings that have multiple layers. As with any repair, it is much smarter to do the work up front which allows you to choose the service provider and thus control the cost of the repair. If you wait until after you go under contract to negotiate a roof replacement, a seller is more at risk of losing a buyer due to buyer’s remorse or over-paying for a new roof.

Additionally, when time is on your side, you have time to obtain multiple bids and call on references for any service provider who is bidding for a particular job.

This weekly sponsored column is written by Chad Taylor of the Taylor-Made Team and Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC. The Taylor-Made Team consistently performs in the top 3 percent of Realtors in the Heartland MLS. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email. You can find out more about the Taylor-Made Team on its website. And always feel free to call at 913-825-7540.

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