At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.
Few projects garner as much attention — and debate — as a new roof. On the surface, it’s a straightforward upgrade, designed to protect a home from the elements and possibly enhance its curb appeal. But does a shiny new roof increase home value when it’s time to sell?
The answer is yes — but the ROI isn’t as cut-and-dried. Sometimes, dropping the price of your house is more cost effective than dropping tens of thousands to boost your home’s marketability. Let’s break it all down, so you can make an informed decision on this hefty investment.
Roofs throughout history
Your roof has a lot of responsibilities to shoulder — protect an entire home, its contents, and its occupants from everything outside. This tall order means the evolution of roofs for the last several thousand years has focused on durability and performance.
Humans have come a long way from thatched huts and palm fronds. In the 19th century, builders used wood, slate, and clay tiles for roofs, which were mostly used to keep out rain and protect from UV light. These materials were heavy though, making them a hassle to haul and work with.
In the early 20th century, H.M. Reynolds Company is credited with developing the asphalt shingle, which many other companies adopted and then altered, experimenting with shapes, fire resistance, and textured coating.
In the 1930s, combining cement and asbestos proved durable and weighed much less than slate. Sheet metal roofs entered the scene in the 1930s as well.
Each change made strides in insulation and durability. Now, the materials chosen largely depend on where you live and the slope of your roof.
What’s the cost of a new roof?
Homeowners will spend between $5,886 and $12,800 to replace a roof, according to estimates by HomeAdvisor. The cost depends on the location, the materials used, and the home’s size.
You can do the project yourself, which would eliminate about 60% of the cost, but you could come across any number of complications — from water damage to choosing the wrong materials for your height and pitch. For this reason, you may want to hire a pro to ensure the job is done correctly.
To price out an estimate for a new roof, check out RoofCalc.org. Since 2012, they’ve estimated more than 700,000 roofing projects based on U.S. professional contractor rates. Just type in some basic information like square footage, slope and material to get an idea of how much you can plan to spend on a new roof.
If you’re looking into just repairing, HomeAdvisor offers some basic cost models. The typical range of a roof repair is between $380-$1,797, with the national average falling around $1,085. These costs depend largely on the materials — flat roofs being the least expensive to repair and slate being the most expensive.
Does a new roof increase home value?
The short answer is “yes.” Remodeling’s 2023 Cost Versus Value Report says a homeowner can expect to get 61% of the cost of a new asphalt roof back in home value.
The long answer is “yes, but…” You probably can’t match dollar for dollar. The 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, a survey conducted and published by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) states 33% of Realtors suggested sellers add new roofing before attempting to sell, and the organization argues the recovered cost is equal to the spent cost.
Replacing your roof does have a pretty high return on investment, especially compared to other house projects, but it doesn’t mean you can necessarily mark up the asking price dollar for dollar for what you spent on the new roof.
Pricing a home is more complicated than that. That’s because a house is supposed to have a roof. When a buyer makes an offer, they assume the roof is there and is functioning properly. It’s tied into the price tag, not an add-on. Keeping up a roof is normal home maintenance, so a seller shouldn’t expect a buyer to pay extra for the roof, even if it is top-of-the-line and brand new.
For this reason, Renee Christman, a top real estate agent in Madison, Wisconsin says, if you have to replace your roof, go midrange. “Don’t spend the high dollar amounts or do the bare minimum.” Buyers can see if you did the least possible in terms of upgrading, and they won’t want to pay for the upscale. Midrange is your best bet for high return on investment.
Should you replace your roof before selling?
If your current scenario involves a bucket when it rains, replacement is the right answer. If it’s not so obvious, here’s what Christman suggests:
- If the roof is looking good and there are no active leaks, a buyer should wait for the inspection.
- If the roof doesn’t look good, a buyer should ask a roofing contractor to come out and make suggestions.
- From there, you and your Realtor can hash out a plan.
Do you want to decrease the price of the home and let the buyer deal with it once they move in, or do you want to upgrade the roof before listing? Either way, you’re crossing your fingers and hoping a buyer will be on board with your decision.
5 pro tips to maximize your ROI on a new roof
If you do decide to replace your roof before listing your home, here are a few tips to maximize the return on investment you’ll get from it.
1. Don’t layer shingles
Some people replace their roof by simply re-shingling over the top of their old one. It’s faster and cheaper, but it’s also shortsighted and highly problematic. Bill Ragan Roofing Company cautions that layering shingles will add weight to your roof and make future leaks harder to locate.
Buyers, their agents and their inspectors are likely to mention a roof with a double layer, which is more likely to hurt you than help you.
2. Opt for roofing materials that fall in that midrange
To reiterate Christman’s point from before — a buyer can tell if you put in the bare minimum, and they also won’t want to pay top dollar for a new roof they didn’t even pick out.
Stick to midrange, and be sure the materials match the other homes around your neighborhood. Also consider new roofing as a way to invest in your home’s insulation and energy efficiency — both features that matter to buyers.
3. Check on your roof frequently and keep up with necessary maintenance
Be sure you maintain the roof between the time you replace it and the time you sell your home. Jari Marjanen, roofer of RENCO Roofing in Phoenix, Arizona, who has decades of experience in the roofing business, says to check the roof after every storm.
It’s much easier to examine the roof for missing or broken shingles regularly than it is to deal with the water damage of several combined storms.
4. Pump up your marketing materials to show off your new roof as an asset
You and your agent might decide, after a new roof goes on, not to change the listing price of your home. This is a personal decision based on your specific house in your specific area. However, since you’re competing with all the other homes in your area, whatever you can do to make your home stand out helps, so make sure to mention it in your listing description.
A buyer will love that they don’t have to move in and then spend several thousand dollars more to install a new roof. A good agent will make sure potential buyers know about your new roof and the conveniences that come with it.
5. Offer to transfer the roof warranty to the buyer as a selling point
Christman tells the story about a couple who bought a home with a new roof. When they went to sell the home just a year later, they had to make repairs to the roof. Because they weren’t the original owners of the roof, the warranty had not been transferred, and they were on the hook for all those repair expenses.
Most roofing companies offer transferable warranties. It’s just a matter of calling and paying a nominal charge. Many buyers don’t think to ask. Offer this transfer to your buyer. It’s just a few hundred dollars and having several more years of warranty on a roof could be what clinches the deal.
The verdict: roofing and home value
The question of whether you should replace your roof before selling is hard to answer. It will increase the value of your home, though it may not be as much or in the ways you’d most like.
While the data consistently supports the notion that a new roof can boost a home’s market price, homeowners should approach this investment with a strategic mindset. A midrange, well-maintained roof can be a significant selling point, especially when coupled with transferable warranties and effective marketing.
When it’s time to sell, be sure to weigh the immediate costs against the potential long-term benefits, both in terms of home value and buyer appeal. An experienced real estate agent can help you make an informed decision to ensure that your investment is both protective and profitable.
Header Image Source: (John Wollwerth/ Shutterstock)
New roof FAQs
Yes, a new roof can significantly increase the value of your home. It not only improves the curb appeal but also reassures potential buyers about the home’s structural integrity and reduced immediate maintenance needs.
While the exact increase varies based on the property and the quality of the roof, a new roof can offer a return on investment (ROI) of roughly 60%. Factors such as the roofing material, local real estate market conditions, and the age of the previous roof can influence this percentage.
If the current roof has minor issues and is relatively young, repairs might suffice. However, an older roof with multiple problem areas can deter buyers. Investing in a new roof before selling can make your home more attractive and reduce potential negotiation points.
Yes, certain materials like metal roofing or high-quality architectural shingles are often viewed as more valuable due to their longevity, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal. However, it’s important to consider what’s standard and preferred in your local market.
A new roof can be a strong selling point. Homes with new roofs often attract more potential buyers since it’s a sign that the home has been well-maintained and will not require significant roofing work in the near future.