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The Ultimate Checklist for First-Time Home Buyers: Everything You Need to Know About Roofs

Purchasing your first home is a major milestone — and a very exciting one! But with so many big decisions to ponder and countless tiny details to stay on top of, the process can be rather stressful as well! Properly assessing your potential new home’s roof is key, and once you’ve moved in, it’s important to stay on top of regular inspections and maintenance.

Not sure what to add to your “new home checklist” when it comes to your roof? Never fear, Amish Roofers, a trusted and reliable partner for homeowners throughout Southern Indiana, is here to help:

1. Understand Your Lender’s Requirements

Most first-time home buyers get some financial help in the form of a home loan — and it’s common for lenders to require that the home’s roof be shown to be in good condition before they approve financing. Protect yourself from unpleasant surprises by asking about your lender’s roof-related requirements early in the application process.

2. Ask the Right Questions About Your Roof

A next step is making sure that you’re asking the right questions about a potential new home’s roof. These three are key:

  • How old is the roof? Knowing the roof's age will help you estimate when it might need to be replaced. Roofs typically last 20 to 30 years, depending on how well they’re cared for and what materials were used.

  • What repairs have been made, and how well has the roof been maintained? Understanding the roof's repair history will prepare you for potential issues in the future. Ask for documentation for any work that was done.

  • What warranties and certifications are in effect? Find out whether your roof’s materials are still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.

3. Inspect the Roof

You can do your own visual inspection of a roof. Make sure that the roof’s lines are straight, and that there’s no visible damage. And inside the home, look for signs of leaks and water damage on ceilings and walls, especially in the attic and around leak-prone areas like skylights. (Learn more about roof inspections.)

Other important inspection points include:

  • Ventilation and insulation: Proper ventilation and insulation are vital, not only for your comfort but also for preventing moisture-related problems. Ask about insulation type and condition, and the state of the roof's ventilation system.

  • Chimney and flashing: Check the flashing around the chimney to make sure that it’s well sealed and in good condition.

  • Trees: We love a yard with beautiful mature trees! But overhanging branches can lead to tree litter that accumulates in gutters and on roofs, and this can cause damage. You’ll want to consider trimming overhanging branches (and plan for regular tree maintenance).

4. Work with a Professional Roofer

Almost all new homes need to be professionally inspected before they’re sold. It’s wise to hire an experienced, trustworthy roofing pro who can give you a straightforward assessment of any repairs that might be necessary. Professional roofers are best equipped to identify potential issues, and they’ll be able to see how well any past repairs are holding up. They’ll also be able to verify that your ventilation system is working and that you don’t have any mold or wood rot.

5. Plan to Properly Maintain Your Roof

Your roof is your home’s crowning glory! But a roof needs to do a lot more than just look great — it’s also there to protect your loved ones and your belongings, and to do that job well, it needs to be properly looked after:

  • Find a well-reviewed roofing pro in your area: Establish a relationship with a reliable roofer in your area. Make sure they’re licensed and insured, and check out their reviews, guarantees, and client testimonials, as well as pictures of their past work.

  • Clean your roof with the change of every season: Regularly clean your roof (or have it cleaned) to remove debris, leaves, moss, and so on — a few times a year is good. Neglecting this can shorten your roof's lifespan. (For more tips, check out this blog post on preparing your roof for winter.)

  • Don’t be scared to go up to the attic: If your attic is primarily used for storage (or if you don’t really use it at all), you might not get up there very often! And we get it: some of them are kind of spooky. But the attic is frequently where you’ll see the first signs of a roof problem — so make sure you’re up there a few times a year as well, and check it out after periods of heavy wind or rain, hailstorms, and so on.

  • Keep your gutters clear: Clear your gutters regularly to prevent leaks and roof damage caused by pooling water.

6. Save for the Future

Especially if your home has an older roof, it’s wise to budget for future replacement. Homeowner’s insurance often covers things like storm damage, but replacements due to age are probably going to be your responsibility.

Final Thoughts

In all the excitement of buying a new home and imagining your future there, the roof might not be the first thing on your mind — but taking good care of your roof is a fundamental aspect of home ownership. We hope this checklist was helpful — and if you’re in southern Indiana, keep Amish Roofers in mind for all your residential and commercial roofing needs!

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