Can I replace half a roof?


Dear David,

We plan to sell our house and downsize in the next few years. The back (south-facing) side of our roof is in need of replacement, but the roofer says we can likely get four or five more years out of the front. Should we replace the back half of the roof now and leave the front for the new owners? – CHOOSING SIDES

DEAR CHOOSING: As homeowners, many of the maintenance decisions we make come down to economics. I’m sure the quote you received for doing half a roof is much more appealing than the cost of doing the whole thing. There would typically be a premium associated with doing only part of the job, but regardless of that, the immediate bill would be smaller and it would solve your current problem.

It’s not surprising to hear that the half of your roof that faces south has seen more deterioration. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so in the summertime, that particular side of the house sees a higher degree of UV damage. UV radiation can dry out the coating on your shingles. This often leads to cracks and peeling, which exposes underlying layers to the elements and increases the risk of leaks and other damage.

When you tell me you plan on downsizing in the next few years, I automatically start thinking about what I would tell potential buyers about your home. From a buyer’s perspective, hearing that the house had its roof replaced two years ago will sit differently than hearing the house has only half a new roof, because the owners did what they had to and left the rest for the next guy. Buyers typically hate spending money on fundamentals (roof, furnace, air conditioning, windows, updated electrical, etc.) as these things don’t have a lot of sizzle. If a buyer is footing the bill for a major repair right away, they’re going to feel better if it’s something they can enjoy. When their friends drop by for a dinner party, “come downstairs and see my new furnace” isn’t nearly as exciting as “check out my new granite countertops,” or “rack up the new pool table”.

PRO TIP: When advising sellers on how to prepare their homes for sale, I never want them to spend money where it has little or no impact. Replacing half of your roof now and half later might make more sense if you were planning to stay in this house over the long term. I play the long game in all aspects of my career and business, and tend to focus on long term consequences. Personally, I’d rather see you finance an entire new roof over a couple of years than have to tell buyers that you only did half the job. Buyers and experienced agents have a keen ability to zero in on places where the homeowner cut corners, and when it comes to home maintenance, they inevitably wonder what else the seller might have done to save a buck. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.