I recently read an interesting blog article about roof certification by Ryan Bowen, President of Raindrop Roofing. He opens with:
When an appraiser/inspector is expected to say a roof is bad, should the seller just accept the inevitability of that conclusion? Or should the seller preempt it? How can the seller minimize exposure...as well as cost, while still presenting what seems to be a serviceable home to the buyer? What better answer could there be than a signed "roof certification" presented by a bonded roofing contractor to back their contention that the roof is good? How valuable is this shield, and for whom does it work best?
Ryan Bowen makes some good points about the roof certification process. Many roofers simply are not qualified or experienced enough to provide an accurate assessment of a roof, just as many are not qualified to install or repair a roof. According to the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB), roofing has one of the highest rates of complaints, lawsuits, conflict, and other issues of all trades.
A roofing contractor's first priority is to sell or repair a roof. A certification costs a fraction of what a new roof costs, so for sheer business reasons, contractors automatically will veer away from the roof certification option.
However, it is the seller's duty to find a qualified person to do a roof certification, just as it would be the seller's duty and responsibility to hire a competent contractor to repair or replace the roof. It's on the seller.
A certification done by a qualified individual is a perfectly legitimate tool to be used in the process of selling a home. If the home needs a new roof, replace it. If it's good, leave it alone or complete any minor repairs that are needed to extend its life for the new homeowner. If a newer roof of 5 to 15 years of age needs certification, odds are it still has plenty of life left. The best way to obtain a legitimate certification is to hire an impartial third party such as a home inspector or a roofing consultant who has nothing to sell.
I was a roofing contractor in the Metro area for the better part of three decades. Now I am a roofing consultant and inspector who also does thorough roof certifications and other roof-related consulting services for property owners. I am an independent owner advocate with no allegiance to any contractor, distributor, or material manufacturer. I tell the property owners up front that there is a chance I will find out something about their roof that they do not want to hear. My certification forms cover all aspects of the roof and its various components.
» Sample certification form (new window)
» Recent roof certification jobs
As with anything else, you get what you pay for on a roof certification, if you are lucky. People often do not get what they pay for. It is the owners /sellers responsibility to do the homework and seek qualified vendors, regardless of what type of help they are seeking. If they settle for the 'cheapest guy in town' or are not careful about whom they choose as their vendor, then they only have themselves to blame if things go south. This is true for roof replacements and it is true for roof certifications. Choose your vendors well, and the odds are in your favor for a good outcome.