After you’ve invested some time in looking at possible foreclosures to consider for purchase you will get a good idea of what seems to be a good roof and what is not. But I would recommend finding yourself a contractor who can assist you if you feel less than confident. First of all, in my experience, stay away from flat roof dwellings. These are usually some sort of rolled material even rubberized. They do not weather well especially in colder climates and need frequent repairing and replacing.
If you don’t want to climb up on a roof, buy yourself a good pair of binoculars. Believe it or not, some home inspectors use them to examine dwellings, safely from the ground. What can you look for:
a. Valleys with holes in them
b. On Composite roofs check the surface to see if the grain has worn away
c. Looks for signs of discoloration
d. Look for curling of shingles, meaning age and perhaps a not properly ventilated attic space
e. Check the drip edge, if it has a flat edge, or it’s in the form of a ‘T’ it probably only has one layer if it covers the edge of the roof like a ‘C’, then there are probably more than one layer of shingles ( Most municipalities where there are composite shingles only allow 2 layers, so if another layer is needed then the old ones must be torn away)
f. If there is a Chimney, is the flashing sound, are there cracks or holes, also if the chimney is brick or stone in construction, is the mortar sound and not cracking or missing, (could be signs of chimney needing replacement)
While you are at it, check the fascia and the soffit are any pieces missing if either wood, vinyl or aluminum. Do they need repair, paint, etc.; this will have to be addressed.
Inspecting the Roof of a Foreclosure (Free Video)
Foundations - What type is it?
In any situation, with crawl spaces, full poured basements, block foundations or basements and especially with wood foundations (there are a few around). Check for holes, cracking, evidence of water either now or stains from the past. Check also to see if they are plumb.
Many a house I have seen with block foundations did not have proper water management around the foundation and the results were either leaking, especially in springtime in northern climates when the thaw comes, or even evidence of bowing in. These all can be signs of serious defects that can run into the thousands of dollars to remedy or replace.
Consider other areas of the foreclosure besides
Roofs and Foundations?