How To Sell A House With A Leaky Roof In Milwaukee

You’re getting ready to sell your home and decide to have a home inspection done and discover that you have a leaky roof. Now you’re asking yourself, is it possible to sell a house with a leaky roof? 

Selling a home is hard enough, adding a known issue to the mix could be a problem that may affect selling your house quickly. So what is the next move? Should you fix the leaky roof or try to find a buyer that would buy it as-is? This article will walk you through how to sell a house that needs a new Roof in Milwaukee and if you should repair it or sell as-is.

Selling A House With A Leaky Roof In Milwaukee

Man Collecting Water In Bucket From a water damaged Ceiling

Why A Leaky Roof Is A Big Deal

Keeping a house that has a bad roof can be dangerous. Leaks can lead to other damage to the rest of your home. Usually, a water leak affects the attic first and not far behind the interior ceiling. Once the water reaches the interior ceiling, water damage can drift to fans and ceiling mounted lights. Causing you to say goodbye to that nice ceiling finish and paint job.

If a leak hasn’t been addressed for a long time, the risk of mold and mildew growth is likely. Even the best contractors find getting rid of mold and mildew challenging and expensive. Not only is mold and mildew terrible for your house but also to your health. Exposure to mold and mildew causes nasal congestion, allergy flare-ups, and asthma. Furthermore, water leaks may compromise your home’s structural integrity, potentially posing a fire hazard, and cause slip and fall accidents. 

If you’re planning to sell your house, you really have two options: either repair the roof or sell the home as-is.

Why Roofs Leak

Let’s take a step back and look into why roofs leak in the first place and determine what can be done to repair the damage before deciding to sell it. Once discovering the cause, you will be able to understand how much time and money will be spent to fix the roof. 

Many people fail to remember (or simply forget) that roofs are subject to the laws of wear and tear. 

Typically, at most, a good roof has a life expectancy of 20-30 years. General wear and tear are caused by changing temperatures and weather conditions. Over time, roofing materials become brittle from heat exposure by the sun, which over time, melts the tar holding the shingles in place. So one reason your roof is leaking could be that it’s time for a new roof, but another possibility is overdue repair work. 

Debris from leaves, twigs, and pine needles can trap water on the roof during rainy seasons. And once the water settles on the roof over time, it may begin to seep into narrow spaces slowly. To avoid this, it’s necessary to cut and trim the surrounding tree branches by your roof. This will go a long way in ensuring that your roof remains debris-free.

Another way water can find a way through the roof of your house is from a cracked chimney. It’s wise to periodically check the mortar joints where the chimney is linked to the roof. The mortar joints may appear firmly in place from time to time, but corrosion may still occur. Unfortunately, this is not a preventable action because mortar is composed of sand, cement, and water consolidation. These elements are bound to have general wear and tear. Regularly inspecting your roof is the best course of action to help prevent issues. 

Things To Consider When Repairing A Roof 

Repairing a roof can certainly be a tricky task for anyone to do. Repairs are bound to be time-consuming. Also, there is the expense of it all. Ideally, hiring a professional would be advised when it comes to roof repairs. However, it may be in your best interest to access the damage yourself before calling for several quotes since some contractors can be prone to give quotes blown out of proportion. 

Some of the things to consider during the analysis are:

Type of Roof

Depending on the type of roof you pick for your home will influence how much you spend. Roofing materials can be metal or shingle, flat, or sloped high or low pitch, or an assortment of combinations. 

In terms of cost, the cheapest shingles are made of asphalt. Typically asphalt shingles cost about $150 per 100 sq. feet. However, slate shingles range from $900-$1,600 per 100 sq. feet. Tile shingles go for about $400-$1600 per 100 sq. feet. And metal sheets are the most expensive. Unfortunately, materials don’t come cheap, and you may find yourself needing to part with $1,500 per 100 sq. feet. And just for a general idea, the typical cost to replace a roof in Milwaukee is between $6,100 to $7,800 for a shingle roof.

Repair Permits

Permits may be required depending on what needs to be done to your roof. In Milwaukee, you may need a permit to tear off shingles and replace shingles. For a new roof with new rafters, etc. you will need a permit. When hiring a professional roofing contractor, they typically handle applying for the permits, but you may have to apply for it yourself. When hiring a roofing contractor, make sure to confirm who is applying for the permit. In Milwaukee, the Department of Neighborhood Services grants permits and would be able to determine if your particular repair would require one.

Scope of Damage

A roof with large-scale damage obviously won’t cost the same as a roof with small scale damage. Typically, roofing contractors determine their rates by the square foot. Another factor to consider is the type of roof. For example, shingles are usually sold by square feet. Therefore, even if you have minimal roof damage, maybe even a couple of feet, you will end up paying more.

Tip: When the material for your roof repair starts adding up- make sure to let the roofer know to leave the remaining materials. This will help to reduce future repair costs. 

Close up view of man repairing leaky roof

Steps To Repair A Leaky Roof

When repairing a flat roof, you can use a primer and patching system to patch it up easily. To start the project, you will need to have a brush, scissors, flat-roller, and a primer and matching system. Make sure that the conditions that you will be operating in are dry before starting. 

To repair asphalt shingles, you will need a pry bar, a hammer, roofing nails, roofing adhesive, and asphalt shingles. To start, you will first need to lift the damaged shingles from the roof, remove all the nails, and then remove the damaged shingles. The pry bar will come in handy when lifting the tab above the damaged region. The nails are needed to fasten the shingle once the installation is done, and the adhesive helps hold everything in place. 

Leaks are likely to occur if the flashing wasn’t done correctly or failed during the roofing process. To repair leaks in flashing, you will need a screwdriver, lead sealant, a sealant dispenser, flashing clips, and a dusting brush. To properly repair, you will need to remove any debris, old mortar, or sealant from the joint. The end of the screwdriver can be used to push the flashing clips into the joint to hold the lead. For good results, carefully smear lead sealant along the joint. 

Most importantly, if doing any of these repairs on your own, you must remember to be careful. Getting up on a roof and ladder can be very dangerous. So if you aren’t confident that you can complete the repairs correctly or safely, seek professional expertise. 


Of course, it’s ideal to avoid a leaky roof in the first place. 

The key to prevent leaks is routine maintenance. There are a few things that need to be checked and maintained to ensure the roof is always firmly in place.

  • Gutters should always be free of debris and fastened tightly. 
  • Attics should be well maintained
  • Checking on condensation levels, the ventilation system, air conditioning, fans, and possible infestations that could lead to leakage and harbor the growth of mold. 
  • Regularly checking chimneys, skylights, plumbing vents, and flashing should also be on the to-do list. 

Even the slightest drip shouldn’t be ignored. Noticing symptoms early can save time and money by preventing small problems from becoming bigger ones. 

Selling Your House With A Leaky Roof

Know that you understand all the work and expense involved with fixing a leaky roof you’re probably wondering if you should just sell your home with a leaky roof in Milwaukee? 

There are pros and cons to selling your house as-is and repairing before the sale. 


The advantage of selling without repairing the roof is the money you will save on the repairs, which is crucial if you don’t have the extra cash to fix the roof. Because the longer you wait, the damage will only worsen and devalue your home.

Another reason to sell is if you simply don’t have the free time available to manage repairs. This would be important with sizable water and property damage. A cost-effective full rehab takes time and attention to detail. If you are being pulled in different directions, it could end up costing you. Another thing to consider is if you live far away from the house. Managing major roofing renovations is impractical at a distance. 


A house with property defects always sells for less. The buyer will have to put his or her own time and money into the repairs. Usually, any offers will be reduced to offset the cost. Not to mention houses that need repairs and work traditionally take a longer time to sell. Typically there is a smaller buyers pool for a home that needs repairs- and finding the right buyer can likely take some time. 

Selling To The Right Buyer

If you decide to sell a home with a leaky roof, not just any buyer will be able to complete the purchase. 

When relying on a conventional mortgage from a bank, buyers cannot buy a house with a leaky roof, because traditional mortgages have habitability requirements. Banks and government agencies often decline to lend when the property needs a roof replacement because it is not deemed safe. 

Here is where having the right buyer comes in handy, a professional cash home buyer, that is. Since professional home buyers don’t need mortgages (because they have the cash on hand to close), you won’t need to worry about whether the buyer will qualify for a mortgage. 

Besides, the fact that they pay in cash, working with a homebuyer has many other advantages. Cash buyers can close quickly without any delays. They specialize in buying properties as-is, so there is no need to do repairs, upgrades, or even clean.

Since you would be selling the home to them, it is not necessary to hire a real estate agent or worry about getting your house ready for multiple showings. Usually, they ask to see your home once to better determine its value and can give you an offer within 24 hours. Since you won’t need a realtor, there are no commissions to pay. They will even pay the closing costs.

 If you need to sell a house with a leaky roof in Milwaukee, Cream City Home Buyers is here to help! They are a professional home buying company in the Milwaukee area and want to create a win-win solution to selling your home quickly. We buy houses in Milwaukee Wisconsin fast and for cash!

If you are serious about selling your house, we are serious about buying it! Give us a call today or visit our website for more information. We look forward to working with you!

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