Does a Metal Roof Increase Home Value?
I have no doubt that your business is very active right now. Each day, we hear from metal roofing contractors who are well on their way to record years in 2017. In this issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, we want to address a question that homeowners almost always ask when they are considering buying a metal roof: “Will investing in a metal roof increase the value of my home?” If we can help homeowners see how a metal roof will increase their home’s value, it becomes a tremendous closing impetus for their future.
Let’s dig into the argument for increased home value that can be made to potential metal roofing customers…
First, there’s an old saying that we think is very applicable when searching for a roof:
“Only The Very Rich Can Afford To Buy Cheap”
What this means is that most of us have to make very careful decisions that will provide good return on our investments. We have to buy products that will last and be beneficial, freeing us from future repair and replacement expenses. The very rich, on the other hand, are able to lead lifestyles based upon disposable products – because they can afford to replace them again and again.
When it comes to roofing, though, most of us need to make roofing choices that have long-term payback and return. That payback can come in three ways:
- Increased home value
- Freedom from ongoing maintenance and replacement costs
- Energy efficiency
Potential buyers of a home will likely share in this desire for return on investment. This means that they, too, will place value on a roof that does these things.
So, here’s the question that we need to answer: Can the right roof pay for itself over time? The answer is that yes, it can. Let’s take a look at the important factors in this equation.
INCREASED HOME VALUE
Home improvement industry researchers estimate that a quality roof will immediately add close to 70% of its cost to the home’s value. Studies that have looked at higher-end roofs have rated those higher in payback than a standard roof. While we’d love to stand firm on these claims, we have found that the interaction between roof cost/quality and home value is quite a bit more complicated than that.
All real estate markets are different. And, as most folks who have bought or sold a house know, two things are required to complete that transaction – a willing seller and a willing buyer. The two of those may end up “dancing” a great deal to end up at an agreed-upon price. To a large degree, the value of a home’s roof will be determined by potential buyers of that home. If a home has a roof that they want and appreciate, then it increases how much they are willing to pay for the home. On the other hand, if a home’s roof looks ordinary or in need of replacement, it will reduce what they are willing to pay for the home.
Along the lines of home value and roof aesthetics, though, we advise going one step further. Drive through a few neighborhoods of higher value homes and you will quickly see that many of those homes have more distinctive roofs. Depending upon your geographic area, you will see the following roofs: Slate, Wood Shakes, Tile, Metal, Dimensional Shingles, Composite Materials. Fact is, these types of roofs hallmark higher-value homes, and even become essential if a home is going to command an above-market price.
Particularly with today’s metal roofs that look like slate, shake, and tile, a metal roof can be a great way to enhance a home immediately through increased beauty as well as the “high end” value implication of an upscale home.
FREEDOM FROM ONGOING MAINTENANCE AND REPLACEMENT COSTS
You may think that you’re an incredibly charming contractor who homeowners would love to work with on a daily basis but, fact is, no one likes having to repair or replace their roof. Roofing costs, regardless of the product being installed, seem to double about every 12 – 15 years — a number that is being driven by the ever-escalating cost of skilled labor.
In thinking about roof maintenance, it’s important to keep in mind that most “temporary” or “disposable” roofs have two lives. Both lives are fairly short but those two lives are a Functional Life and an Aesthetic Life. According to national studies, the Functional Life of most roofs is about 17 years. However, the Aesthetic Life is closer to 5 – 7 years before the shingles have streaked and stained and weather has taken a toll to where they look like an “old roof.” Once they hit that point, even though the roof may continue to protect against the weather, the perception is that it is on its “last leg” and it begins to detract from the home’s overall appeal and value.
There is a funny thing about roofs – anyone who buys a home suddenly becomes a roofing expert. If the roof on the home they are considering shows any age at all such as cracks, splits, moss, or algae growth, the prospective buyer looks up at the roof and insists for a discount on the home’s selling price because they are going to have to replace the roof before long. And, to a large degree, they are correct in doing that.
The conclusion of this is that, to add to a home’s value over the long term, a roof needs to not only be durable and long-lasting but it also needs to maintain a “just new” look that enhances the home. Metal roofs fit that bill very well.
Energy Efficiency is another important aspect that will attract a prospective home buyer. Homes that are more energy efficient tend to sell faster than homes that are less efficient, and this can result in higher selling prices. Many homeowners also like roofs that can easily have solar added to them at a later time.
There are primarily three ways in which a roof can be energy efficient. Those are:
- Increasing the attic ventilation along with the new roof
- Moving to a lighter color or more reflective roof
- Adding a thermal break to minimize heat transfer through the roof system
Let’s look more closely at each of these.
Re-roofing is the perfect time to address a home’s attic ventilation. Recent research by our nation’s leading energy laboratories has focused increasingly on ventilation. It has been proven to be a more effective way to decrease attic temperatures and therefore lower cooling costs than even reflective roofing. When re-roofing a home, make sure that the soffit intake vents are clear of insulation and functioning. Also make sure that, in terms of air flow, they can support maximum exhaust vents in or near the peak of the roof.
Reflectivity, however, is still important and is an area where metal roofs clearly out-perform other roofing materials. The use of metal roofs in lighter colors or in dark colors that utilize heat-reflective pigments has allowed many metal roofs to be Energy Star compliant. The choice of these products is an easy way to make a metal roof be energy efficient.
Due to their design and installation, metal roofs can also include thermal breaks. A thermal break is basically a dead air space between two materials for the purpose of stopping conductive heat transfer or “thermal bridging”. Thermal breaks are used in double and triple pane windows to stop heat transfer. With a metal roof, the thermal break can be between the metal itself and the roof deck. This is naturally achieved with many of the heavily formed shake, shingle, and tile metal roofs which keep the metal up off of the roof deck. It can also be achieved by installing the metal roof on battens that lift it up off of the roof deck.
Finally, the durability and design of metal roofing lends itself well to eventual solar applications, and an increasing number of homeowners care about that as well. Having a home’s roof be “solar ready” can add value to the home.
While it is impossible to ever predict the exact amount of value that a new roof will add to a home, the benefits of a metal roof are things that are sought after by prospective home buyers. It becomes a natural conclusion, therefore, that homes with the benefits of metal roofing will sell faster and for higher value. Those benefits include:
Freedom from future roof expenses
Lasting beauty that stays “looking new”
Reduced utility costs through energy efficiency and eventual solar panel installation
WHAT TYPE OF ROOF IS BEST FOR YOUR PROSPECTIVE CLIENT?
There is a free online tool to help homeowners in their search for the best roof. The Roofing Needs Profiler asks 30 easy and quick multiple-choice questions that determine whether an “Entry-Level,” “Mid-Grade,” or “Investment Grade” roof is right for them and their home. It can be helpful to have your clients go through this easy quiz. The final report they receive explains why that grade of roof best fits their needs.
As always, know that I’m here to help. My goal is to help metal roofing contractors be successful. Please email me at email@example.com whenever I might be of service. As I said in the last issue of the Executive Report, I am offering a free one hour conference call with your sales manager or sales team to discuss your most pressing concerns and how they can be addressed. Just let me know if you’re interested and we will schedule a time that works for you!
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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