Do you plan to sell a house that may have a bad roof? This is a tricky subject for many homeowners who lack the time or money to invest in putting on a new roof before putting the house on the market. 

What should you do if your roof could be a problem during the sale? Here are a few key tips for every homeowner.

1. Order a Roof Inspection

Don't guess about what's going on on your roof. You may not know the whole story. For instance, you might believe that the roof's problems can only be solved with a replacement. But a good roofing inspection may reveal that it really just needs repairs. Conversely, you want to know if the buyer's inspector will find serious damage. 

2. Make Fixes Where Possible

Once your roof is assessed, talk with the roofers about all the available options. Let them know your financial and real estate situation. A limited number of targeted fixes may solve the biggest problems, such as a leak, and change the roof from an urgent problem to one that's down the road for buyers. 

3. Choose the Right Time

The state of the housing market can help or hinder you if you need to sell with a bad roof. Buyers in a tight market with little inventory available are more likely to overlook obvious repairs or replacements. However, if you sell during prime times, you'll have to compete with homes in better conditions.

4. Get Roofing Estimates

Even if you don't plan to completely re-roof the home, learn what it will take to do so. The reason? Negotiation. The buyer may want a discount based on the cost of work that needs done. If you've already done your research, you're in a better position not to lose more money than necessary. And you'll have hard numbers to back up your position. 

5. Don't Try to Hide

Real estate laws generally require homeowners to be truthful about serious problems with the home. So don't act on the assumption that you can hide a bad roof — perhaps by selling during a snowy winter — and hope the buyer doesn't notice. You could get in worse trouble or lose the sale if you try. Facing this problem head-on, armed with information, is the better path. 

Where to Start

The first step — no matter what you know or don't know about your roof's condition — is to consult with a qualified roofing contractor in your area. With their assistance, you can form a plan and be ready to make the best of any situation.