It may seem like a cliche, but having a solid roof over your head is one of the top priorities of home ownership. A quality roof provides shelter, warmth, and protection for homes and can withstand years of wear and tear with minimal maintenance. When a roof becomes damaged or leaky, however, this security is compromised—and repair and replacement can come at a hefty price.
Whether your roof has reached the end of its natural lifespan or has suffered extensive damage due to an accident or weather, there are a variety of scenarios in which roof repair or replacement becomes essential. Using a roof cost calculator is the best way to get a realistic estimate. Still, because the price depends on not just the roof type but also your local climate and roofing market, average prices range from around $5,000 to $10,000 for a new roof. Prices are steep, and costs for repairs can add up quickly, so many homeowners are wary of spending large sums all at once.
Financing a home improvement project might sound daunting at first, but there are plenty of ways you can spread the cost of bigger jobs like roof replacement without feeling the pinch. From credit and loans to rebates, incentives, and sales, there are homeowner financing options for just about every financial situation. We’ve outlined a few of the best financing options to help take the stress out of your next roofing repair or replacement project.
Cash or credit
If you have plenty of extra income to spare, or if you happen to have a particularly good credit score, then straightforward cash or credit payments might be the best bet when it comes time to pay for your roofing repair or replacement. Using your own money to pay for home improvement projects means that you won’t have to deal with third-party lenders or wait for a loan to go through before starting a project, which is great if you want to get the job done quickly. However, if your credit is less than stellar or if you have insufficient funds in your bank account, this might not be your best option—no one needs additional financial strain if they can help it. If you do decide to use your own credit cards to fund your roofing project, check the fine print carefully and avoid using credit cards with high-interest rates; otherwise you might end up paying much more than the original amount of your project in the long run.
Rather than compromise their available cash flow or credit, many homeowners looking to make home improvements opt to take out a personal loan with their bank, credit union, or other online lenders. These loans are convenient because they require zero equity and allow you to access your funds immediately. This is particularly useful if you need to complete an emergency repair job after a storm, for example. If your credit rating is not as great as you might like, this might be a good option for you too; just remember that repayment schedules and interest rates will vary depending on the lender you choose. Wells Fargo, for example, offers personal loans for terms from 12 to 60 months at interest rates between 7.24% and 24.24%. Our recommendation here is that you should do plenty of research and find a reputable lender with positive reviews, fair fees, and interest rates for the best fit.
Home Equity Loans
If you need to borrow a large amount of money for your roofing repair or replacement, you might be able to secure a home equity loan from your bank. Basically, a home equity loan is a kind of second mortgage, since you put your home as collateral in order to receive a lump sum loan to pay back over a period of time. You can usually borrow up to 85% of your home’s total value (after factoring in your current mortgage). Most major banks offer home equity loans, so you can take your pick: here are some of the top home equity loan providers of 2018.
In addition to standard home equity loans, your lender may also offer a Home Equity Line of Credit—or HELOC—to help you spread the cost of your loan. A HELOC is like a regular credit card in that you don’t receive the total amount all at once and lets you pay as you go—perfect when you’re not quite sure how much your project will cost. As with any loan or financing scheme, be wary of variable interest rates and be sure to check that your lender is reputable before signing on the dotted line. Many well-known banks offer HELOCs, such as Bank of America and Citibank.
If you thought that loans were only given out by banks and credit unions, you’ll be surprised to know that the federal government also offers financing schemes for homeowners looking to undertake repair or renovation work. The Federal Housing Administration is a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that insures mortgages for homeowners across the country. Their Title I program allows homeowners in single-family dwellings to borrow up to $25,000 over a period of up to 20 years for home renovation projects. By collaborating with FHA-approved lenders, this program offers a competitive fixed rate loan for home alterations, repairs, and other site improvements.
If you choose to take out a loan via the FHA-run Title I program, you can expect low interest rates from qualified, pre-vetted lenders. However, you may have to wait to start your home improvement projects while your application is processed. Also, as with home equity loans, you will have to put up your property as collateral if you take out a loan worth more than $7,500.
Finding a roofing company that offers financing options might be tricky, especially if you live in a small town, because these are usually offered by larger national corporations. However, if you’re willing to do a bit of research and shop around for a roofing provider, you might strike it lucky. Some home improvement brands partner with lenders in order to help manage the financing of your home improvement projects, which is just like getting a bank loan, but with less red tape and stress on your end. The highly regarded Raleigh-based company Baker Roofing offers financing through GreenSky, while the pros at Midwest company Mr. Roof also have financing options for qualifying homeowners.
Of course, there are always drawbacks to financing programs. In this case, beware of high interest rates and inflated prices for materials and services. If you choose a national roofing provider that offers financing, you will also be missing out on some of the benefits of going local (including positive client/professional relationships, supporting your local economy, and straightforward maintenance and repairs in the future). However, many larger companies stick around because they have been proven trustworthy over time. The choice is yours; just remember to keep these points in mind.
Rebates and incentives
Financing may be the best way to secure large amounts of money for more expensive roof repairs or replacements, but there are additional ways to find extra funds and rebates for home improvement projects. From federal tax credits and incentives to industry-specific rebates and sales, you can easily shave off a few hundred extra dollars from your roof repair bill by doing your research and shopping around.
Federal tax credits
In previous years, the U.S. government offered a variety of substantial federal tax credits for homeowners looking to make home improvements and repairs. However, many of these programs expired at the end of 2016. While the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 briefly reinstated some of these tax credits, most of them again expired at the end of 2017. Homeowners who plan to install solar panels and other renewable energy sources are still eligible for a tax credit of up to 30% until 2021, but the previous offer of 10% for Energy Star certified asphalt or metal roofs is no longer available.
This is frustrating for homeowners who are currently undertaking roof repair and replacement projects, but all is not lost: the nonbusiness energy property tax credits that benefit homeowners were reinstated retroactively in this year’s budget. This means that homeowners who completed qualifying projects in 2017—and haven’t yet completed 2017 taxes—can still claim them. We recommend checking back at the beginning of 2019 to see whether the same has been done again.
State and local rebates and incentives
While the federal tax credit situation doesn’t currently look great for homeowners, there are still other ways to get rebates and incentives on your roofing repair or replacement project. State and local governments, as well as private institutions across the country, have schemes that support homeowners—especially those who are interested in upgrading their homes’ energy efficiency rating.
The U.S. Department of Energy has a dedicated section outlining the tax credits, rebates and other savings available for homeowners who plan energy efficiency-related projects: you can search their database here. Filter your results by keyword, state, and eligibility criteria to help narrow down the search results quickly and accurately. There are currently over 30 results directly related to residential properties and roofing from various local utility companies and local organizations.
Tax credits and rebates are great ways to save money on your roofing project, but perhaps one of the best ways to save money is by shopping around and finding one-off deals and discounts from your local roofing providers. Small businesses are even more competitive than larger corporations, so you will be pleasantly surprised with the offers you might find. Local roofers often offer discounts for senior citizens and veterans and can even give you money off your purchase with referral schemes and package deals. If you live in Colorado and choose Ramos Roofing, for example, you can receive $250 off a complete roof installation or take advantage of a free solar vent upgrade just by using one of their coupons available online. These kinds of local sales change often, so checking back frequently is the key to finding a great deal on your roof repair or replacement.
Why Financing is the Right Option for You
Making the decision to replace a damaged or worn-out roof can be stressful for homeowners. Weighing the costs of roof replacement against the benefits of a new roof is essential: while the initial price tag is likely to be high, the benefits of a new and secure roof will ultimately make it worthwhile. Fortunately, homeowners with less than stellar credit scores and small savings accounts can save money on their roof repair or replacement projects. The long-term investment of a new roof can potentially last upwards of 30 years, offering immediate protection and comfort for your family for years to come.