Expect at least 10 years from quality rubber roof

REAL ESTATE MAILBAG

November 14, 1993

QUESTION: I need a new roof. One contractor offered to put a rubber roof on for $820. Another contractor offered to put a rubber roof with aluminum coating for $900. But the first contractor said aluminum is bad for rubber roofs. What should I do?

ANSWER: While it is a fairly new concept in residential real estate, a good quality rubber roof should last at least 10 years, according to Bruce Boswell, home inspector with Boswell Building Surveys Inc.

However, he recommended that you should get 10-year warranty from the roofing company that covers materials and installation. Also, a roofer who has experience with rubber roofing is recommended.

The price of the roof depends on the square footage. A quality rubber roof should be designed to wear well without an additional coating, so the aluminum-coated rubber roof is probably unnecessary.

Q: What can I do if, after buying a new home, I incur large expenses for problems that were not disclosed by the seller, like removal of a dead tree or faulty plumbing? How will the new state disclosure law change this?

A: The key legal issue here is whether there was misrepresentation or fraud by the seller that you relied on to induce you to buy the house. If not, it's still pretty much caveat emptor or buyer beware.

This is why I always recommend a home inspection contingency clause for all buyers contracts. The home inspection should reveal such things as faulty plumbing or termite damage that might involve large repair bills.

Also, the new Maryland seller disclosure law -- which takes effect Jan. 1, 1994 -- will require sellers to complete a disclosure form that lists the condition of specific items, like water and sewer systems, roof, walls, foundation, land conditions and other facts.

The seller disclosure form must be given to the buyer after Jan. 1, 1994, and will help illuminate many of the issues you mention.

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