Roof Certifications

I’ve been getting call lately from buyers looking for a roof certification. Apparently lenders, particularly for FHA, want some type of roof certification. Up to now I’ve told them to contact a roofing contractor as I don’t certify systems.

I’m not interested in providing any guarantee or certification on any system but what exactly is a roof certification?

They want you to certify (ie. warranty) the roof for a certain life expectancy (3-5 years, if I recall) in order to process the loan.

Some lenders want someone with some expertise to say (in writing) that the roof will last X amount of years. It typically is no more than a quick evaluation typed up on your letterhead.

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Citizens’ of Florida now has a separate roofing certificate. It has their usual vague list of who can and can’t do them. You would think it stands to reason that if you can perform a Citizens’ 4 Point which includes the roof, you could do the Roofing Certificate but apparently no one can make that determination as of yet, or at least no one I have talked to.

In my opinion, I would never write a roof certification. Always refer to a licensed roofing contractor for certifications.

Roofing contractor perform them here.

The advantage of using a roofing contractor with expertise above and beyond an unbiased home inspector’s (if any additional expertise even exists) is far outweighed by the disadvantage of using a roofing contractor due to the fact that contractors suffer from conflict of interest (they sell roof repair and replacement services).

A roofing contractor is the last person a lender should use for a roof certification. The contractor’s license should disqualify them.

Nick, I see your point but do you expect a home inspector to certify a roof for x amount of time? And, what happens to the inspector if the roof fails within the certification period? I also do not think E&O carriers would cover the inspector writing certifications. No different than reporting the HVAC or water heater will last 3 years, which I never do. I only verbally state average life expectancies of certain components.

Here’s the thing about the cert, though. They’re not looking fior a bid to repair or replace, quite the opposite - They’re looking for someone to document that this roof will “last” X # of years.

If it leaks in that time frome, there is no money to be made (only lost), as the certifier has stated it would last X # of years and will probably be called on to fix it for free.

“Hmm…X amount, yes very good, X amount” :slight_smile:

I did this once, and regretted it, FHA seems to want this lately. I’m not going to do it any more. They wanted my NACHI cert ID, and to sign it. I made clear that my inspection was “a statement of condition at the time of inspection and not a warranty” which they accepted.

I totally agree with the contractor statement Nick, the ONLY plus to state licensing. In my area, contractors think they ARE home inspectors. Oh, and they will give you a bid on site too.

A roof cert is not a guarantee or warranty (state that right on the cert)

It is an third-party, unbiased, inspector’s written opinion of the age of the roof and the life left in the roof.

I’ve done these. And I clearly state that they are not a guarantee nor a warranty. I skirt the “X number of years” by stating the estimated age, and the average life expectancy (same as in my inspection report.) That gives them the same information that they are asking for without the implied “guarantee” that the other wording provides. It’s seemed to be fine. When I was asked about it one time, I responded that I was not a prophet and could not see into the future. Anyone who says that the roof will last “x number of years” is only guessing. They liked that, and said thank you.

Around here standard roof certs are for two years. It is not a life expectancy estimate, but a guarantee that the roof won’t leak for that period of time.
If the roof is in need of repairs, then the certification fee will include any needed repairs before the roofer will certify it.

The beauty of roof certs (at least from the roofer’s perspective) is that they guarantee the roof only, and will not cover any house contents that may be damaged due to a leak.

I do these all the time. (see attached)

Every home inspector should have the knowledge to certify a roof, unless they are just looking around.

John, just out of curiosity, are you a licensed roofer? The form you mention in your post asks for “License Type” and “License Number”. What exactly do you provide them with for those?



In CA most lenders require a licensed roofing company to inspect and issue a 2-3 yr roof cert.

I use a licensed roofing contractor to do this on all of my inspections, however they do not fully inspect the components of the roofing system as a whole like a qualified home inspector would. But they are pretty much guaranteeing the roof to be good for 2 or more years, and have the resources to correct a defect should it arrise.

I Can certify a roof, but I am not a roofing contractor that can go over and fix a problem real quick like one would because I dont have the materials left over from another job or supplies to quickly resolve the problem should it arrise within that 2 years.

Just for your information FHA does allow home inspectors to do these types of certifications. Inspector beware!!! Im fortunate enough to have a contractor that does these for me.

I CAN certify a roof, pool, well and septic tank… lenders (conv. anyway) requirement is that you are a licensed contractor… not what kind you are. Some DO say General or specialty contractor of trade… ie. General Cont. or roofer for roof, General Cont. or well cont. for well and so on. I’m sure various lenders realize it’s a good idea to have a septic guy for septic tanks and so on. FHA may be different, not sure.

I got a call a few days ago asking me to look at a well (this happens a few times a year)… guess what! I gave them a number to a well contractor! Guy calling said “You’re fine to do the evaluation…it’s not a problem for us…” nope.

For the most part, I stay away from it… lenders here do require a warranty in some part and timeframe 2 thru 5 years.

I have in the past certified roofs. I generally don’t now. Most of the time it’s easier to let the roofer deal with that as the majority of the roofs we look at need SOMETHING…as an inspector we don’t do that.

**There’s an inspector up here in my neck of the woods that :

Inspects the house.
Checks for MOLD at the same time during the inspection… I thought was a no no. Not interested either way.
Certifies the Roof, pool and I think septic, all in one shot. And…** if roof repairs are needed (and Usually are) for roof cert… he takes care of that too. Not so terrible, but he was talking to me about it last week and I asked him not to talk to me about it anymore :-). He’d said something in the past to me and I reminded him of a couple of rules about this stuff.