Extended Ranch - Sagging Roof - Buy or Walk away?

Interested in buying home. Extended Ranch. Built 1980.

Home Inspection noted a Sagging Roof along Ridge Line.

Inspector noted in Attic that the sagging was caused by Over Spanning.

Owner says 'That’s how houses were built in the 1980’s" and refuses to correct / credit the issue.


I am pretty sure any house, even relatively new at 26 years old would not have been built with a sagging roof?

Inspection also found that Support columns in basement were wooden, and set in concrete. These had rotted out under the level of the concrete. So No Support from them. Seller is actioning this.

Could this have caused the Roof Sag? - Once corrected, Am I naive to think the sag will be corrected once the basement columns are installed and levels adjusted?

I understand that the seller does not NEED to fix the sagging to sell the house? - But this is a structural issue… and could be very costly?

We get these all the time in here, and normally I say its no big deal. But theyre usually a lot older when I say that. Tough to say whether jacking from the basement is going to correct all the way in the attic. What do the floors look like on the living level? Can you race matchbox cars without pushing them? If they dont even have the correct spanning, might want to also note whether it has collar ties or not. This is the one time I’ve heard the question and havent seen the house where I’ve said I wouldnt buy it for that reason. Sounds like shoddy workmanship to me, and what else is going to pop up. BTW, if the wooden posts were set INTO concrete, well, duh, wood does not like lyme.

since nobody else is responding, I want to say that what I said was an opinion. It’s what I would do. Don’t jump too fast. Wait for more qualified opinions. If I was perfect I’d be getting paid from this site and not volunteering it

Thankyou for your response

Re matchbox cars, I wouldnt say race, but you can certainly get cars moving on the kitchen floor. More a sort of poltergeist action if you will…Infact. Can get them rolling down towards the back door, or the other way into the dining room. Slight inclines mind you… See. Right there I am defending a house that could cause me all sorts of problems… IS in a nice area with a good size lot… etc… Am prettyhopeful that proper columns in the basement will be levelled to sort the floors out. I guess I am annoyed by the attitude of the seller. I know he isnt ‘In the Trade’ and statements like ‘This is how they built houses in the 1980’s’ just makes me think they are blustering. Just dont want the Roof to turn into a money pit. So to speak…

good size lot in a nice area, everything is correctable. Just depends on the time involved and how quickly you want/can afford to have it done. And then, if its worth dumping money into it. We cant tell you that from here.

What are your home inspectors qualifications? I hired a guy that was an all around contractor/builder for thirty years and got into home inspection. If he wasn’t smarter than me I’m certainly dont want to pay him. One thing I asked HIM was estimated cost to cure, and he helped me walk away from 2 nightmares. Check back with the Home Inspector and ask him about; 1) The cost/feasabilty/ and necessity to install extra rafters for the roof from the attic after you jack the house. 2.) Try to get him to guage for you how much the raising to level things off will ruin plaster, interior trim, windows, doors, cabinetry. Don’t get scared from this, it may not be a big deal, but those are POSSIBILITIES of things that can get ruined when house jacking 3.) ask him what he thinks of the general materials and craftsmanship for a home built at that time

Our Home Inspector was very thorough, but also stuck to the letter of ASHI membership. Won’t give estimates, suggest contractors etc. I did try to get more out of him at the time of the home inspection but he stuck to his guns. Re. the roof he suggested more support needed, especially at Valley rafters, and that our best course of action was to get a licensed roofing contractor involved for a better look and an idea of costs. Fair play I guess.

Oh. There is also mold and mildew in the roof due to poor ventilation.

Seller said was aware of an historical issue with mold that they had resolved through work in the attic space, and that it was ‘Old Mold’…

This is just ventilation issue I hope. Mold guy going in for inspection this week…

If I was honest I would say that the house is a financial stretch. Don’t want to enter into it, knowing it has 10’s of thousands of work outstanding on it to make it structurally secure on top of the price agreed for the house before the inspection took place. If the seller doesn’t want to tackle the roof issue in any way, either finanically upfront or money off the asking price, then I think maybe walking away is the best way forward. As nice a location as it is, don’t relish the though of the roof being in the kitchen the next time it snows heavily…


He legally CANT refer you to anyone, you can see the conflict of interest in that. But I would say there is only one of two reasons he would be ducking a cost to cure range, even if off the record, is either he has no clue, or doesnt believe in himself enough to expose himself to any liability. Don’t you have any contractor friends or family that could come on a walk-through with you that you trust?

Yes. Just got that sorted out. Friend of friend. Have been told that will still be difficult to get a quote on the work without a fair amount of time poking around which might take more than one visit. I really just need a ball park figure. And some idea from the contractor of how risky the current roof situation is. Not that I wouldnt get the work done… Would just validate the Inspectors findings… I know some houses can have a sagging roof for years and there are no real issues… Just need more information.

Thankyou for your help. Will let the forum know the findings and outcome!

There you go. You’re on the right track. You will make a good decision.


You have a strutural issue. This is not a roofing issue.

Call someone who can advise you on strutural issues.

Some roofers can. You are taking a chance with a roofer. Exspecialy if he does not have any work. He may say anything to get work.

With all those problem i would either make the owner fix all the problems before you buy the home or walk away. Problems like that dont get any better, they get worse. If the homes supports are damaged why even bother. Thats my 2 cents.

if its not termite eit or rotted then comin sence tell me it can probably
be fixed.
i watch a crew down on usseppa island (reminds me i gotta post some pics of that job) take some old structures that were damn near blown
down by hurricane charlie and put them back together.
you can take a wood house apart.



Over spans are easy to fix. Rotten pier posts are easy to fix. Mold is easy to fix. So the question remains … Do you want it? What kind of roof is on it ? Where?

For me to buy something like that it would have to be a large discount. The risk to buy a home with all these problems is not a good idea. I would not suggest it.

Good luck on this one. My vote - walk away and find another one. Sounds like too many “issues” and I bet there are more issues that your inspector didn’t even find.


As a framer I would say it is doubtful that the roof will be fixed by replacing the columns in the basement. When you say overspanned, whatg is overspanned, the rafters or the ridge. Either way or both it should be a relatively easy fix by an experienced framer. Adding stiff legs every 8 ft underneath the ridge to the top of a bearing wall will solve the sagging ridge. If it is sagging real bad you can get a 20 ton jack and should be able to push it back up with no problem. Otherwise just leave it where it is and sure it up. If the rafters are sagging, you need to cut their span in half by adding what is called a purlin wall. this consists of a 2x6 nailed flat to the rafters with stiff leggs every 4 ft going to the top of a purlin wall. More info would help diagnose. Pic of attic inside. Dimension of ridge. Width of house and dimension of rafters also. is the roof hipped or gabled at each end??? let me know