Common Roofing Red Flags (Rental Property Inspection Checklist)

Becoming a new real estate investor in San Antonio is an exciting time. However, one of the last things you want to do after signing the dotted line is uncover extreme roofing problems!

The state of the roof of your investment property should be at the top of your rental property inspection checklist. After all, roofs are constantly exposed to the elements, and wind and hail are certainly not your friends in San Antonio!

In addition, did you know that according to estate agent licensing laws, real estate agents are supposed to identify a material defect in a property whenever a buyer or seller is present? However, how often does this actually happen? In today's blog, we're sharing insider strategies from the roofing specialists at Bondoc Roofing to help you recognize and categorize roofing problems for the best approach to repair or replacement.

What Are Common Roofing Red Flags to Look Out For?

When inspecting your rental property, properly inspecting the roof can be the difference between minor fixes versus a complete replacement you might not need by the wrong roofing company. The initial inspection can also help you assess what may be covered by insurance and what won't be.

Thankfully, the expert team at Bondoc Roofing has shared their insights with us to help you identify common roofing red flags you can spot from the outside perimeter of the property or inside the attic space.

Issues to Identify When Inspecting From the Ground

What should rental property owners look for while remaining on the ground? You don't have to climb on the roof to see some critical issues with the roof.

Shiny Roof Shingles

Unfortunately, shiny does not always mean brand new or in great condition!

Shiny roof shingles can signify heat damage as long-term exposure has worn them down, causing them to lose their granules. The granules form the protective layer around the shingle and are usually composed of rock, porcelain, slate, slag, or tile. Shiny roof shingles can also be a sign of storm damage with extreme events such as hail compounded by sun exposure.

"Shininess" most commonly appears on the edges of the shingles. An additional warning sign with this issue may be an increase of granules in the gutter system.

Dark Streaks On The Roof

Dark streaks on the roof are a big red flag. Several factors could cause this streaking. However, one of the most common causes is the presence of what at first seems like black mold, which is actually algae buildup. Thankfully, the buildup is relatively easy to remove by spraying with a water bleach solution.

However, dark streaks could also be caused by general roof aging, which may require a replacement of the affected areas. Either way, it's crucial to be aware of and actively search for dark streaks when inspecting the roof.

Warped Shingles

If you notice warped shingles, dips, or dents in the roof, this could signify several severe issues with the roof. These issues may include:

  • Rotten decking
  • Poor shingle installation
  • Foundational issues

If you see warped shingles, it's time for a professional to look at the roof to identify underlying issues and recommend repairs or a replacement.

Missing Shingles

When it comes to missing shingles, quantity is important.

One or two missing shingles may not be devastating and can be easily replaced, especially if there's not any rotten decking beneath the shingle. However, multiple missing shingles, especially in the same spot, could be a warning sign of wind and storm damage. This could lead to potential leaks and other severe problems with the roof's integrity.

Misshapen Or Poorly Installed Roof Vents

Poor installation techniques cause misshapen air vents. Thankfully, this is a relatively quick fix, provided you contract the services of a skilled and experienced roofing company like our friends at Bondoc Roofing!

mossy roof

However, keep in mind that misshapen vents could signify that the rest of the roofing may be compromised if completed by the same contractor who may have cut corners or used dodgy techniques.

Potential Issues When Inspecting From The Attic
When inspecting the roofing of a rental property, be sure to pop your head in the attic to do a further inspection. Don't forget to bring your flashlight!

Dark Spots On Decking

Any dark spots on the underside of the decking signify rotting, likely caused by a leak from a missing shingle. This means that the leak and the decking will need to be replaced or fixed.

Signs of Rodent Activity

Signs of rodent activity such as droppings, chewed walls or cables, and nestings are all clear signs of a rodent problem with the roofing area. A roofer can look for openings allowing rodents into the attic and repair those spots to keep pests out.

When Do I Need to Replace The Roof?

So, if you've found a few of these issues when taking a look at your rental property's roof, what should you do about them? Fortunately, not every problem requires a full replacement! Let's look at which issues require a complete replacement of the roofing versus those that only need a quick (yet quality) fix.

Minor Replacements

Roofing that may require minor replacements includes bent or broken vents and minor shingle issues. Some dark spots may be dealt with with a cleaning treatment. However, work with a property manager and reputable roofing company to determine what caused the streaking and to recommend the right approach.

Full Replacement

Signs of shiny shingles, strong dark streaks, evidence of leaks, and rotten decking are all tell-tale signs that it's probably time to replace the rental property's roof. While this is the more costly option, putting off a necessary roof replacement can lead to ongoing maintenance issues, growing costs, and unhappy tenants.

How Can I Be Sure About Repair vs. Replacement?

If you're still not sure how to inspect the roof effectively or when to know whether a problem is a repair vs. replacement-worthy issue, it may be time to solicit the services of San Antonio property managers.

The best property management companies work with vetted and highly skilled vendors and tradespeople to assess and address any maintenance issues regarding rental properties. This includes the roofing issues discussed above. In addition, they can remove the stress and time-sink of dealing with all maintenance issues resulting from being a property investor.

Don't Leave the Roof off Your Rental Property Inspection Checklist

Roofing issues can range from a quick fix to a complete replacement. Identifying and categorizing roofing issues can help you make the right call when examining a property as a potential investment opportunity.

As a first-time investor with limited experience (or even a seasoned rental property owner), sometimes taking care of roof problems is easier said than done. However, if you want to remove the guesswork and avoid dodgy dealings, MHN Properties can help!

We're incredibly knowledgeable about all maintenance issues, including roofing and general maintenance. By linking our clients with trusted vendors, we help deliver quality (and appropriate) repairs that save time and money while boosting returns. Reach out soon to learn more about our property management services and how we can help with roofing (or other) issues to improve your properties!


MHN properties has managed our house in San Antonio since December 2014. Everyone on the team has always been professional and courteous. They are prompt in responding to questions and maintenance requests by the tenants. We feel like they have taken great care of our property! In addition, our property has not been empty since they took over the management. We would highly recommend MHN properties to anyone!

Adam Nyitray