The house has a tree on it. Would you consider it?

11 Replies

There's a house on my street that has had a tree lying on the roof since a storm on 05/25/2015. The owner/occupant had their satellite dish back on the roof the next day, but the tree remains. I know the neighbors behind the house and am considering asking them to take pictures from their house to see if I can tell what kind of damage the tree has done. My question is primarily for the more experienced investors, would you put a property like this on your "possibility, need more info" list or your "stay far, far away" list? I've heard from other neighbors the owners want to sell, but that's third hand info.  I think a great price could be had because it has a tree on it, but it could turn into a nightmare. Under what circumstances would you consider this property? I thought I'd see if I can find out if there's a mortgage on the property, but not sure it's even worth it. What would you do? Thanks!

How big is the tree? How destroyed is the roof? Pictures?

Hi @Elizabeth Davis

If it were me, I would put it on the possibly need more info list. I think something like that will deter most homebuyers, which could be an opportunity for an investor. I'd try to get in the property and see if there is any water damage, or cracking in the ceiling where the tree landed. I would also try to look at it from every angle on the exterior to understand the potential damage. It could be a great bargaining chip in the rehab cost isn't too much. 

I'm not a veteran flipper though, so I'm excited to hear what some of the other BP members say. 

Good luck!


I think it would be seeing what price they are talking about.  If the price is right the damage can be repaired with good contractors to as good as or better than new condition.  All depends on the price, repair costs, and comps in the neighborhood.

As real estate investors/flippers, we are problems solvers and finanance facillitators!  Consider it and if you get a good enough deal, go for it!! (after inspections, estimates and due dillagence of coarse).

Yes, pictures please, even from a distance would help.

They are still living there? Almost 2 months later, sounds like it may not even leak, there may not be any damage. They may not have the means to have it removed, money might be tight which indicates a motivated seller. 

I'd just knock on the door as an inquiring neighbor, "I see you have a tree problem and I heard you were thinking of selling" approach, "how much are you asking"?

Rafters and roof decking are really a pretty easy fix, if they aren't really steep. We cut out a 4/12 section 30' long, framed the new walls and roof, had decking on with paper tacked down in a day. Dried in the next day. 

You might also be able to simply scab on rafters to a damaged one, not need to replace the decking, it could be an hour fix!

So, yes, I'd definitely consider it! 

If it's a large tree, not sure if I'd suggest that you go up in the attic in that area, you might end up in the house with a tree on you, so send a pro in if it's very large. :)   

Take a friend and knock on the door! If that's not an option for you, write out a simple postcard and drop it in the mail: "Thinking about selling your home? I'm a private investor interested in buying homes in your neighborhood. If you're thinking about selling, please call me. My name is Elizabeth and you can reach me anytime at 555-555-1212" ... Follow up in one week with another postcard if you haven't heard back. (Virtually no one follows up but most good deals come from "follow-up")!

I would think that insurance would cover this, but maybe I'm wrong. 

Originally posted by @Steve Babiak :

I would think that insurance would cover this, but maybe I'm wrong. 

 Yes, storm damage, falling objects, they may have gotten a check and paid the mortgage payment, no idea. They may not have the deductible to have it repaired. Tree removal would also be included. Trees are part of the real property, often covered at small amounts, like 2,000 or 1/2% of the dwelling.

But, if the tree was dead and/or in poor shape and should have been removed by a prudent owner, the insurance company can run away, and they usually try to from my experience. 

So, you're right, but who knows what happened.......   :)   

Originally posted by @Steve Babiak :

I would think that insurance would cover this, but maybe I'm wrong. 

Maybe no insurance?

We went to look at a post fire house on Monday.  Owners is in a home, has had the house free and clear for 40 years and didn't bother with insurance.

@Elizabeth Davis Absolutely it would be on my possibility list, but don't let it be your possibility list for wasting your time doing all sorts of research on how bad the damage is, whether they have a mortgage, etc, before ever asking them if they want to sell.

If it doesn't seem like a lot of time then you are not looking at very many deals.  As @Michael Hart said, go knock on their door or send them a letter.  Tell them you'd like to buy their house and find out if it is for sale.  If it is, great!  Ask what they are looking to get for it--tree on roof and all.  If it sounds like it might be a deal, start doing your due diligence before negotiating.

Thank you all for your thoughts and advice. I felt like this house had some potential, but since I'm so new to this it's nice to hear from others who also think so. I'll try to get some pics and post them. Sounds like my next step is some door knocking. My other neighbor is also a real estate investor and I've been talking to him about the house. We may take a walk down the street together. Thanks again everyone!

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