Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Housing

My House Needs a New Roof. – George

“Hi Steve,

Im finally on the right financial track since I am starting to pay off my $20,000 credit card balance since I stopped using the card and am now paying more than the minimum due. Also, I just started contributing to the retirement plan at work as well and also started putting a little in a savings account. Doing all this is pretty much maxing me out and not giving me much spending money but at least I feel like I am heading in the right direction.

However, heres the problem: my house needs a new roof. I have been putting it off for over 5 years. Now It absolutely must be done in a few months when it gets warm. That will be between $5K-$7K. Obviously I don’t have that money but if i want to have a house, it must be done. I also have some other things that need to be done as well. Do you have a suggestion about the best way to pay for this?? So here i thought I was heading in the right direction but now I will be in worse shape and more debt.

Thanks Steve”

Dear George,

Don’t feel dejected just yet. It sounds like you are doing the right things but the problem here is that you have not had enough time to save up the money to pay cash for the needed repairs.

This is one of those times that credit can be beneficial. When you enter into a credit agreement you use the money of others for your purpose, and pay a fee to do that. The fee is charged as interest.

If you are working with an established roofer you could ask if they work with someone to finance a new roof. Otherwise, check with your local bank and see if a home improvement loan might be available. If you have some equity in the house this might actually be a good time, while interest rates are low, to refinance the home and take out enough cash to pay for the needed repairs and pay off the credit cards, as long as you don’t run the card back up.

Outside of that, you might find yourself having to use the credit card to pay for the new roof. That roof is pretty important. If you let it go too long without repair it could wind up costing you a lot more in damage than just the cost of replacing the roof.

Once you get over this hurdle, I want you to focus on how much you are saving. You might need to adjust the balance of your savings so you can put more into a savings account right now to build up an emergency cash reserve to use for things just like the roof.

In order to do that you might have to return to just paying the minimum on the credit card for a bit. Paying more than the minimum but not having emergency cash just erodes the progress people make since emergency expenses tend to wind up back on the plastic.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • Steve is right. Don’t let the roof problem linger! If you do, more problems will arise, and that would lead to additional financial burden for you. What’s the problem, anyways? Is it a roof leak? A hole? Rusting? Identify the issue first, so that a solution can be recommended. Good luck on the roof and on your savings, George!

  • I am in desperate need of a roof and I have zero money. I am 67, disabled, and after 5 hurricanes my roof is in total failure. Is there any place that can just put on a roof for me and write it off? I don’t know what else to do except ask this stupid question. Free roof! Is there such a thing? I expect to be homeless after this next hurricane season. This is not a joke. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Steve, great advice on replacing your roof. One other thing I might mention is that often an old worn-out roof will qualify for replacement from the insurance company. Before you go and pull a home equity loan, ask a professional roofing contractor to inspect the roof for signs of weather related damage. If you have damage, even if it is old damage, there’s a good chance that the insurance company will pay for the roof to be replaced.
    .-= Fireman Roofing´s last blog ..Old Wood Roof Shingles =-.

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