Roof cost freaks out mom.

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I moved in with mom about 5 years ago to care for her and the home. Now we need a new roof. The contract and price freaked her out! (Yes, it's expensive, but all roof jobs are costly.) Now she won't sign the contract. I think I'll be stuck with buckets again this coming winter. I tried again this morning to get her signature for 45 minutes by calmly reviewing the contract and pointing out the problem areas. To no avail. Boo hoo.


Perhaps you can get someone to give you a free estimate for all the work that would have to be done to repair water damage from all the leaks. Once she sees that the roof will seem like a bargain!
Sue, this there a male relative who could talk to your Mom. I found women from the much older generation will listen to a brother, son, grandson, uncle, male cousin or a neighbor before they will listen to us "gals" because what do we know :P

Sometimes things such as roofs, plumbing, electrical work is overwhelming to a person who never did hands-on repairs him/herself. Your Mom doesn't understand that water leaks can create many other problems if they go unfixed. Such as electricity can short out.... wood structures in the attic will start to rot and lose strength, etc.

My Dad use to balk at getting things repaired at the house. Now that Dad wants his house sold, he is ready to finally open up the vault and pay for repairs. I notice he will say yes quickly if I use tradesmen that he had used and liked in the past.
SuePeace, did you get estimates for the work? I've found that prices between companies for the same work vary tremendously. The only thing I figure is that some companies sprinkle gold dust on their work, while others sprinkle aluminum dust. (Being silly here) Home maintenance work is certainly expensive these days.

My mother has a hard time with the cost of repairs now, too. She remembers the prices from last century when they were a fraction of what they are now. If the roof needs replacing, though, it is important. Water damage is very costly and can destroy the walls. Roofs to me follow Franklin's Law "A stitch in time saves nine."
Sue, do you have authority under a power of attorney to handle your mother's transactions? If so, use what others call a therapeutic fib, sign the contract, get the work done, and fudge on the cost.

If you don't have legal authority, take a different tact and approach her in a way that won't make her comfortable to get that authority.... perhaps have POAs created for you so that you have succession in place, and tell Mom you want to ensure that she's covered as well.

You'll have to gauge how to do this gently so it doesn't frighten her into thinking that she might be left alone if something happens to you.

The important thing is that if the roof is bad enough to be replaced now, waiting longer is really gambling on much more extensive damage.

But I wouldn't take just one estimate. As Jessie observes, estimates can vary significantly. See if you can find out from your local building and inspection department if there are any roofers that work consistently in your community. They shouldn't be recommending, but asking for prevalent companies isn't a recommendation.

I prepared my own work breakdown description and gave it to contractors to bid, so they were all bidding on the same project. I did this after finding out that some of them watched HGTV and DIY Networks and came up with elaborate proposals for what THEY felt should be done. They wouldn't factor out just the necessary work, so basically their estimates were worthless (and their approach removed them from consideration.)

Check with your state's licensing departments to see if roofers have to be licensed, and if so, see if you can get a list of those who are. Ask for references. If they balk, that's not a good sign. And be aware that some contractors will fabricate references.

Contact your local senior center and see if any companies have notified it that senior discounts are available. Also contact the community, perhaps building inspection, to find out if HUD grants are available to income qualified seniors for emergency repairs. Habitat for Humanity and Christmas in April, as well as some local churches, also do some gratis work, again for income qualified people.

Research and find some online DIY forums; find the roofing section and read up on what happens if the roof is leaking or in less than good shape. Water penetration can as FF observes cause rotting damage, mold growth, insect (especially ants) attraction, and more. If there's old paint, pre 1978, peeling paint could cause the possibility of lead release, especially if there's an actual roof leak which is creeping down and affecting plaster walls (I had that problem - it's an awful mess).

Speaking from experience, when I think of all the things that could happen to my own house, it becomes overwhelming, so I have to back off and focus only on the primary issue. I would do that if I were in your place, and that primary issue is finding a way to get the roofing done, by a contractor with whom you feel comfortable, andto take the burden off your mother.
I agree with Garden Artist about fibbing. I could never get my a Dad to agree to any house hold repairs without fibbing to him, sometimes quite elaborately: the carpet cleaner owes me a favor, the visiting nurse is an old girlfriend who just stopped by. It's impossible otherwise. I have absolutely no guilt about spinning the wildest tales to get basic stuff done. If I don't my parents would have no toilets, water, heat or a/c.
SuePeace, I just thought of an idea.... go out and buy one huge blue tarp and bring it home. When Mom asks what is that, say you are going to have a handyman nail it to the roof to help keep the water out. And you hope the neighbors won't complain too much about it. If your Mom is anything like my Mom was, she would be horrified to have something like that on the roof... what would the neighbor's think??? New roof would be ordered :)
Thank you everyone for the great suggestions. I think I will pick on my brother to throw in the "pitch." She does think he knows more than I do when it comes to home repairs. And, yes, I did get several estimates. Roofs are costly as we all know, so for a depression baby it's outrageous. She has a fit when I hire a carpet cleaner and we spend a whopping $100 for the entire home. LOL I don't have Power of Attorney in place for mom is still "coherent" and it only kicks in when she is incapacitated. I can barely get her to sign a thing for she thinks everyone is trying to get over on her. I have lied about a tree being pruned, or some simple things around the home, and was able to foot the bill myself then reimburse myself through the ATM. But, with a job like the roof, well, I can't foot the bill myself. I'll see what my brother can do. Thank you everyone for the great suggestions! Isn't life fun when the roles are reversed and we are caring for our parents. . . . .
Sue, I strongly advise getting POA while mom is able to understand. You can't get POA once she is incompetent. And also get on her bank accounts so you can get stuff done for her. The POA can be useful even if she is not totally incompetent. With my Dad I used the JUST IN CASE SOMETING WOULD EVER HAPPEN ruse to get him to sign paperwork. Now, 3 years later I take care of all bills and finances.
I took over all of my mom's finances long before she wasn't capable of doing it herself (with her consent, of course), it was just so much easier for both of us for me to do all the negotiating and leg work involved.
Yes, maybe it is time for me to revise the Power of Attorney form. It is currently tied into her Living Trust. I'll have to review it and see what I can do. Will need to run by my siblings, of course . . . . .

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