Repairing or replacing a roof is a costly process, especially if the need for them comes up suddenly. Even if you don't have a lot of cash on hand, however, there are multiple ways you can reduce the cost of a repair or replacement, or gain easier access to the kind of loan necessary for the work, without having to take high interest rates in the process.
Get Multiple Inspections and Quotes
Shopping around is a must when it comes to roof work. Getting quotes from multiple roofing services reduces the likelihood that you will pay for unnecessary work sold by an overzealous salesman. You can also get a head start on narrowing down options by only contacting contractors who have good ratings through the BBB, or anywhere with plenty of good customer ratings.
Do Some Work Yourself
If you know what needs to be done, and you're physically able to do so, you can save some money by taking care of some of the more menial labor yourself. For example, if you know that the previous layers of roofing need to be removed before a new one is installed, you can remove it yourself. Any work that is tedious but otherwise easy doesn't necessarily have to be done by the contractors, and you can either try it yourself or hire more inexpensive labor to get certain parts of the job done.
Use Less Expensive Materials
You can choose from all sorts of materials to use for your roof, and the less expensive options come with no sacrifice to quality. If you're struggling to budget for materials, look specifically for asphalt, metal, wood, and clay, which are among the cheapest materials per square foot. This can take a big chunk out of your total budget depending on what you were looking at installing previously. If you had a certain look in mind, these materials may not accomplish that for you, but you'll still get a solid roof that should last you at least a decade or two.
Explore Financing Options
Paying for a roof can be done through much more than using money from your savings, taking out a personal loan, or using a credit card, some of which might be difficult with low income or bad credit.
First, check out any and all government incentives for installing a new roof. These vary by the state, but it's worth hunting down all the ones you qualify for – you can get everything from rebates to tax credits on your work.
Second, check out an FHA Title 1 loan; these are often used for home improvements, and so what you can use the money for is limited, but they're also more accessible to low-income households than traditional loans.
Third, see if you qualify for housing repair grants. These mostly apply toward very low-income households and the elderly, but are worth looking into – a full grant can almost completely cover the cost of a new installation. There is some processing time for each application, so get an early start if you're considering this option.