How Snagging Lists Can Help New Property Owners
In this guide, Compare My Move explains everything you need to know about the Snagging List, the basic property survey for new build houses, and why it’s so important to have one conducted on your new home.
If you decide to go for a new build, you’ll expect to benefit from a perfect new home that has not had any wear or tear from previous owners. This is a great selling point for new houses, although a perfect and seamless property is not always what you’ll find. This is due to the fast-build nature of new homes, meaning there’s often a chance some details will be incomplete.
For many properties, the solution to uncovering potential risks is to hire a chartered surveyor to conduct a property survey. However, for new builds, the property survey is usually best supplemented by a Snagging List. In this guide, Compare My Move takes you through what to do to ensure everything is as expected when moving into a new home.
What is a Snagging List?
A Snagging List is a new build’s supplement to a property survey. It is a list of all the issues or 'snags' with a new build property, usually defects like damage to paintwork or small unfinished jobs throughout the property. In some cases, there may be more major issues uncovered like large cracks in work surfaces or poorly fitted appliances.
When moving into a new property, there shouldn’t be any issues with damage occurring over time. You’re more likely to find smaller issues that have been overseen by the property development company. In this case, you can compile a document called a ‘snagging list’, which can then be used to negotiate with the developer to get them to complete the work before you finalise the sale.
In contrast, when you move into a pre-owned home, it’s usually a good idea to get a property survey, such as a Home Buyers Report or a Building Survey. These reports will look at any damage or potential issues that have occurred over time and may need remedying before you finalise the sale.
Who Should Use a Snagging List?
A snagging list is designed to negotiate further work with the housing developer. It’s not particularly useful for anyone that’s not buying a new build property from a developer. In cases where you’re buying a nearly new property from the first owner, a more thorough property survey like a Homebuyers Report will be more suitable to highlight any potential damage they’ve created or that has happened naturally over time.
If you're a first-time buyer using the Help to Buy scheme, you may want to consider a snagging list as you will most likely be purchasing a new build property with it. Research by The Home Builders Federation shows that up to 16,000 new homes have been bought using this scheme, 81% being first-time buyers. Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation stated that "new build homes are proving to be the solution for hard-pressed households with an ambition to move into home ownership. Over a quarter of a million people are now living in new build homes purchased using the Help to Buy scheme, the vast majority of whom are first time buyers." Many first-time buyers are looking to this government scheme to help them onto the property ladder and so if you're also using it, make sure you use a snagging list to inspect your new build home.
You should have already queried about the property's condition by asking questions before buying. However, getting a snagging list will only further solidify that the home is stable and liveable.
Do I Need A Snagging List?
If you’re buying a new build house, especially a new build off-plan, getting a snagging list is advised. The Home Builders Federation's latest satisfaction surveys have shown that 99% of new build homeowners had to report 'snags' or 'defects' to their builder after moving in - 34% claimed that the number of problems detected was more than what they had originally expected to find. It's important to have a snagging list to prepare you for these problems so that they can be fixed immediately. 30% of new build owners found between 1-5 issues, whilst 26% found over 16 defects! The more informed you are about the property, the more prepared you can be.
Of course, you do not need to provide a snagging report when buying a new property. Although, once the sale has completed, in practice, it's usually very difficult for you to negotiate any further completion or repair work with the property developers. Having a snagging report done before the sale is completed puts you in a much better position for negotiating, and you still have stronger leverage over the developer to deal with these to your satisfaction.
Your property will have been checked and signed off in line with Building Regulations to make sure it meets all statutory standards. It will have also had a thorough structural warranty applied from an approved insurance policy provider. Getting this done and remedying any issues is the responsibility of the housing company that has built the property.
However, it’s unlikely that these surveys will have caught everything, especially when it comes to cases where a large development has been undertaken and multiple new builds need reviewing. Another important consideration is that it can be notoriously difficult to get the work actually done after the sale has completed, as many developers will be happy to have collected their money and will now be prioritising their next houses to sell, rather than de-snagging homes they have already sold. This is often a purely commercial, but very common, problem with new build properties, and is even more reason to make sure the property is inspected by your own professional. This then ensures all necessary work is done to the right standard, before you complete.
Arranging a snagging list will be for your own security and peace of mind, as it will confirm that everything has been completed to a high standard and that the property will be a worthy investment. It will also give you valuable leverage to require the developer to make sure everything is finished correctly before you move in, as this can often be difficult after you have completed and paid for the house in full. It’s important to note that you may also have to arrange a Valuation Survey as part of your mortgage arrangements, as well as the snagging survey.
What Does a Snagging List Include?
Once you’ve found someone to undertake your snagging list, the surveyor will then be able to contact the housing developer and book in a suitable time and date for the survey to take place. Alternatively, you can work with a surveyor recommended by the housing developer themselves, although an independent point of view is always worthwhile.
When they arrive at the property, they will work their way through the property systematically, looking at all areas that produce common concerns within new properties. As they move through, they’ll note anything they find which will later be compiled into a report. From simple cosmetic issues to more serious problems like structural damage, they will inspect and note down anything they notice. Some of the most common issues found includes skirting board damage, plastering issues and problems with the external brickwork.
Due to the relatively simple nature of a snagging list, the professional you have used should be able to get the list to yourself and the housing developers within a few days, but it is always a good idea to agree a turnaround time with your surveyor when you appoint them.
What Does the Report Look Like?
The report will often delivered as an email, although, it can be sent to you by post if you prefer. It’s a relatively simple report and should be very clear in terms of what has been assessed and what needs further attention or renovations.
The report should list all the areas that the professional has looked at, such as brickwork, paintwork (internal and external), pipework, gardens, walls, roof, windows, kitchen, appliances, floors, staircases and loft space. Next to each of these sections there should be a note to highlight that they have been inspected, as well as any notes of any defects or snags that have been detected.
Can I Do A Snagging Survey Myself?
If you have some knowledge about buildings and construction, you may choose to do the new build snagging survey yourself. Of course, this means you’ll also be able to save yourself a little money in the process. If you do decide to undertake this survey yourself, you will need to make arrangements with the property developer to let you on site.
If you do not have a thorough understanding of buildings and construction, we recommend that you hire a professional, verified surveyor in order to conduct your snagging checklist. To do this you will be best placed to find a surveyor specialising in working with new build homes.
Although there are no specific qualifications in creating snagging lists, working with a surveyor that has experience and understanding of new properties will put you in a good position when moving into negotiations with the developer. However, if you do decide to do a DIY snagging list, here are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself whilst inspecting your new build home:
- Do the roof tiles look cracked or loose?
- Are the drains blocked?
- Has the brickwork and paintwork been finished accurately?
- Do all the doors and windows open and shut correctly?
- Are the stairs even?
- Is there enough loft insulation?
- Have the skirting boards been fitted correctly?
- Are all the gates and fences safe?
- Are there any gaps in the door frames?
- Is the kitchen and bathroom up to my standards?
- Are the roof and floors adequately insulated?
How Much Will a Snagging Survey Cost?
Depending on the size of the new build property, a snagging survey will cost between £300 to £600. Given that most new houses in the UK are in the hundreds of thousands of pounds range, spending this little extra money to give yourself peace of mind is a worthwhile investment to ensure your new home is perfect and ready for you to move in. If you're prepared at an early enough stage, you may be able to reduce the sale price by the survey price so it costs you nothing
If you do your snagging survey yourself then this should cost nothing, except the cost of your time and attention. However, if you miss anything, then this may cost you more in the long run as you eventually discover that certain areas need urgent repairs.
What Should I Do Once I Receive the Report?
When you get your snagging list back, you should read it very carefully. Although there may be notes on there about aspects that need remedying, these are not necessarily major. If notes have been made about potential issues, you should look over these thoroughly. If you do not understand the notes, a good surveyor will take the time to explain it to you.
When you receive your survey report, you should check whether your surveyor has also sent it to the housing developer or whether you will need to do that yourself. You will then be able to begin communication with the developer about how to move forward with the repairs and agree a timescale.
In most cases, the developer will be happy to deal with your snagging list results. It’s the responsibility of the housing company to remedy any faults that have been found. However, where conflict might occur is in the interpretation of a fault.
What you and your surveyor may see as a fault, the housing developer may see as a natural part of the building process, meaning they’ll refuse to remedy it. In these cases, it’s key to negotiate with the developer to ensure you are both happy with the overall condition of the home. Once these fixes have been made, you may want to get another survey undertaken in order to make sure that each issue has been remedied professionally and at an acceptable level. For more information, check out our guide on how to deal with bad survey results.
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We hope that you're now fully informed on every aspect of a Snagging List for your new build home. Remember, Compare My Move can save you both time and money on a range of survey types when the time comes to book a surveyor. Just fill in a quick and easy form, compare surveyors in your area, and save at a time when it matters most.