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What is Snagging?


Written by Reviewed by Martyn Maxwell

18th Apr 2023 (Last updated on 16th Feb 2024) 5 minute read

Snagging is the process of identifying issues in a new build home once building work is complete. It is essentially the new build equivalent of a property survey.

These snagging lists are used for new build homes to check for “snags”. A snag is essentially a defect or issue in the construction of the property. They can range from small cosmetic defects to major problems.

Housebuilders have a responsibility to check the home and fix snags before the sale is completed. That said, poor workmanship can be overlooked or left unfinished.

A snagging survey is not legally required, but it is highly recommended. It can highlight serious issues such as breaches in building regulations.

Below we look at what is considered a snag, when and why you need a snagging list and what it means for your new home.

  1. What is a Snag?
  2. When Do I Need a Snagging Survey?
  3. Who Offers Snagging Lists?
  4. Why Should I Use a Professional?
  5. Who Pays for It?
  6. Snagging List vs Property Survey
  7. Find a Snagging Surveyor

What is a Snag?

A snag is a minor defect or fault found in the construction of a new build home. This could be something that is damaged, broken, unfinished or fitted incorrectly. These are often cosmetics but serious defects can be a bigger issue.

Snagging surveyors assess the home to ensure it meets requirements and building regulations. Anything that fails these standards is reported as a snag and highlighted to the buyer.

Examples of a “snag” include:

    • Poor brickwork and/or pointing
    • Faulty window sealant
    • Poor installation of kitchen and bathroom fittings
    • Issues with plumbing
    • Exposed electrical wiring
    • Heating faults
    • Poor or missing insulation

For more information see: Common Problems with New Build Homes

When Do I Need a Snagging Survey?

A snagging survey, or "snagging list" is recommended when buying a new build home. The best time to have this done is after the building work is finished but before you move in. This gives the property developers the opportunity to rectify any issues.

Provided you report any found issues in a timely manner, they can be fixed before you start living in the home.

Ideally, the inspection will take place after exchange of contracts. But, many developers won’t allow a snagging expert on the site until the sale is legally completed.

If you wait until you’ve moved in, it can become harder to have the remedial work completed. The builder could claim that any damage was caused by you and not during construction.

That said, you have two years from your completion date to report defects to the developer. They are legally obliged to fix these as part of your new home warranty.

For more information see our article: How Snagging Lists Can Help New Property Owners

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Who Offers Snagging Lists?

Snagging Lists (also called a 'punch list') are offered by surveying firms. Many of these have years of experience in assessing new build homes. Snagging Lists are also offered by snagging services companies.

Although you could check the property yourself, hiring a professional is strongly recommended.

A professional snagging expert will be able to identify issues which could be missed by someone without experience.

If you have knowledge of properties and surveying, you could save yourself money. As with a professional, to check the home yourself you will need permission to enter the site. This is because the property developer will still legally own the land.

Why Should I Use a Professional?

A professional snagging surveyor will have knowledge and experience in new build properties. They will know what to look for, how to identify issues and know when a home has not been built in line with regulations.

Using a professional snagger will also add credibility to a claim if any issues are found.

When choosing a snagging professional, ensure they are RPSA or RICS registered. This means they will adhere to a strict code of conduct and maintain high standards. Compare My Move only works with surveyors who are RICS or RPSA approved.

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Who Pays for It?

The homebuyer is responsible for the cost of the Snagging Survey. On average this is around £300-£600. Buyers can try to pass the snagging report cost to the house builder. This can be done by adding the cost to the purchase contract.

Snagging List vs Property Survey

A snagging list is only suitable for newly built homes. Property Surveys, on the other hand, can be used for a variety of different types of homes.

A snagging survey is a checklist of all defects and issues found in a newly built property. This can range from poor paintwork to cracks in the external render.

If the home is not newly built but is still considered a “new build” home, you may want to consider a Level 1 Condition Report. The most popular property survey type is a Level 2 Homebuyers Survey which covers a wide range of homes. For properties over 50 years old or in poor condition, a Level 3 Building Survey is recommended.

One of the main differences between a snagging list and a property survey is the level of detail. Level 2 and Level 3 property surveys contain a level of detail which won’t be present in a snagging report. A Level 3 survey report is especially detailed and is the most thorough survey available.

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Find a Snagging Surveyor

There are a few ways you can find a professional for a snagging survey on your new build home. These include:

  • Asking family, friends or colleagues for recommendations
  • Searching the RICS website
  • Using the RPSA website
  • Reading reviews for local surveying firms and specialists
  • Using a reputable comparison website

One of the best ways to get a snagging survey is by comparing surveyors via Compare My Move’s online form. We can connect you with up to 6 of the best local snagging surveyors who can assist with inspecting your new build property.

Need a Removal Company?

Once your property transaction is complete, you may need to arrange a removal company. You can compare companies through our integrated surveying and removal comparison form by filling out a few extra steps. We will then connect you with up to 6 surveyors and up to 6 removal companies, saving you up to 70% on your costs.

Martyn Maxwell

Reviewed by Martyn Maxwell

Director & Senior Snagging Inspector, New Build Inspections

Martyn Maxwell (DipHE, BSc (Hons), MRPSA) is a Senior Snagging Inspector and Director of New Build Inspections.

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