Do I need a snagging list for my new build home?
If you spot any defects in your new build home, it's up to you to report them to your housebuilder. Find out what a snagging list is and how it can help.
“It is your housebuilder’s responsibility to check and fix any cosmetic defects before you complete on the sale but it is unlikely they are going to pick up on everything.”
Looking for a home in mint condition? You might think buying a new build is the answer. But new does not necessarily mean flawless.
Newly-built properties are known for minor defects or “snags” caused by poor workmanship or equipment.
If you spot any defects in your home, it is up to you to itemise and report them to your housebuilder. It’s also a good thing to do if you are hiring tradesmen to renovate your property.
You can put together your own list or hire a company to do it for you. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a snag?
A snag is a small defect or problem that remains in your property after the building work has been completed. It is typically something that is damaged or broken; not fitted properly or looks unfinished – think a scratch on a window or a missing hinge on a door.
Most are cosmetic – however more serious defects can arise such as major cracks and kitchen fixtures that are not fitted properly.
What is a snagging list?
The purpose of a snagging list is to identify defects in your home for your housebuilder to fix.
Doesn’t my property get checked for defects?
Your new home should have passed building regulations inspections and come with a structural warranty from an approved insurance policy provider.
It is your housebuilder’s responsibility to check and fix any cosmetic defects before you complete on the sale but it is unlikely they are going to pick up on everything.
What should I be looking for?
Look for surface defects which usually occur on woodwork, paintwork, glazing and tiling. Run your fingers over the surfaces to check for chips and scratches and look for splashes of paint and cracks on the walls and ceilings. Use a spirit level to check whether surfaces are level.
Check whether things are fitted/screwed in properly and are in good working order. For example, turn the taps on to see if they leak and if the hot water is running from the correct faucet.
Bring sticky notes with you so you can place them next to the defects without marking the surfaces.
Using a home checklist will help. The new home warranty and insurance provider NHBC has a free one here.
When’s the best time to make a snagging list?
When the property is completely finished and ready to move into. This is usually when you will be exchanging contracts with your housebuilder.
This might not be possible as housebuilders can refuse to give you access to the property before completion, which they are legally allowed to do because they still own the land.
If you leave it until you have moved in, it become harder as your housebuilder could argue that you have caused the damage when you moved in. It is also easier for contractors to work in an empty property for obvious reasons.
However, you do have two years from your completion date to report any defects (including cosmetic ones) to your housebuilder which they are legally obliged to fix as part of your property’s warranty, which typically lasts for ten years.
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Which companies offer snagging services?
Snagging reports are typically prepared by chartered surveyors or an inspector from a snagging services company. Some estate agents offer the service too.
There is no trade association for snagging inspectors and you don’t need any specific qualifications or training for the role.
However, some professional “snaggers” will be a member of a property and construction body such as RICS and may also have professional and/or trade qualifications.
How do I choose a company?
You should choose a company by looking at customer reviews and prices, as well quizzing them about their experience and knowledge in the building trade.
Request to see previous or sample inspection reports and find out what is included in the price. Will you just get an inspection and a report or will they also advise you on what to do next and help fight your corner with the housebuilder?
Also ask if you can meet the “snagger” before they start the inspection so you can talk over any concerns. Finally, try to gage their approach to the process and see if it matches your own.
Will I have to pay for it?
Usually the homebuyer has to pay for it but you could try to pass on the cost on to your housebuilder by adding it to your purchase contract.
If you do have to pay, get quotes for three different companies to make sure you are getting a fair price. Prices typically start from £250 for a one-bedroom property.
How does it work?
The person carrying out the inspection will want to walk around your property on their own or with the housebuilder. You can look at the notes at the end and suggest anything you think needs adding.
The inspection report is sent to you and the housebuilder with your permission. You can contact the housebuilder or ask the snagging services company to do it for you.
Alternatively, you could ask your conveyancer to contact the housebuilder’s own conveyancer and ask for a timetable of when the work will be dealt with.
What are the main advantages of a snagging service?
A professional inspector is likely to spot more defects than a homeowner. As part of the service, they can liaise with your housebuilder on your behalf and push for the defects to be fixed. It also means you don’t have to get personally involved.
For an additional fee, you can ask them recheck the work to make sure more damage hasn’t been caused and offer support up until your new home warranty has expired.
Can the housebuilder refuse to fix the defects?
Housebuilders are responsible for putting right any defect caused by their failure to build in accordance to the standards as set out by their warranty and insurance provider.
However, the guidelines can be subjective, which is where it can become tricky. You might consider something to be a fault but the housebuilder may argue it is not.
Most of the time, it is about negotiating. You may not get everything you want, so you will have to decide what you are happy with.
No traditionally-built new home is going to be completely flawless because it is built by people, not machines. There may be some things you have to fix yourself.
Try to keep things amicable with your housebuilder as it will make the process easier. If there is a breakdown in communication between you and your housebuilder, your warranty provider can offer a resolution service free of charge.