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.
Looking for a home in mint condition? You might think buying a new build is the answer. But new does not necessarily mean flawless.
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. 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 professional snagging company to do it for you. But before you start, we look at the things 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.
When’s the best time to make a snagging list?
When the property is completely finished and ready to move in, and before exchanging contracts with your housebuilder, would be the ideal to make a snagging list.
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 becomes harder to get problems fixed 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. Plus of course, and we don’t think it is too cynical to say that developers have less incentive to fix things once the property has been paid for and you’ve moved in.
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.
How do I find a professional snagging survey?
Given the number of complaints and calls for help we get from visitors to our website, we have teamed up with one of the best known snagging inspectors in the UK, New Build Inspections. Unlike many other snagging companies, they never work for developers or builders so can retain their independence.
Their inspectors are highly qualified and experienced and have inspected thousands of new homes nationwide. They bring together the knowledge and experience of chartered surveyors, senior site managers, building surveyors, architects and developers to produce their new homes snagging methodology.
Will I have to pay for it?
Usually the homebuyer has to pay for a professional snagging inspection but you could try to pass on the cost on to your house builder by adding it to your purchase contract.
How does it work?
Speak to our partners at New Build Inspections. You can start the ball rolling by simply filling in a short form on our site and then they will get in touch by email with options for you to consider. The inspector will then make a date for the on-site inspection.
They will write their findings in an inspection report and send to you and the housebuilder with your permission within two days.
Alternatively, you could ask your conveyancer to contact the housebuilder’s own conveyancer and ask for a timetable of when the snags 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 to re-check the corrective work to ensure it is completed to a satisfactory level, make sure more damage hasn’t been caused and offer further ongoing support.
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.