A snagging list, also known as a snagging survey
, is an inspection done on a home to discover any defects or problems that the buyer will want rectified before completion. These issues will be noted down as ‘snags’ and given to the builders/ developer with a request to rectify them.
At this stage, most of the issues will probably be minor or cosmetic, but it’s important that as a buyer, you are satisfied with the home you have purchased before you move in. There is also a chance that you may discover some major problems when compiling a snagging list.
Find out more about when a snagging list is needed
The best practice is to hire a Chartered Surveyor
to perform the snagging survey for you as they will have the best knowledge of how to inspect the property and what to look for. However, you can view the property and compile a list of snags yourself, or send someone to do so on your behalf. If you do it yourself, you should also remember to take pictures of any issues you find to support your list.
Regardless of who performs the inspection, these are the things that you should make sure they are looking out for when making the snagging list.
The tiling of the roof should be inspected for any tiles that have come loose due to not being fixed down properly, or any that have been broken. Even a crack in a tile may cause problems later so it’s worthwhile pointing it out. Roof tiles are one of the most common issues found on a snagging list so they should be a priority.
Make sure that all the outside walls and fences are built sturdily. Remember that a wall/fence exists to keep your home secure and outline its boundaries, so make sure there are no holes or easily scalable/ destructible areas.
In the same vein as with walls and fences, you need to make sure that any gates are sturdy and safe. Check the locks and how well they are secured in place. You don’t want anyone to be able to force their way through.
It is important that any outdoor piping on your property can function properly. This means making sure that water can flow through and drain properly and the pipes will not break or buckle under heavy rainfall.
You must enjoy the aesthetics of your house, especially after spending so much money on it. Be sure to check that any paint on the outside is evenly applied and pleasing to the eye. Patchy paintwork is another common problem found on new build homes! Check the brickwork is satisfactory and they have applied acid wash correctly. If acid wash hasn’t been applied correctly, you may see white powdery marks across the brickwork.
If your property has a driveway, you’ll want to make sure it’s suitable for your vehicle. Is the ground even and is there enough space to fit in? Make sure the ground will not cause damage to your car’s wheels. You’ll probably also want to see how easy it is to access the house from the driveway and how easy it is to access the driveway from the street. These are all things it’s important to be aware of before you move in, even if they are not easily fixable before your completion date.
If your property has a garage, you’ll once again want to be looking at ease of access and whether its size is suitable for your needs. You should also be checking the doors and any windows to see if they are sturdy, if they open and close easily and if they have satisfactory locks. You might want to also check the cosmetics of the garage, make sure the paint or brickwork are in good condition.
Unless of course your new home is open plan, it will have plenty of doors, so you should make sure that you test each one for possible problems. Open and close them to make sure they are fitted properly and there are no issues with the hinges. You should also make sure that there is not too big a gap between the door and its frame which would lead to drafts. Finally make sure the handles are easy to use, not too stiff or too loose and check that any locks are functioning correctly. You should pay close attention to any wooden doors that lead outside; if they are not properly fitted, they could be more susceptible to damp.
It’s important that you make sure all the windows in your new home have been fitted correctly, with no gaps between the window and the window frame that could lead to damp. If not, you will end up with drafts making your home cold, especially in the winter. If a window opens, you should also open and close it to test its hinges and check its lock. Also consider that if there are scratches on any of the glass, you can request this to be replaced. You are buying a new home that is meant to be in perfect condition. If damage has occurred during the building process, it should absolutely be fixed.
Assuming your new home has a staircase, you are going to be walking up and down it a lot, so you need to make sure it is built correctly. Test out the stairs, make sure they feel even and that they are strong enough to take your weight. If you hear any creaks as you walk up or down, you’ll want to make a note of them too.
Some of the most common issues on snagging lists can be found in kitchens. You should be making sure all the fittings are installed correctly and the worktops have the correct finish. Check all the cupboards the way you would a door, opening and closing, checking the hinges and whether they fit nicely. It is vital that you test out all the built-in appliances, like the oven, extractor fan, hobs and sink, to make sure they all work correctly.
Make sure that all the grouting is complete and that any tiles and skirting boards are fitted correctly. Remember that bathrooms can easily develop mould so you need to minimise spaces where it can grow. You should also test all the taps and shower to make sure they work and that the temperature is suitable and adjustable.
Just like the exterior of your home, you should feel that the inside looks pleasing to you. Make sure that every wall and ceiling has been completely painted and has a smooth even finish. Look out for any cracks in the wall or any areas where paint may have ended up somewhere it shouldn’t be. Check the carpets and floorboards are all laid properly and there are no gaps between the flooring and the wall (these not only look unsightly, but can lead to damp). You should also have a keen eye on skirting boards, as these can sometimes be loose or poorly fitted.
Insulation and heating
Even if it’s summer when you inspect the property, you will need to test out the heating. Try out any radiators you find in the rooms to make sure they work and that they heat up to a satisfactory temperature. Check that the boiler is accessible, and easy to use. You should make sure you check the insulation of the house, especially in any loft spaces. Many new build homes have insufficient loft insulation when they are first built so you’ll want to keep an eye out for that. While you are there you can also check for gaps in the roof that may allow cold air in.
Making sure the plumbing is working is a big priority, you don’t want to end up with blockages and smells ruining your experience in your new house. Make sure you run every tap in the house, including outside taps if you have them and see how well the water flows and drains. You should flush all the toilets to see how well they work, perhaps put some loo roll in to make sure it goes down. If water tanks are accessible you can try inspecting them, though this will need a more professional pair of eyes.
Every home is going to have electrical outlets, we always have things to plug in. Make sure that you test all the plug sockets you can find in the building, take something with you to plug in and see if it works. You should also make sure they are all fitted correctly to the wall and are not damaged as this could be very dangerous. It’s also worth noting how accessible they are. As well as plug sockets you should be testing all the light switches in a similar fashion, perhaps take a lightbulb in case there aren’t any installed already. Many new builds will also have USB plug points, so make sure to check any your property may have.
It is unlikely that you will find snags that aren’t minor or cosmetic issues when you inspect your home, but it is important to check everything to be on the safe side. Though rare, it does happen that builders or construction companies will forget something or not install something properly, and if that happens with your home, it’s better to know before you complete and you are living there, having to deal with the problem. Being thorough with your snagging survey is the best way to feel confident come completion day!
Do remember, if issues persist after completion, your NHBC Buildmark Cover
may help with the cost of getting the builders back to fix it.