When purchasing a home, there are various ways to inspect the building for existing problems or issues that may cause problems further down the line. There are many types of survey and valuation involved in the conveyancing process, with one such inspection known as a snagging survey
What is a snagging survey?
When a snagging survey is carried out, a building will be inspected for any faults that need to be rectified by the builders or construction companies working on the property. This list of faults is known as a snagging list, with the faults themselves being referred to as ‘snags’. Snags are generally small cosmetic issues, such as uneven paintwork and loose skirting boards, but sometimes larger problems can be uncovered by the list. A snagging list gives a new homeowner an opportunity to make sure the home is up to their standards before they move in.
What kind of property needs it?
A snagging list is generally reserved for a new build home, and if you are buying a new build home you will absolutely need one. This is because the builders are still working on the property and are therefore obliged to fix any issues it has. Also, as the building is new, there should be very few flaws, as it has not been subject to the same wear and tear or the passage of time that an existing property has. A snagging list is important for making sure this new home is as flawless as it can be.
A snagging report will generally not be suitable for any other kind of property, a Homebuyers Report will usually be the best option for existing properties, as it is designed to be more thorough. If there is construction or renovation being done on the property you are buying, you could consider creating a snagging list for these fresh areas, as they are new and being worked on, much like a new build.
When should you get it?
The best time to get a snagging list done is between the completion of the property and the exchange of your contracts. This way you are seeing the property as it should look when you move in, but with the opportunity to fix mistakes or snags. Getting the list done before you exchange means that, if you are not happy with the building, you have not already paid for it and builders still have time to return to the property to fix snags before you complete and move in.
However, you should be aware that while you will most likely be allowed to view the property before completion, it is not a legal requirement for builders to let you do so. This means that there is a possibility that you will not be able to inspect and create a snagging list before you complete, if the builders do not allow you to. You can still create a snagging list after you move in, and it is definitely worth trying to do so, but be aware that it may be harder to get snags fixed as the builder could argue that you caused the damage yourself on moving in.
Who should carry it out?
The best course of action when planning a snagging survey is to hire a Chartered Surveyor to conduct the inspection. A surveyor will have the best knowledge on building regulations and construction, and will have experience in viewing properties and finding mistakes. There are certain surveyors that specialize in new build homes, so look out for one of them. Of course, you will have to pay for these services, with a snagging survey generally costing between £300-£600 depending on the size of the property. As usual, we recommend comparing surveyor prices before choosing one to carry out your survey.
You can, alternatively, carry out the survey for yourself, if you don’t want to pay for a surveyor. However, you will need to organize a time with the property developer to visit the site and carry out the survey. You must also make sure you know exactly what you are looking for and do some research on building and construction beforehand. You could also send someone you know to carry out the snagging list on your behalf.
Regardless of who you send to survey your property, you should study our list of what to include in a snagging list
What happens next?
After a survey is done, the snagging list should be passed on to the property developer who can then review the findings and fix the snags found. If you use a surveyor, they will pass the list straight to the developer as well as giving you a copy to review yourself. This saves a fait bit of time in the process and is another reason why hiring a surveyor is your best option. A surveyor can also talk you through the problems they found if you are confused. If you did the survey yourself, or had someone else do it for you, you will have to arrange getting the list to the developer.
A common worry is that the homebuilders and developers will refuse to fix the snags that were found. While they are responsible for any faults in the house and for fixing them (according to their warranty and insurance), the sticking point can sometimes come with what is considered a fault. You may have included something on your list that the developers do not agree is a fault with the house and can subjectively not be expected to fix it. You may have to negotiate with them what faults you can live with and what faults you absolutely need them to fix. Remember that no house is perfect and majorly falling out with your property developer may cause more problems than it’s worth.