What is Snagging?

You might think buying a new build means that your new home will be in mint condition. But new does not necessarily means flawless. 51% of all new build homes have at least one major fault. The best way to avoid falling victim is to order a snagging survey.

Snagging is the process of identifying issues with your new build property. A snagging survey can identify any issues from unleveled ceilings and floors to leaks, damaged units, or missing insulation.

A snag is a defect or problem that remains on your property after the building work has been completed. Most are cosmetic, however half of the times, a major defect can arise after the independent survey.

The purpose of a snagging list is to identify defects in your home for the builder to fix it. Is usually used as a reference and can come even in a PDF format or an EXCEL format. 

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The short answer is Yes. Anyone buying a brand new house or flat should consider a snagging inspection. A snagging report costs only a couple hundred pounds and compared to what you are spending on a new property these days would be careless not to.

Also, if you have already moved in and your developer or builder is refusing to acknowledge any issues from handover then a professional snagging report can help you by giving some weight to your case. An independent, professional opinion by a chartered surveyor will definitely help your legal case if is getting that far.

Probably you have seen some shocking cases about a new build was found to have more than 350 defects. (source: BBC). Also, read why we think you need a survey on a new build.

Your new property 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 the sale, however, they can miss things. 

Just Google “new build nightmare” and you will see numerous stories about new homeowners having found hundreds of defects once they have moved in. 

As with buying a brand new house, ideally, you should have a snagging survey done before your completion. This way, you had not handed over the money, therefore you have much more leverage in getting defects corrected.

Sometimes, this is not possible, as the developer can refuse access to the property before completion. As they are the rightful owner of the land they are not legally bound to allow you to go to the site before the exchange of ownership.

No worries, if you moved in and you had not got your snagging survey done you can still have time to do it before the builder’s warranty expires – in most cases is two years after you have moved in.

Lately, developers ask you to prepare a snagging list detailing anything you are not happy with and send it to them within a week or two of moving in. 

No. A snagging survey is not the same thing as an HBR. A HomeBuyer Report is usually used for an existing building and covers more than a snagging report. Also, different levels of the survey are suitable for different scenarios dependent on property age, complexity, owner requirements, etc. 

For example, the HomeBuyer Report is most suitable for properties that are not older than 80, but at least 5 to 10 years old. Also, usually are more expensive than Snagging Surveys as in most cases, an older building has the potential to have more major issues than a brand new property. Check our “What Survey I need?” article for further guidance.

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Is not mandatory to use a professional, however, are a lot of advantages to hiring a chartered surveyor. A professional will save you a lot of time and hassle and will offer a much more comprehensive snagging report.

Of course, you always have the option to carry out your own snagging inspection using a DIY snagging list. But, you can not replace experience and a professionally trained eye.

Usually, the homebuyer has to pay for any surveying service as is not the seller’s obligation to provide a survey report. Sometimes, the cost can be passed to your builder by adding it to your purchase contract.

If you do have to pay, keep in mind that a 3 bedroom snagging survey will start from £350.

Any housebuilder is responsible for putting right any defects caused by their failure to build in accordance with the standards set out by their warranty and insurance provider. However, the guidelines can be subjective and there is when things can become complicated and tricky.

As with any process, negotiation is key. Is possible that they will argue that some defects are not their fault and then you need to decide what you are happy with.

Keep in mind that houses are built by people, which means will not be completely flawless, and try to maintain things amicable to make the process easier. Sometimes, the communication can break down, and than is when the warranty provider can offer a resolution service. 

Written by Danil P.
11th May 2022 (Last updated on 07th Jan 2023)
7 minute read
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