Everything You Need to Know about Snagging Surveys

Why are snagging surveys so important before moving into a new-build home? How much does a snagging survey cost? Can you do it yourself? Discover the ins-and-outs of snagging surveys below. 

Buying a new-build home is exciting. With a modern kitchen, living room and the latest appliances, people are easily swept away by the newness of it all. But don’t let the modernity of your new home blind you. Even the newest of homes come with issues, which nobody wants to open to their eyes to only after they have moved in.

What is a snagging survey?

When acquiring a new-build, you are entitled for any issues with the property to be repaired free of charge by its developers. This is good news and can save you a great deal of money. But to take advantage of this, you first need to identify the property’s existing problems. This is why one of the most important things to do when moving into a newly built home is to contract a surveyor to inspect everything from doors not closing properly and bad finishes to severe structural issues – this is known as a snagging survey.

Snag: A) A tree or branch embedded in a lake or stream bed and constituting a hazard to navigation. B) A rough sharp or jagged projecting part. (Oxford Dictionary)

In line with the dictionary definition of ‘snag’, a snagging survey sheds light on the ‘rough’ edges or hazardous issues that could become problematic in your future home. Because the majority of issues with new-builds are cosmetic and/or easily fixed, a traditional survey can be a little excessive, and this is where snagging surveys come in.

When should I conduct a snagging survey?

Ideally, a snagging survey should be conducted before completion. This way, if any existing issues with the property are identified, they can quickly be rectified by the developers before your legal agreement to buy the property is cemented, and before you move in.

Sometimes developers don’t allow snagging surveys until after completion. This is OK, as long as you book it soon after you move into the property. You can contract a snagging survey any time within two years of completion, and the developer will be obligated to repair any outstanding problems.

What happens during a snagging survey?

During a snagging survey, the surveyor will inspect your property, examining the doors, walls, windows and fittings. Next, the surveyor writes up a report, handing it directly to the developer to speed up the process. The developer then must repair any problematic findings within an agreed time period.

After the snagging survey…

Some problems only crop up after living in a property for some time. We recommend that you continually update a list of any issues that you come across, which you can submit to the developer within two years of your move-in date for free-of-charge repairs. Remember to be cautious and include the small things too.

How much do snagging surveys cost?

A snagging survey typically can cost between £300 and £600, depending on the size of your new property and your surveyor. Some surveyors’ expertise lie in new-build homes, which is something to look out for when comparing quotes.

Can I conduct a snagging survey myself?

It is important to hire a professional surveyor to conduct your snagging survey. This can save you from a costly situation in which underlying issues surface after your property’s warranty period.

Without specialist knowledge, you will need to take on a great deal of research to make sure you don’t miss any issues with the property. This can prolong the process and add to the stress of moving home. In addition, big issues like subsidence or other structural issues may be difficult to diagnose early on and aren’t immediately obvious to the untrained eye. These are the problems you will want to catch early on to avoid large expenses later down the line.

For this reason, if you are looking to save money and conduct the survey yourself, we advise you to reconsider. However, if you do choose to avoid the professional snagging survey, make sure you thoroughly research the subject and compile a checklist of points to examine in greater detail.

When carrying out the survey, take your time and err on the side of caution. If something looks like it might be a snag or problem, include it on your snagging list, even if you aren’t 100% sure. Snags can be reported at a later date, but it’s best to be as thorough as possible from the start. Make sure you only conduct your survey after the building work is complete.

What happens something is missed in the snagging survey?new build snagging survey

After two years of living in your newly built home, you realise there is a major structural issue. Don’t fret. You can make a claim under the the 10-year NHBC warranty. This covers building defects on new-build homes. The organisation also provides a resolution service that you can use if you have a dispute with your developer over problems with your property.

I have moved in and haven’t had a snagging survey…

If you are within two years of your moving in date, you can still conduct a snagging survey and the developer will be obligated to repair any defects free of charge.

To find out more about snagging surveys, or any aspect of surveying for new-build properties, contact us.

If you’re considering buying a new-build property and want advice on bridging loan options check out our blogs for more advice.

What if my house-builder refuses to fix the defects? 

Developers are responsible for repairing any defects resulting from their failure to build in line with the standards set out by their warranty and insurance provider.

However, in some areas, the guidelines can be subjective, and when you may consider something to be a fault, the housebuilder may argue it is not. Most of the time, it is about negotiating and compromising. Decide what you are not happy with and which issues you are able to fix yourself.

Keeping things amicable with the house-builder will ease the the process. But if there is a breakdown in communication between you and your developer, your warranty provider can offer a resolution service free of charge.

For more information on buying new-builds under short notice, read about our bridging loans here.