If you are buying a new home, you might think that a newly built property would be perfect, and you can save money by not having a survey on it before you move in. However, it is sensible to instruct a surveyor to carry out a survey on your property so you can ask the developer to rectify any faults before you move in. These types of surveys for new properties are called Snagging Surveys. In reality, a high percentage of new builds will have problems that need to be fixed. Usually these are minor snags such as a door not fitting properly, damage to a work top, or a loose cupboard or doorknob. Plastering, tiling and brickwork are also common areas where faults are found. Very occasionally there may be structural problems with the property, but this is rare.
When is the best time to get a snagging survey done?
The best chance you have of the developer fixing snags quickly is when they are still on site. So, when developers have finished building and before your completion date / you move in, is best. Not all developers would be happy for snagging surveys to be carried out before completion, but you have made a legal commitment to purchase the property and your solicitor or conveyancer may be able to persuade them to allow you access. Snagging surveys should be done as soon as possible after you move in if it has not been possible to do one beforehand. In fact, you have up to 2 years to get one done but developers will be more difficult pin down later.
What should a snagging survey include?
A thorough snagging survey should include a detailed visual inspection of both the inside and outside or the property plus any outside space such as garages, driveways and paths.
The report should highlight any areas where building regulations have not been met, any breaches of statutory guidance, issues that could affect any warranties and any defects or poor workmanship that are below industry standard. In addition, the report should also include guidance for remedying these defects plus a list of all work yet to be completed. It is helpful if the report includes photos to highlight the problem areas.
There is no specific industry regulation for snagging surveys, you could carry out your own if you wanted to. However, most tend to be carried out by chartered surveyors or snagging inspectors because these carry more weight with developers.