Home Survey Versus Snagging List: Which Is Best for a New Build?

By John Brook AssocRICS on and updated on

When buying any home, you want to be sure no nasty surprises are waiting for you a few years down the line, so a detailed survey must always be a good idea, right? Well, not necessarily; when buying a new build, a complete structural survey is simply unnecessary, but what about a HomeLevel Report? And how does that differ from a snagging list?

What is a snag?

A snag is simply a defect that needs to be repaired. It is usually a minor or aesthetic issue, such as a cracked tile or marked paintwork, but it can also be related to lousy workmanship, such as a leaking pipe or loose fixtures.

Anything that makes the property feel unfinished can be deemed a snag, although there may be some grey areas in what the developer will accept as needing fixing. For this reason, it’s always good to be armed with evidence and professional input, such as a snagging list.

What is a snagging list?

A snagging list is specifically designed for new build properties. It will identify any issues or snags that need to be addressed by the developer before you move in, saving you from having to battle to get things corrected once you’ve completed. It is not a survey, but a list of defects, often aesthetic but sometimes structural, which can be provided to the builder to rectify before or sometimes after completion.

A snagging list will inspect everything from making sure smoke alarms and heating systems operate to highlighting decorating defects and poorly fitting joinery while also making sure building regulations have been complied with throughout. It doesn’t have to be carried out by a RICS qualified surveyor and can be undertaken by professionals who have had experience in construction.

What is a HomeLevel Report?

A Level 2 property survey carried out by certified RICS chartered surveyors, the HomeLevel Report is suitable for houses built after 1970 and most flats built after 1950, which are in a reasonable condition and worth less than £1,000,000. Here the surveyor will visually inspect the property inside and out, checking the condition of all rooms and the walls, roof, visible parts of the heating and drainage systems and other services, and any outbuildings or boundaries. HomeLevel Reports will not only identify issues such as subsidence, damp or other potentially serious concerns but also advise on their causes, repairs and possible maintenance. They may not highlight smaller snags, such as decorative issues, however.

Which is best for me?

The right survey for you will depend on the type of property you’re buying, its age and condition, if it’s been converted or extended and if you are planning on carrying out significant alterations to the property. For a new build, a snagging list will most likely be the best option, however this can be carried out alongside a home survey in order to comprehensively check that there are no unforeseen issues and the property is as you expect it to be.

A snagging list saves you moving into a property and finding small issues that you need to raise with a developer as you discover them. By getting it done before you move in, it’s also a lot easier to prove that they didn’t happen as a result of you living there and if you’re yet to complete, the developer is likely to be more willing to rectify them.

Indeed, it may also be the case that the developer is less than keen to fix all your snags once you have completed, so having a survey carried out by an impartial professional gives you much more weight when it comes to encouraging them to correct the work.

To find out more about what a snagging survey involves and the benefits it offers, read our blog.

The Novello Approach

If you’re unsure which survey to choose or when to carry them out, we’re always on hand to share our advice and expertise. Our Snagging lists are carried out by specialist new build snagging inspectors who will deliver a comprehensive report, including photos, that will make sure you have all the information you need to raise any issues with your developer. We’ll look for decorative defects, kitchen and bathroom issues, poorly fitted joinery, uneven floors and much more. We even employ technology such as socket testers, thermal imaging cameras to check underfloor heating and anemometers to check extraction fans work, to make sure everything is in order and your property is safe, all for just a few hundred pounds.

For a HomeLevel Report, our RICS certified surveyors will examine the condition and safety of your property and ensure you’re paying a fair price. These reports will exam at least 20 crucial interior and exterior aspects of the property while also providing a dampness assessment and advice on energy efficiency and asbestos, all in an easy-to-understand format. And we’ll deliver it to you within just a few days.

Whatever service you choose, Novello surveyors are here to guide you through the house buying process, and you can guarantee we’ll be friendly, responsive and always on hand for follow up advice, so get in touch today.

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