Is Getting a Snagging Survey Worth It?

By John Brook AssocRICS on and updated on

Hundreds of thousands of new homes are built every year in the UK, and that number only seems to be growing. While it can be a dream to move into a brand new, never before lived in property, people who buy new-builds often encounter problems. This could be delays in construction that have a knock-on effect on your move-in date or the fact that if you’re one of the first to move in, you’ll likely have to endure building work for months while other properties are finished.

Top of the list of issues, though, is unexpected defects with the property and teething issues with the infrastructure and utilities. Combine this with after-sales care that can leave something to be desired, and the dream of a new home can soon turn into a much more stressful experience than expected. This is where the snagging survey comes in.

The latest New Home Customer Satisfaction survey from the Home Builders Federation found that 94% of people buying a new build in the year to September 2020 had to report snags or defects to their builder, and 25% had to report more than 16 issues. Additional research has found that the average new build contains between 50 and 150 defects and over half have hidden defects.

With such potentially worrying statistics, it’s important to ensure your property is thoroughly checked before you complete the purchase, so you don’t get hit by costly repairs soon after you move in.

Paying for a survey or HomeBuyer report can feel like an unnecessary expense, however. So how do you ensure your home is safe and finished to the expected standard without forking out for a full survey?

What is a snagging survey?

A snagging survey is specifically designed to spot any issues with your new build home – whether cosmetic or more serious, internal or external. At a basic level, it will involve a snagging surveyor visually inspecting your home to highlight issues that may fall short of warranty standards, breach regulations, or that simply haven’t been completed or finished to the expected standard.

Ideally, you should arrange for the snagging survey to take place before your completion date. This will allow the developer to fix any issues before you move in, which means they won’t claim you caused any of the problems. It can also give you the opportunity to negotiate further with the developer to have them rectify the issues.

Typical issues found by a snagging survey

But do you really need a snagging survey, and couldn’t you just inspect the property yourself to find anything you’re not happy with? In short, no, not if you want it done properly! A snagging survey looks at more than just the cosmetics of a property, and it should be carried out by a specialist inspector who is fully up to speed on building regulations and will make sure your home is safe as well as looking immaculate.

Common issues identified by snagging surveys include poor finishes such as messy paintwork and plaster, scratched or chipped interior or exterior surfaces, ill-fitting doors and windows, and poorly installed or even missing fixtures. However, they also pick up things not necessarily visible to most people, such as damaged roof tiles, missing pointing and inadequate ventilation. These are all things that could not only take the shine off moving into your new home but could cause serious issues – and require costly repairs – in the near future.

For example, replastering and painting a room can cost close to £1,000, while tasks such as repairing and replacing a window or door or reinsulating lofts will be well into the hundreds, not to mention the hassle factor of having to live through the work if it’s not spotted before you move in.

Who carries out a snagging survey?

A snagging survey should be conducted by an experienced and independent inspector, so always look for someone who doesn’t work for developers or builders as their loyalties may be compromised. While the inspector doesn’t have to be RICS certified, do look for a company that has experienced new-build snagging specialists as they will be experts in spotting issues and whether the property complies with current rules and regulations, and they’ll be able to record any issues accurately.

What happens during a snagging inspection?

A snagging inspection is a pretty comprehensive affair, so you can expect it to take a good few hours, depending on the size of the property and the number of issues found. Novello’s snagging specialists, for example, will not only inspect every bit of your home to find even the smallest issues, but we’ll also bring along a number of tools, such as socket testers, to check all the plug sockets are in full working order, thermal imaging cameras to check underfloor heating and anemometers to make sure extractor fans are fully operational.

What happens next?

Once the inspector has completed their visit, you can expect to receive a comprehensive report highlighting all the issues, large and small, that you’ll need the developer to address before you move in. Look for a company that also provides photographic evidence of the issues. These can be invaluable in your negotiations and provide clear evidence of the issue. Don’t forget to check that they’ll also inspect external spaces such as driveways and brickwork.

Who pays for snagging?

The cost of the snagging survey – which will typically be in the region of £300-£500 – will be covered by the buyer, although you may be able to include it in your purchase contract with the developer. The developer should cover the cost of rectifying any issues, or you may want to negotiate on the purchase price if you choose to fix the problems yourself.

The Novello approach

Snagging Lists from Novello will be carried out by a highly experienced specialist snagging inspector. Our comprehensive Snagging List will give you all the information you need to ensure your developer hands over your home in pristine condition and without you having to spend money on costly repairs. We’ll deliver an easy to understand report covering every aspect of your property with photos clearly showing any areas of concern. We’ll also utilise the latest tools to ensure everything is in working order and meets current regulations.

A Snagging List inspection could save you thousands of pounds and means you can be confident your home is safe, so contact us today to book yours.

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