Snagging lists

Snagging lists for new build properties

When you buy a new-build home, you will have an opportunity to check the property for any defects or issues that the house builder should fix before you move in. Once you have compiled all these defaults into a list, this is what is known as a snagging list and can help resolve any small problems before they become bigger.

What is a snag?

A snag is a small defect or problem that is still within the property once building work has been completed. They come in two different categories: functional and cosmetic.

Functional snags are problems related to something not working properly. Examples include:

  • A light switch that doesn’t turn on
  • A door not shutting properly
  • Plug sockets that don’t have power
  • Taps with no water

Cosmetic, or aesthetic, snags are issues that affect how a part of the property looks. It could still function properly, but it might show signs of damage or wear. Examples of these include:

  • Incomplete or uneven paintwork
  • Chips or breaks on any surfaces
  • Scratches on windows
  • Uneven surfaces or floors

No matter the type of snag, if it has been caused due to the home builder’s negligence you can add it to the list to be fixed.

How to create a snagging list

There are various options when it comes to creating a snagging list, which one you choose depends on your own personal preference.

You can either:

  • Make a snagging list yourself
  • Hire a surveyor to survey the property
  • Hire a professional snagging company to inspect the property

Hiring a professional to undertake a snagging list for you comes with a cost but is guaranteed to get you the most thorough snagging list possible. Costs for this can be approximately £300 to £600, depending on the size of your property and whether you use a surveyor or a snagging company.

A surveyor can identify snags and more major issues with a property, depending on the kind of survey you arrange.

Snagging companies are usually dedicated to working on new build properties, so may be able to give you a more thorough list and will be particularly aware of common issues that crop up with new builds.

Make a snagging list yourself

There is nothing to stop you from making a list of the snags you spot in your property yourself, but you need to be as thorough as possible. If you are unsure about anything, write it down anyway; it’s better to approach your builder with all your issues and be told what they can or cannot help with.

Before you begin, make sure you have a smartphone or camera that can record video and take photos, as you will need evidence of any snags you find. If you have a copy of the floorplan of the property, you can use this to circle where you have found any snags for further evidence.

You will need to inspect the inside and outside of the property, so make sure you are doing the inspection during the day when you can clearly see every detail.

Check inside

When checking inside, you will want to make sure everything looks correct and is working properly. Below are some examples of checks to make:

  • Turn every tap on and off
  • Flush the toilets
  • Plug a charger in to every power socket
  • Look for gaps in skirting boards, door frames, window frames and other fixtures
  • Turn on the heating and check each radiator
  • Switch every light and electric appliance off and on
  • Open and close every door, window, cupboard and drawer
  • Check every surface, floor and ceiling is smooth and flat
  • Check paintwork is smooth, clear and complete
  • Check the loft has insulation and no gaps in the roof
  • Look for any cracks, damage, stains or paint splashes

If you spot anything that is faulty, damaged, or worn, take a photo or video, circle the area on the floorplan, and add the snag to the list.

Check outside

Take your time inspecting the exterior of your property as well, as small issues here could soon build up to be bigger problems in future. Examples of things to check for include:

  • Brickwork is clean and of a similar colour
  • Mortar is firm and not crumbling away
  • Gutters and drains are secure and fitted
  • The turf in your garden is on level ground and well planted
  • Paving slabs are flat and firm
  • Fences are secure in the ground
  • Roof tiles are undamaged and properly installed
  • Paintwork is finished and to an even standard

As before, if you spot anything you feel isn’t right, take a photo or video of the issue and write it down.

Be aware that the lists above are not comprehensive and there are many more things for you to look out for depending on what was promised within your property.

Be sure to do further research online for checks you can do and bring a friend or family member to the property as well to assist with compiling your list.

When to make a snagging list

Ideally, you want to create a snagging list after your property has been fully built and before you exchange on contracts. This gives you and the home builder time to list all the snags and have them rectified, preferably before you move in.

If this is not possible, then you should get a snagging list done as soon as you have access to the property, even if that is after you move in. If the home builder is still on the estate finishing other properties, then they will be able to rectify any snags you make them aware of.

It is always best to produce a snagging list as soon as you can. If you have already moved in and start spotting snags; you do have two years to report them under your builders’ warranty, however, once you have moved in your builder can reasonably claim that you were responsible for them.

After two years, you can report any major structural problems to your builder under the 10-year warranty that comes with your new-build; you can find out which warranty you are under with the information that is provided to you before the exchange of contracts. The home builder will give you the name and details of who provides the warranty for your home and what that warranty will cover.

Who to send a snagging list to

If you are using a surveyor or snagging company, they will often send the list to your home builder directly and, in most cases, negotiate the snags and argue your case.

If you have undertaken a snagging list yourself, then contact your home builder directly and ask where the best place to send it is. Make sure you have all your evidence and records available to send.

Final tips

A snagging list is highly recommended when you purchase a new-build property. You have the right to have any snags fixed by your builder for no extra cost, so there is no reason not to undertake one.

If you spot any further snags after your initial snagging list, you can always send another. Your builder may try and contest any fixes you have asked, so ensure you have enough evidence to negotiate your side.

Remember that a surveyor or professional snagging company can ensure you get the most thorough list and argue your case for fixes to the builder. Their costs can sometimes massively outweigh the repairs they lead to.

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