Getting a snagging report is vital for a new build. A snagger will go round the house with the professional equivalent of a fine tooth comb, and will find all those issues that the starry eyed buyer probably wouldn’t spot. It will cost money to have a snagger check the property, but the repair costs of the problems they will find will undoubtedly be greater.
This doesn’t mean things like the fact that the handle on the bathroom cabinet is misaligned. It covers much greater findings than that, such as doors that don’t close properly; gaps leading to draughts around doors and windows; electrical and wiring issues; worktops not fitted correctly; faulty guttering; badly aligned bricks or paving; and poorly laid grass.
A thorough snagging inspection will also uncover things like poor plastering, painting issues, wonky radiator alignment and sub-standard carpet laying. It should ideally be done before completion, although some builders are sticklers for this and may only permit a snagging inspection in the window between an offer being accepted and completion. Delay the insistence on a snagging visit and buyers may have a much bigger problem getting the developers to fix things at their expense.
Whatever the developer’s preference, the fact is that, once made aware of the list, legally they are liable for the cost of putting right every single issue found. That means extra cost to them, but because of the rate that houses are produced these days, the speed of workmanship has resulted in a lack of accuracy and quality. A snagging survey can be carried out any time in the first two years of occupancy, but obviously the quicker the buyer can bring issues to the attention of the construction company, the quicker they will be fixed, potentially averting issues later.
For instance, the furniture in a newly fitted bathroom may settle, which may result in leaks appearing. The sooner the builders’ plumber can come and fix this, the better, because long term leaks are not good for the structural integrity of a house. And if the snagger finds this, it’s up to the construction company to fix the issue at no cost to the buyer.
There is no specific professional qualification for snagging, but some surveyors have elected to specialise in this area. There is no doubt that this is a shrewd move, given the number of new build homes being constructed these days. Experienced house buyers will always tell newbies about the hidden issues in major renovations such as bathrooms, kitchens, retrofitted central heating, conservatories and extensions. But they rarely mention the hazards associated with buying a new build. Like cars, houses take time to settle down, and any problems may take a few weeks (or even months) to show up. A snagging list is essential for owners of new build houses to ensure they capture all the ‘quirks’ to question with a snagger and ultimately bill the builders to repair. Even new build owners who have lived there for over two years may have a case under the NHBC warranty, which covers the first 10 years of a property’s life. The key point is to list the problems, have them assessed by a professional snagger, and inform the developer as soon as possible.
Ideally, talking about booking a snagging inspection should be part of the mortgage or finance process, in the same way that talking about home and contents insurance is. Often, however, it is not as easy as that, and so many new build buyers miss out on the chance to rectify small problems when they are discovered rather than having to pay for them later.
That’s an expensive mistake to make, for sure.