By Stephen Maunder
Find out why you should get a snagging survey done before moving into a new-build home and how much it will cost.
If you've bought a new-build home, you're probably expecting it to be absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, though, even the best new homes can have issues.
The good news is that, aside from occasional horror stories, most problems with new-build homes are cosmetic and easily fixed. For that reason, a traditional survey is likely to be a little excessive - and this is where snagging surveys come in.
- If you're considering buying a new-build or off-plan property and want advice on the best mortgage options for you, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0808 252 7987 for expert, impartial advice.
What is a snagging survey?
A snagging survey is designed to check for problems with a new-build home. Developers should fix problems identified in snagging surveys quickly - ideally before you move in.
Unlike traditional house surveys, snagging surveys should pick up everything from minor issues, such as a door that doesn't close properly or a worktop with a dodgy finish to more serious, structural problems.
You should ideally have the snagging survey done in the period between building work being finished and your legal completion date, so the developer has time to fix any snags before you move in. However, some developers won't allow snagging inspections to be done before completion. If this is the case with your purchase, you should book in the snagging survey as soon as possible after you've moved in.
Having said that, you can technically have a snagging survey done at any time during the first two years of living in a new-build home, and the developer must repair any defects reported during this period.
Find out more: new-build homes - everything you need to know about buying a brand-new house or flat
Snagging survey costs
We recommend hiring a professional surveyor to conduct your snagging survey. While there isn't an official snagging qualification, some surveyors specialise in working with new-build homes so it's worth asking the question when you're getting quotes.
Snagging surveys usually cost between £300 and £600. Given that you're investing thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of pounds, and the survey can spot major problems that may otherwise go unnoticed until your property is out of its warranty period, this is money well spent.
Professional surveyors usually report their findings directly to the developer, increasing the likelihood of issues being fixed quickly and (hopefully) taking some stress out of the process for you.
DIY snagging surveys
If you have specialist knowledge, doing your own snagging survey could help you save money. If you're not an expert, though, it can be a confusing and drawn-out process.
If you do want to go it alone, make sure you do some research online and put together a comprehensive list of checklist of things to look out for.
You should also ask for confirmation that all the building work is finished before you do the survey - don't feel pressured to go ahead if any work is still outstanding, there's just no point.
When carrying out the survey, take your time and err on the side of caution. If something looks like it might be a snag or problem, include it on your snagging list, even if you aren't 100% sure. Snags can be reported at a later date, but it's best to be as thorough as possible from the start.
Regardless of how you carry out your inspection, some defects might not become apparent until you've been living in the home for a while.
From the day you move in, add any problems to a snagging list and report them to the developer. Again, it's best to be cautious and include even small niggles.
If you've lived in the property for more than two years and you notice something major is wrong, you can make a claim under the 10-year NHBC warranty, which covers building defects on new-build homes.
The NHBC also provides a resolution service that you can use if you have a dispute with your developer over problems with your property.
- Last updated: July 2016
- Updated by: Stephen Maunder