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What is a Snagging List?

Posted 3 August 2017 by Helen Christie

We've looked at exactly what a snagging list is, and why it is needed when purchasing a new home...

Snagging may not be a word you’ve heard very often, but if you’re buying a new build home, it is something that you will become very familiar with.

Simply put, snagging your new home means to check for any problems or defects with the build, so the housebuilder can correct these, ideally before you move in. While no-one wants to have to deal with problems in their new home, snagging your new home before you move in, you could save you a lot of money in the long run and avoid a lot of potential problems.

After research and input from leading experts, we have put together a guide of everything you need to know about snagging to help you in your new home move. While your housebuilder is responsible for checking defects before you complete, it is unlikely that they will pick up on every snag.

What is a snagging list?

A snagging list is an inventory of faults, or snags, in a new build property. It is a list designed to identify them so your housebuilder can fix them.

What should a snagging list cover?

Usually any faults are just small defects that can quickly be corrected before you move in, but it is a good idea to complete a snag list to ensure there are no big problems. A snagging list should cover each room, and take into consideration everything from decoration to door fittings, electrical sockets to toilet flushes.

When is the best time to get a snagging list?

The ideal time is once the property is complete, but before you exchange contracts.

Architect and TV presenter George Clarke says: “At the end of the job, keep a minimum 5% retention, even when your builder thinks he's finished the job, and do your snagging list. This retention should clearly be in the contract, and will specify that the builder is to put right any defective works.”

However, you may not be able to access the property until you have completed, but it can be harder to get any snags fixed once you move in, and the housebuilder could argue that it was you who caused the damage, particularly if it is cosmetic. As part of your new build property’s warranty you will have two years to report any problems that don’t meet the technical requirements which must be sorted by the builder at no cost to you, the homeowner.

Will I have to pay for a snagging list and survey?

Some websites will charge you to use their snagging lists, but you can put together your own snagging list, or use our free snagging list. If you want a professional snagging survey, then this will cost you, usually between £300-£600. While this may seem like a lot of money at first, it could potentially save you thousands in the future if they spot a potential problem.

Advantages of professional snagging services?

If you choose to use a professional snagging service, it is likely to be more thorough than trying to do it yourself. Professionals know what they’re looking for, and if you aren’t an expert, it can be a confusing process. Some professional snagging services will liaise with your housebuilder for you, so you don’t have to become personally involved which should remove some of the stress for you, and hopefully means any problems are resolved quicker. Using an independent snagging inspector is preferable as they do not work for developers or housebuilders.

Where to get a new build snagging list?

We have put together a free snag list template that you can use if you are choosing to check your new home yourself.

How to snag your new home?

If you are choosing to snag your own home, then we recommend downloading our snagging list before you go. If possible, take someone with you so you have an extra pair of eyes, and don’t let yourself be rushed. Take a camera, and if possible, set it so the date appears on the image. For a three-bedroom home, plan to spend at least a couple of hours going over the property. Break it down so you are looking at each different part in turn, for example:

  • Electrics – Are all the plug sockets working? You could take a phone charger with you to test them all
  • Windows – Do they all close properly? Are there any draughts?
  • Doors – Are all the locks secure and working properly? Do all the doors close properly?

It’s also a good idea to turn on the heating as soon as you arrive to ensure it is all working properly. If you spot something and you aren’t sure whether it’s a snag or not, it’s still better to write it down just in case. 

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