A guide to the new-build snagging survey

4th June 2021


by Helen Jarvis, Partner, Residential Conveyancing

When buying a property, a building survey can pick up issues that can affect the value of the property. A survey can bring up issues that the buyer can ask the seller to fix before completion or to otherwise reduce the selling price accordingly.

We always strongly recommend that buyers have a survey. We have heard horror stories from buyers who decided against a survey, only to spend several thousand pounds within a few months of moving in, repairing problems that a survey would have flagged.

Surveys will pick up issues ranging from slipped roof tiles or missing flashing all the way up to larger problems such as damp or subsidence. As these issues tend to be associated with older properties, people buying new build properties are less likely to commission a survey.

A special type of survey for new build properties does exist and it can potentially save you money down the line. Rather than looking for signs of wear, the survey, known as a New Build Survey or New Build Snagging Survey, checks whether the property has been built to a high enough standard.

People buy new builds on the expectation that everything will be in good condition and built to the latest specifications. You wouldn’t expect the roof to leak or to have issues that can come with older wiring or plumbing. On top of this, most buyers expect to be protected by their warranty.

A traditional survey can be excessive on a new build property, where the most common problems are cosmetic, such as plastering, tiling and brickwork. A new build can, however, have more serious problems that relate to damp-proofing, ventilation or insulation. These issues can include badly fitted windows, damp proof courses that have been bridged as well as drainage and waste pipes that are not connected.

The best time to have a snagging survey done is after the builder has completed the work and before moving in. However some developers don’t allow a survey before completion.  In this case you should arrange for a survey as soon as you have moved in.

Although it depends on the terms of your contract, you can have up to two years to report issues found on a new build home but it is advantageous to report any issues early while the builders are still on site. If you leave the survey until after the builders have moved on, it may take longer to get the repairs completed.

You should also be wary of relying on a warranty too much, many buyers report difficulties in getting a claim to stick and the cover is more limited than many people expect. A snagging survey will usually result in a faster resolution of your issues.

The residential conveyancing department at Fraser Dawbarns have helped thousands of people into their new homes, providing friendly advice and support throughout the process. If you would like help with buying or selling your home or with any other legal issue, please contact Fraser Dawbarns today.

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This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances.  Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.

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