Understand the benefits of getting a snagging survey (new builds)

Last Updated: 29th Apr, 2024

Author: Charlotte Burton

Understand the benefits of getting a snagging survey (new builds)

N.B. this task is only applicable if you are buying a new-build property

New-build homes are often not as perfect as you might hope. Finding problems with the property through a snagging survey will mean you can ask the developer to fix them before you buy, ensuring that the repairs are done in a timely manner, and without cost to you.

Snagging survey key info

  • 📋Overview: A snagging survey is an inspection of a new build property’s condition and the quality of the building work, conducted by a qualified surveyor. It will find any problems with the property, which you can then ask the developer to fix before you complete the purchase.
  • 💰 Cost: £300-600
  • Timing: if the property is already built, get a survey before exchange. If the property is not yet built (“off-plan”), get a survey as soon as the property is built, or as soon after you move in as you can.

Aren't repairs covered by the new-build warranty?

Yes, but relying solely on the NHBC warranty for new builds does have negatives.

The NHBC warranty covers mainly structural problems for the 10 years after the first owner completed their purchase of the property. Other problems are excluded, and you would have to pay to fix them yourself.

In the first 2 years, the developer themself is meant to fix problems covered by the NHBC warranty for free (the builder warranty period). Some developers are bad at responding & fixing issues in a timely manner, taking up lots of your time to sort and delaying fixes.

In the remaining 8 years, the NHBC provides insurance. While this insurance doesn’t have an excess, it does have a minimum claim value of ~£1,750, increasing by £50 for each year after 2019. If the problem costs more than this minimum claim value to fix, the NHBC will cover the entire cost for you. But any repairs that cost less than this value will not be covered at all, and you will have to pay for them completely by yourself. Secondly, the claims process can be quite lengthy and time-consuming.

Won’t the mortgage valuation flag any problems?

Sadly it will not. A mortgage valuation is a more basic assessment of the property, carried out on behalf of your mortgage lender, solely to make sure the property's value more than covers their loan amount.

You won’t get to see the problems they find. The outcome of a mortgage valuation is how much money the lender is willing to lend to you for the property based on their valuation of it, or the lender’s requirements for repairs before they will lend you the money.

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