Snagging is an integral part of either a new build property or one which we may have refurbished.
We still remember a day when we got one of our property refurbished and decided to do a snag list ourselves by staying within the property for a full day and a night.
Here is the thing:
That saved us at least over £2500 in expenses if we were to let it out to a tenant without doing that snag list.
Most first time buyers and to some extent experienced investors can’t be bothered about snagging and trust their developers to handover a property in quality condition.
Property is still not ready to move in or isn’t ready to be offered for tenancy.
Yet more work and more money to be spent to complete the job post property handover.
This post is an attempt to outline and explain what is snagging and the complete process including a downloadable snagging list template ready for use.
What Is Snagging?
Snagging is a process of identifying and listing minor or major defects once the build or a development team deems the property as ready for handover.
Such defects are termed as “Snags”.
The issues can range from as simple as a misalignment of carpets or a cracking sound of door when closing.
It could also be as serious as a possible leak resulting from small cracks on the roof or walls.
Once a property is handed over for you or your tenants to move in, you do find a little lot of teething issues which certainly needs attention.
Having a snagging process in place will identify such issues in advance and saves time and money fixing them in advance as well.
How Does Snagging Process Work
First and foremost, note that the snagging can be done by yourself or by engaging a qualified surveyor to help you prepare the list.
Often, the decision is driven by the expertise of the buyer/investor or availability of their time.
A recommendation is to engage a surveyor given the criticality and how much this process can save once issues are fixed.
The process is as simple as engaging a surveyor who will in turn fix an appointment with the developer to go around the property room by room and make a note of all the issues.
It is certainly a wise call to follow the surveyor or if you are doing it by yourself, have the developer with you and agree on the snags and their fixes.
Once the snags are listed, agree on timescales with the developer on when the fixes will be applied and possibly arrange a re-snagging appointment to review.
Most important aspect:
The expectation of the snagging process is to work out the snags/issues before taking handover of property and hence the issues are fixed as part of build and development.
Not charged as an additional expense on top of purchase or refurbishment costs.
As next steps:
File the snagging list into your records to ensure any developer warranties are applicable on the defects closed.
What Should A Snagging List Include?
Here is a list of possible snags checkpoints (not limited to) whilst you or the surveyor go room by room.
- Roof and chimneys, to check if there are any misplaced tiles or roof flashings are worn out.
- Damp marks that you can identify on the walls of rooms
- Visible cracks on the walls, worktops, appliances or others
- Radiators and at least 2 plug points present in all rooms
- The general condition of the walls, structure
- Any improper paintwork that needs fixes
- Doors and windows properly aligned and are easy to open/close without any obstructions
- Guttering and pipe works are clean and no leaks within when water flows through
- Utilities and boilers are in working condition and no teething issues to resolve
- Alarms are in place and loft access or if the loft is locked if that’s the chosen option before the tenancy
And more…..you get the picture.
When Is The Best Time To Create A Snagging List?
If you are buying a new build property then the best time to get this done will be before the completion of the property or even before exchange if that is an option.
If you are refurbishing a property which is already purchased, its best done before building team hands over the property and you accept it with final payment.
While this process is best used as mentioned above, nothing stops us using the process to keep a periodic check on refurbishment as an investor.
Can I Use A Professional Snagging Company?
I guess this question is dependant on what the buyer/investor wants.
When we started our journey in buying buy-to-let properties, we were looking for experience and also save money as much as we could.
We did it ourselves and trust me, it was a wonderful and painful experience in equal measure.
We enjoyed it since we had our system and a checklist of what needs to be done.
Some times it comes with the cold baths, sleeping bags and sleepless nights too if you are ready for it.
We always recommend to our clients to just go for a professional survey company that will do it for you thoroughly for under £500 pounds.
It just removes the unknowns of lack of experience and allows you to spend your time on better things and possibly will produce the most elaborate report that one needs.
Do We Really Need Snagging?
Did you know that according to a research done by Terry Williams from Coventry university, of all the snagging defects found
- 4% posed a health and safety risk
- with 18% of the defects compromising the building’s integrity.
- of these, 8% presented a future structural risk and
- over half (51%) could permit moisture penetration.
About 28% of the defects were due to lack of care and 72% of the defects found were caused due to sub-standard workmanship.
These stats were initially published at brand-new homes and you can refer to further details on their website for full research.
If you now keep above stats in mind, wouldn’t you need a snagging survey on the property?
If you are a first-time buyer and are purchasing flats from reputed developers, you sure need the survey done or at the very least you find time to do it on your own.
What Are Advantages And Limitations Of Snagging?
Not sure what limitations one could have but there are many advantages certainly as listed below.
- First, saves tons of money with any missed specs, repairs or issues that could be found later in the day.
- Most important thing of saving the pain or stress that one has to go through without such a process when issues are found.
- The house you purchase is quality assured with such a process before taking handover from the developer from all respects.
- We definitely understood many things that we could improve on for the next projects by staying in the property before taking handover or tenanting it out.
What If The Developer Refuses To Fix Snags?
As the first phase of the resolution, dialogue with the developer if it’s a new home and with the build team in case of refurbishment is the best way to go.
NHBC is the most recognised authority acting as an insurance and warranty provider for most of the new builds. They do have a resolution centre which is effective in pushing your case to get the snags resolved.
Needless to say that you will have to have access to such insurance/warranty provider before you exchange on new homes to ensure you are given the quality that is promised ahead of exchanging on a property.
For refurbishments on our portfolio, we have formalised a system to have a signed build contract outlining the terms and conditions and include a specific clause to address snagging issues as part of the refurb.
This in turn acts as a reference and warrants the build team to address the issues.
As a practice, ask for insurance and warranty provider for the developer or builder and request the associated documentation where you can.
Assuring That Snagging Defects Are Fixed
No snagging issues are closed unless a re-verification of the issues are done.
Request a second round of review with the same team who have done the first one, and go through issues that were found before.
Subject to completion of fixes you are set to take the handover of the property.
Happy snagging :).