Snag lists are a huge part of the building/sale process of a new home. Securing your first home can be a hugely exciting time however there are many things that need to be addressed prior to a sale being finalised and completed.  

Property surveys and snag lists must be compiled by qualified and relevant engineers who are registered with official, professional bodies like the SCSI, CABE or Engineers Ireland. Otherwise, you run the risk of spending money on a service that is effectively worthless. 

Snag List – What is it? 

A snag list is usually created at the end of a building project. Here, all faults and defects which may have been missed by or not fully completed by a contractor or developer are listed. This can include defective items of work, parts of the property that do not meet building regulations or simply are just not finished to a reasonable standard.  

Generally speaking, it’s far more difficult to get issues addressed in your new home once the keys have been handed over. You could be moving your belongings in before you realise a door doesn’t close properly or a toilet won’t flush. Buying a home is probably the largest investment you will ever make and by compiling a snag list you’ll be able to get all these niggling issues sorted before the contracts are signed, otherwise, it’ll end up costing you down the line.  

If you don’t address these issues prior to moving into your property, you may be left footing a hefty bill. We asked contractors, realtors, builders and tradespeople from around the world to discuss home issues, faults and defects they’ve seen in properties that leave the new homeowners with a big problem.  

Windows & Doors 

Windows & Doors are two of the most common issues that crop up when it comes to snagging lists and just general home faults. Windows and doors need to be able to open and close easily, with no force. Door locks should also be in full working order and free from jamming. Although things may appear to be visually correct, there may be bigger issues lurking – 

“Possible issue new builds face would be faulty doors and windows. There is an increased likelihood that the internal and external doors may be full of scratches, and improperly installed windows can create an uneasy environment. Faulty windows can drain your savings as it may cost up to $250 to repair or get new ones installed.” Tim Schroeder, Realtor & Owner, Learning Real Estate 

“If not properly installed, windows and doors can allow water and air to enter the home, causing long-term damage. In addition, poorly installed windows and doors can be a security risk.” Jeremy Luebke, Founder, We Love Land 

“You must ensure that all your windows have been properly installed. If there is a gap between the window and the window frame, it can make your home cold during the winter. You should open and close the windows to see whether their hinges and locks can work properly. You can also ask to replace the glasses if they have scratches on them, as you have full right to get a home that’s in perfect condition.” Alex Platt, Owner, The Platt Group 

Electrical Issues 

Issues with wiring, faulty sockets, switches and more are often overlooked or simply not found without the help of a snag list. Electrical issues can’t be ignored, regardless of how minor they may appear.    

“Faulty electrical work is one of the major new home build issues homeowners face. There is an increased likelihood that the previous owners hadn’t developed internal wiring properly just to save on a few bucks. Usually, a multi-purpose switch is installed that may turn on the light and a fan simultaneously. It may seem like a good idea but is farther from the truth. When you plan to make electrical repairs, it can cost up north of $750.” Tim Schroeder, Realtor & Owner, Learning Real Estate 

“While these might seem like minor details, they can end up costing significant sums of money to repair. These might not seem like a big deal at first but getting them installed can be very costly.” Jeremy Luebke, Founder, We Love Land 

Insulation, Heating & Sealing 

Diving deeper again, things like insulation can be a massive money drain if not done correctly. You need to be secure and safe in the knowledge that your new property is adequately insulated, if not you’re going to throw away money on heating and cooling costs.  

“Not only is insulation costly to install in the first place but going lengths of time without it can lose you a lot of money on energy bills. If not checked initially, some people can go months without noticing improper insulation, especially if their home is bought in the summer months.  

Confirm right away that your insulation has been properly installed. Houses should have around 2.5cm thick insulation between the trusses in the loft. If yours is lacking or completely absent, speak to your housing provider immediately or you could end up covering a cost of at least £300 to put right” Volodymyr Barabakh, Co-Founder, Structural Beam 

“Loft insulation issues can often be the biggest snagging problem. Its benefits are numerous; It is cost-effective and almost impossible to leave it out in a house. Insulation helps lower heating and cooling cost and provides resistance to heat flow. 

They are often incorrectly fitted or missing altogether. So, it is essential to check this in the early stage as the cost to insulate a loft can be up to £400 depending on the size of the house and the loft. Hence, it’s best to not go through this avoidable expense by checking for it in the first place.” Derek Fuller, Co-Founder, River Region Home Buyers 

“Proper grading, drainage, and waterproofing of the foundation and basement. If such issues are not spotted before purchase, you may be looking at a very costly and lengthy repair process to correct the issue.” Melanie Hartmann, Owner, Creo Home Buyers 

More Hidden Costs – Contracts, Plumbing, Budgeting 

It’s important to remember that when you sign a building contract with a contractor there are often several clauses inserted that naturally favour the builder, not the buyer.  

“A common component of contracts for custom homes is escalation clauses. Builders now have a clause that allows them to raise the price of the home due to increases in costs to build. That may seem fair at first but may be hard for the buyer to get concrete evidence unless there is an itemized document that has a line item for each element of the house. Read the fine print so you clearly understand what you are responsible for.” Trey Langford, Founder, Build Idaho 

Water quality and more importantly, the impact the water in the area of your new home will have on your fixtures, appliances and drinking water is of huge importance.  

“Before purchasing any home, it is very important to examine the quality of the water. This problem has an easier fix than in the past by installing pipe liners. It is simpler than replacing all of the plumbing, but still costly” Tomas Satas, Founder, Windy City Home Buyer 

As a general rule, budgeting is crucial. Snag lists should be factored into your budget from the outset as the amount of money you save in the long run can be colossal.  

“Before purchasing a home, every buyer needs to conduct a budget plan. It is important to stick to the budget. New home buyers commit the mistake of ending up with a home that costs more than what they wanted to pay at first. If you buy a bigger or more expensive home than you planned, it will create a problem. You need to pay a more down payment, a larger mortgage rate, and a high tax rate. Additionally, it will be more costly to take care of the house. Sticking to the budget is the best way to go.” Donald Shurts, Realtor, Keller Williams Advisors 

Get In Touch With Snagging Experts

By now, you should realise that when buying a brand-new home, there is a chance that defects are possible. That is exactly why a snag list completed by a professional is essential. HomeCheck offers these services across Ireland from as little as €220 ex VAT. 

HomeCheck has also been providing property & house surveys to homeowners across Ireland since 2016. If you want to compile a snag list or undertake a pre-purchase survey, get in touch with the Homecheck team today. We will send out one of our building surveyors to complete the survey and within a few days, you will have an easy to read and detailed engineering report