Before you pay, get the magnifying glass out
You’ve invested in an off-plan property and have received the completion notice. The developer wants payment for the work done. You may be eager to complete yourself, and install the tenant you have ready and waiting. The first thing you should do, though, is to inspect the property and make a snag list.
An important part of the process of buying off-plan property. Before you make that last payment, the developer has a strong incentive to right any wrongs. In our experience, and with the developers from whom we source properties, there will be very few things to correct. But you’ll want them done before your tenant moves in and before you make that final payment.
Here we explain what snagging is, and how to snag an off-plan property.
Why is snagging off-plan property important?
In any development, there might be some minor issues with build quality, or particulars that are not quite as they should be. An electrical socket fixed at an angle, or a window frame did not fit quite so. Snagging is your opportunity to highlight all these defects and have them corrected.
Don’t confront; collaborate when snagging an off-plan property
I’ve seen investors looking to pick a fight with a developer. Their aggressive attitude immediately puts the developer on the defensive and gets them nowhere fast. A much better approach is to be firm but friendly. The off-plan investment has been a collaboration all the way through. Keep it that way. You’ll get the result you want with less fuss and more speed.
Take your plans, contract, and snagging list with you
Before you start, turn on the heating, electricity, and water.
With specification and plans to hand, check the layout of the rooms. Get your tape measure out and make sure the dimensions are as expected. With this basic out of the way, you move onto the details.
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Your snagging list should have all the details written down, usually room by room. Every detail that needs to be checked in each room will be noted. You simply tick off if satisfactory, and make note if not. You need to go through the list with a fine-tooth comb. It will be an effort well spent.
Checking the big items and moving on to the small
Some people check through item by item, and others take a ‘top-down’ approach. The result is the same: every item, every wall, and every skirting board are checked for finish and completeness.
As an example, in the kitchen, your snagging list may include a fridge/freezer, an oven, and a washing machine. Some people tick these off as being present first, and then inspect individually move down the list one item at a time. Whichever way you prefer, remember you are checking everything. It includes condition, working order, and that the doors open and close as they should, and so on.
If there are any defects, note them in as much detail as possible.
If a common fault is repeated throughout, note that, too. For example, one off-plan property I inspected had only undercoat paint to all internal door edges. These kinds of comments help the developer to identify poorly performing subcontractors.
Look at paint finishes, open and close windows and doors, and pay particular attention to floors and ceilings.
Don’t forget outside
Inspect the exterior walls using a pair of binoculars. Make sure that the garage or parking space is as it should be and that all site amenities are present. If the original site plans said there would be a pool and a gym, make sure that there are pool and gym.
Submit your snagging list to the developer
Type up your snagging list, and send a copy to the developer and your solicitor. Then contact the developer and set a timetable for completion of all the works. It may take some compromise. The finished property should be as was specified in the original agreement.
Five snagging tips to remember
Here are my top five snagging tips:
- Always be prepared beforehand. Take a detailed snagging list with you.
- If possible, have one of the developer’s representatives with you.
- Take your time and be thorough.
- Bring a camera or video camera and use it.
- Never inspect the property unless it has been cleaned properly first.
With the snagging list attended to, you can now complete your off-plan property purchase and start benefitting from rental income.
If you’ve never snagged a property before, it’s best to have someone with experience walk you through the process or even accompany you. Call our team today, and we’ll be happy to help.