New Build Homes are great, but do your Homework!

Buying new build? Your home still needs some homework!

Let us help you with that homework! 

As the property experts, surveying on average 6,500 properties across the UK every year, we know what to look for in every kind of property, and we’re expert in ensuring you can confidently and comfortably enjoy your new build home.  

Our new build home buyer’s guide can be boiled down to one very simple but very effective piece of advice:

Get a snagging list survey.

Why? Because a new build home does not mean that it’s a faultless home.

Many new build homes are far from perfect, and once the builder goes off site to their next development, it’s super hard to get them to come back and pick up your snagging list.


New houses: the horror stories

Our £450k newbuild home has a whopping 250 faults including collapsing walls, chips in every window and dodgy electrics. Source: The Sun.

Father says black mould in ‘defective’ new home is making his children ill. Source: Brighton & Hove News.

My dream home turned into new-build hell: Father-of-three reveals how he found dozens of faults in his three-bed Barratt home and builders have failed to turn up for repairs 13 times. Source: Mail online.

There are hundreds of news headlines like this. But there’s only one course of action when you’re buying a new build:


Get a new build snagging list survey. And get it BEFORE you complete your purchase.

In fact, this is what the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), a global organisation, advises in a recent article about quality standards in new housing.

Because while they can give you support, advice and guidance when you have new build issues, their best advice is to get that new build snagging survey. 

“While it can be seen that the overall quality of new-build housing has increased in recent years, it is still true that inconsistencies and issues can occur during construction. Therefore, it is paramount that consumers understand that they do have access to a variety of avenues to help identify any issues and get them fixed through their housebuilder, primarily through commissioning a snagging survey.

In setting the standards for the construction industry, their December 2023 report looks specifically at new build housing and how regulation can improve the customer journey. 

They develop and put in place the consumer protections that enable you to hold developers to account for quality failures in new-build housing. 

The report, which you can download here, also addresses perceptions of the new-build industry:

“In 2017, it was well publicised that a large volume housebuilder was required to pay upwards of £7 million to customers who claimed they had been pressured into purchasing and moving into incomplete houses. At the same time, a YouGov-commissioned poll by Shelter found that over half of homeowners who had recently purchased new-builds in England stated they had “experienced major problems including issues with construction, unfinished fittings and faults with utilities.”

CIOB’s overarching aim is to put in place the regulatory protections that give new build buyers additional recourse when things don’t go right.

But the ultimate and best advice still remains the same: get a snagging list survey before completion and compel the builder or developer to act on it.   


“We welcome the CIOB’s 2023 report into how regulation can improve the new home buyer’s journey as a consumer. However, the fact remains that if you’re engaging in a regulatory journey, you’re likely to already be experiencing issues that prevent you from moving into your new home, and that will cost you lots of time and money.

As a consumer, you do have access to a variety of avenues to help identify issues and get them fixed through your housebuilder. But as we always advise, and the CIOB agrees, prevention is better than cure: a snagging survey can pre-empt considerable heartache - and get you into your new home, both more confidently and comfortably!”

Joe Arnold, Arnold & Baldwin

New build snagging lists: the advantages 

Being the first person or family to live in a new build home feels incredible: you literally have a blank canvas to really make your own.

Some of the many advantages of buying a new build home are the joys of a pristine exterior, including a new roof and windows, a spotless, turnkey interior that includes brand new kitchen, immaculate bathrooms and often the convenience of an en suite in the master bedroom.    

But just because a property is new, it doesn’t mean that it’s without fault. 

In 2016, an annual report called the New Homes Review investigated the new home buying experience from a consumer’s perspective. 

Its most recent report found that, once new homeowners have collected their keys and moved into their new build property, more than 9 out of every 10 people surveyed said that they had experienced snags or defects in their new home and half of these people were unhappy with the service the developer provided to rectify the fault.

A subsequent report by the BBC found that some buyers have identified more than 350 faults with their new home once they have moved in and the government is taking the issue so seriously that it is setting up a New Homes Ombudsman to protect the interests of homebuyers and hold developers to account when things go wrong.

So, what can you do to ensure that you’re not caught out buying a new build property with multiple defects? 

The trouble with new build is it is often the case that problems are not identified until after the sale has completed, leaving the developer with little incentive to satisfactorily address the issue.

A snagging list survey prior to completion can identify problems earlier in the process, giving you the information you need to ensure that defects are dealt with before you move in.

Again, the CIOB recommends that anyone buying a new build property enlists the services of a professional snagging company to identify defects, many of which aren’t visible to the untrained eye, which can then be flagged to the developer for resolution.

They say:

“… there is a lack of trust in housebuilders to build new homes to a high standard with around 33% of respondents indicating they have a ‘low level of trust’ and 63% saying they are very or somewhat concerned about potential issues with new build housing. 

…housebuilders have a leading role to play in rebuilding consumer confidence by better promoting the standards they are committed to and providing buyers with clear information on how they are regulated.”  


Arnold & Baldwin: Snagging Checklist Survey 

At Arnold & Baldwin, our qualified surveyors prepare a photographic schedule of items which have not been completed satisfactorily. 

This document can then be submitted to the developer, so they can conclude any remaining items prior to completion.


Snagging list, HomeBuyers Report or building survey – which one is right for me? 

Just choose from our comprehensive menu of survey types.  

Or get in touch! We’d be delighted to answer your questions.

If you’re still asking, “WHY do I need a property survey when buying a house?”, you’ve come to the right place! The eight not-so-great reasons you need a home, property or building survey.

Get in Touch


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