A snagging and handover service, as we call it, is unique to new build properties and is especially important for many of Complete’s clients as they live overseas and are not readily available to inspect their property purchase when it nears practical completion. New build property is often purchased off-plan before the construction even takes place and therefore it is important that the buyer checks it has been completed as per the specification linked to the contract before they pay over their final monies to the developer.
In the UK, when completion notices are served which is usually giving 10 or 15 working days’ notice of completion then the selected agent is invited on behalf of the client to conduct a snagging inspection. This very important visit checks that the property is ready for habitation and also that it has been delivered as per the contract. It is usual for there to be some snags or minor defects and the developer will endeavour to have these rectified by completion. Rarely there are major snags and contractually the developer needs to rectify these by completion. The person conducting the snagging inspection will also make sure that property has been constructed as per the floor plan and that there are no irregularities. In Germany, it is common to have at least two pre-handover inspections and this process can take a number of weeks from start to finish.
After completion, when the client has paid 100% of the purchase price then the handover is conducted and the agent will collect the keys, the statutory documentation such as electrical safety certificate, EPC, gas safety and warranty information. In Germany the communal parts are not always finished at this stage and a retention is held by the solicitors until these are fully signed off. There may be some minor snagging or defect items for the developer to attend to however the developer is contractually obliged to rectify these within a reasonable time-frame, and in a professional and workmanlike manner. There is then an ongoing defect period of either 12 or 24 months, within which any defects should be attended to by the developer.
The buyer will receive a report done on handover which will include photos of the flat so the investor can see the finished product.
If the purchaser of the property is not able to undertake the above then it’s important that they contract someone to do this on their behalf and this should be an agent that is familiar with the process, has an eye for detail and ideally has an ongoing relationship with the developer. If this process is not followed sufficiently then there is a chance that completion could occur without the majority of snagging having been attended to and therefore this will delay the tenanting process and possibly incur extra cost for the owner.
Complete regularly undertake these inspections on behalf of clients purchasing in the UK and Germany and therefore are familiar with the process. The charge is dependent on the size of the property and often a discount will be given if the client is also using Complete’s lettings and management services however this is market specific and client specific basis.
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