Updated: Jan 26
This is a really common question, especially for first-time buyers. The quick answer is; If you are buying a new build, you need a snag list and if you are buying a second-hand home, you need a house survey.
What's the difference?
Snag List: New Builds With a snag list, the surveyor is "snagging" the new home to ensure everything is in good condition and the property meets health and safety standards before the builder hands it over to you. For a new build, the builders will provide certificates of compliance for all of the work which has recently been complete and there is no "wear and tear" on the property. A snag list will involve a list of all of the finish issues which the builder had missed along with a comment on any health and safety conditions not met (e.g. no vents, windows not opening fully, etc.) House Survey: Second Hand Properties In addition to finish issues and health and safety issues, when it comes to a second-hand home, the home has been lived in, and depending on how well it was looked after by previous owners will be in various conditions throughout. A surveyor is an expert on the build, maintenance, and repair of residential properties and will know exactly what to look for to spot both small and large issues, so they can compline a report on the overall condition of the property. As older properties may not have certificates of compliance and may have been altered since the original build, the surveyor will also be able to advise if you should engage an electrician, plumber, etc.