The building industry remains steady, with an ever increasing demand for properties built off-plan. These properties remain an attractive option for many people, especially first-time homeowners. Most of the properties progressively appreciate, buyers save on transfer fees, are often allowed to choose their own finishes and they are afforded the protection of a secure complex.
But, who protects the buyer from unsightly finishes, visible defects and homes not built according to the original plan?
Today’s market demands tighter deadlines which involves contractors employed “on price”. This has produced a trend to cut corners and therefore lower the standards of workmanship. Some new developments are also built by sub-standard tradesmen who have very little supervision or quality control. All of this can amount to a homeowner taking occupation of a dwelling that is riddled with defects and well below the accepted standard.
“Buyers need to understand the importance of snagging their new home,” says Eric Bell, CEO of Inspect-A-Home, a professional inspection company often called in to carry out professional snags.
Snagging is where the property is checked thoroughly for defects and poor finishes. This can be anything from poor paintwork to badly hung doors, broken window-catches and faulty sockets.
“Our inspectors have found floor tiles with no expansion joints, geysers not installed according to regulations, roof trusses not braced securely and a host of other defects.”
“Buyers mistakenly believe that they are covered when buying a new build from a reputable developer. What they don’t realize is that the developer often sub-contracts to building contractors, who are under pressure to complete the units within a certain timeframe. This results in short cuts being taken and best building practices not always being followed.”
“We often list between 200 – 300 snags per dwelling and have found some new homes with far more than that.”
Bell recommends a snag list is completed prior to occupation. This ensures that no defects or poor finishes are hidden by furniture or appliances. He says that it is best to go through the property a few times before completing the snag list as often a second visit will reveal further snags.
Once completed, the snag list should be handed over to either the site supervisor or the site agent so that the items listed can be attended to. This can create its own share of headaches as the builder often has moved on to the next phase of housing or to a completely new development.
“Developers put pressure on buyers to pay in full and then only complete a snag list after they have taken occupation. Obviously this serves only in the developer’s best interest.”
“Buyers should consider inserting a ‘retention clause’ in their contract,” mentions Bell. “This is where a sum of money is held back until all the snags in a property are put right. They should speak to their attorneys about including this when they sign the initial contract. It is a way of holding the developer accountable, ensuring their snags are dealt with and that they receive the quality home they were expecting.”
This article was provided by Frederick Ollewagen of Inspect-A-Home. Your can find more articles by Frederick here on Home Inspections.
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