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New-build defects are legion

PUBLISHED: 09:14 13 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 October 2010

Investors in Norwich and other UK locations continue to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into new-build buy-to=let properties. Many enjoy prime central locations, provide a low- maintenance alternative to older rental offerings, and appeal to professional tenants seeking freshly decorated homes with sparkling bathrooms and kitchens.

Investors in Norwich and other UK locations continue to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into new-build buy-to=let properties. Many enjoy prime central locations, provide a low- maintenance alternative to older rental offerings, and appeal to professional tenants seeking freshly decorated homes with sparkling bathrooms and kitchens.

However, investors in off-plan and brand new homes may often not be getting value for money.

A report from the School of the Built and Natural Environment at Glasgow Caledonian University has analysed four years' worth of data compiled by snagging firm Inspector Home.

It reveals that, on average, a new three-bed home last year had 84 snagging defects - up 29 per cent on 2004. Worryingly, all the properties had been 'signed off' as satisfactory by the relevant warranty provider.

East Anglia came fourth out of eight regions in England and Scotland, with an average 65 defects reported in August last year, and the same figure at year-end.

According to Residential Property Investor, the official magazine of the Residential Landlords' Association, investors should inspect their new-build homes very carefully, in order to spot and reject shoddy work.

Snagging should be done before completion, or as soon after as possible. Using a professional snagging company will pinpoint easily-overlooked faults and help negotiations with the developer.

Areas of concern frequently include thin paint and incomplete painted items such as window frames, uneven wall and ceiling plaster, poor carpentry and sticking doors and windows, badly-fitted kitchens and wardrobes, uneven tiling and badly-finished grouting and mastic.

Buyers must also satisfy themselves that locks and hinges operate properly, run all appliances including central heating to check for leaks, and retain guarantees in case of future problems.

Switches, sockets and radiators should all be level, working and in the right place, and scratches to glass have to be reported within 24 hours of completion.

Last but not least, owners should make sure external brickwork is even and well spaced, clean and uniform.


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