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How to Negotiate After a Property Inspection (Snagging) In Dubai

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When we talk to property agents, it seems like properties in Dubai are typically ‘sold as seen’. But when we speak with homeowners, property snagging before investing is often highly recommended.

So, should you pay for snagging? And can we negotiate the property value with it?

What is Property Snagging?

Snagging is a technical assessment of the property, not looking at the aesthetic defects but focusing on the MEP, HVAC, Civil, and structure to ensure the property is in essence not ‘a lemon’. It assesses the property to see if there are any faulty fixtures, molds, water leakage, all the way to any structural defects. 

What is the Purpose of Snagging?

The snagging survey is an unbiased way to know exactly what you are paying for.

It can reveal issues that you may want to walk away from, or give you the peace of mind of knowing that the property is in good shape.

Let’s look at some comments from Reddit:

“I pay about 1500 for a pre purchase inspection completed by a technical inspector. They check mechanical, electrical, plumbing and build quality, insulation airflow, AC etc.

They’ve told me that certain properties are ok and others have x amount to be rectified.

These are the conversations I’ve had with my guy:

Marco: do you see that part of the ceiling

Me: yeah

Marco: see anything wrong with it?

Me: no. It’s perfect.

Marco: exactly, behind there is the water shut off valve. When you have a flood, no one know it’s there behind the ceiling so you get a worse flood while you look for it and you have to break the ceiling in many places (or at least one) to get to it. The developer has to put in an access panel.

Marco: you see that access panel to the ceiling?

Me: yes.

Marco: what do you notice about it?

Me: it’s an access panel?!

Marco: it’s big enough to get a AC filter through, but too small to take the water heater through. When it leaks/needs replacing (which I’ve experienced happens about every 5-7 years) you’re going to need to break the entire ceiling to replace it, increasing your cost.

The above were when I was getting properties from the developer but some ready properties were far worse. Things I wouldn’t have noticed. Like the windows were slightly too small for the frames so hot moist air got inside and lead to damp condensation and massive AC bills. Tiles that were bowed and would all come off the walls soon.

In short, you get your car tested by a mechanic. This is a much bigger purchase, you need to get it inspected.”

How Much is a Property Inspection in Dubai?

There are 2 types of property inspections in Dubai.

#1 – For new off-plan, a handover inspection is a full inspection that includes cosmetic checks.

#2 – For resale, an MEP inspection is when buyer wishes to focus only on Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing issues and excludes the cosmetic checks (perhaps with plans of renovation).

Typically, snagging companies in Dubai charge around AED 1 per sq ft of Built Up Area + VAT.

When Should Snagging be Done?

Normally, a home inspection happens after the seller accepts the buyer’s offer but before closing the sale.

So… Can You Get a Property Cheaper with Property Inspection In Dubai?

In Dubai, there is no law that says an inspection is mandatory or that the result must be taken into consideration. A buyer can have an inspection but the seller doesn’t have to enter a negotiation based on that.

“I am a property inspector and I must say the demand for handover inspections escalated in the past decade.

Let’s say… when you have a tour of a new apartment, you can’t see what’s on the ceiling plenum. It looks great but some areas of the MEP above ceiling are very untidy and can cause problems in the future, dirty filter, exposed wires, etc. Some typical issues are hollow tiles, which may break, some leaking under the sink, low pressure for faucets, and many more.

One property I checked, the water heater tank was inside the laundry area, the space left cannot even fit a standard size washing machine.

There was one where the laundry area has no water supply to mention a few.

In my experience, you really can’t negotiate based on the number of snags. The report made by the inspectors are usually discussed by client and the developer because some snags are acceptable by the client (a little tolerance) and some must be rectified by the contractor before handing it over to the new owner.”

Property snagging can be:

1. Used between buyer and seller to resolve any repair issues or negotiate the price prior to making a final offer.

2. Used to inspect the property when the tenant moves out (if it’s tenanted). The report can act as a checklist to verify if damages beyond wear and tear has been fixed. If they are not fixed, you (as the new landlord) can deduct the repairs fees from the security deposit.

Having said that, it ultimately depends on how serious the issues are, how badly the buyer wants the property, and if the seller is willing to make the repair or renegotiate.

Tip: To protect the buyer, you can request to add a clause in the MOU stating that any major issues found allow for renegotiation (i.e. seller pay for the repairs or reduce the offer price) or termination of the contract. 

If the seller wishes not to renegotiate based on the inspection, the buyer at least has the peace of mind that he/she can walk away from the deal.

The worst thing you can do is put yourself in a situation where your new home is sucking every last Dirham out of you.

Next: Snagging Companies in Dubai (Rank and Fee Breakdown)

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