Ticking All the Boxes: What to Include in Your Viewing Checklist

RAH Blog
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24 May 2024
by Redmayne Arnold and Harris

In the pursuit of finding the ideal property in Cambridge, ensuring every aspect aligns with your needs and preferences is paramount. With the vibrant cityscape and diverse housing options, it's crucial to have a meticulous approach to property viewings. Every detail matters, from evaluating the neighbourhood's amenities to scrutinising the property's structural integrity and energy efficiency. In this guide, we delve into the essentials of crafting a comprehensive viewing checklist tailored to the unique nuances of the Cambridge property market. Prepare to embark on a journey where every box is meticulously ticked, bringing you closer to your dream home.

Location, Location, Location

Proximity to Amenities

  • Shops: Assessing the accessibility of supermarkets, local stores, and speciality shops for daily essentials and convenience.
  • Schools: Evaluating the quality and proximity of schools, considering both primary and secondary education options, as well as nurseries and colleges for families with children.
  • Parks and Green Spaces: Recognizing the availability of nearby parks, playgrounds, and recreational areas essential for leisure activities and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Public Transport: Investigating the accessibility and reliability of public transport links, including bus stops and train stations, ensuring easy commute to work or other destinations.

Safety and Crime Rates in the Neighborhood

  • Crime Statistics: Review official crime data to gauge the area's safety, considering factors such as burglary rates, vandalism incidents, and antisocial behaviour.
  • Neighbourhood Watch Schemes: Research the presence of community-led initiatives aimed at enhancing safety and security and fostering a sense of community cohesion.
  • Street Lighting and CCTV: Observing the presence of adequate street lighting and surveillance systems, contributing to overall safety and crime prevention measures in the neighbourhood.

Potential for Future Development or Regeneration Projects

  • Urban Planning Policies: Understanding local planning regulations and zoning laws to anticipate potential development projects or infrastructure improvements in the area.
  • Regeneration Initiatives: Investigating ongoing or planned regeneration schemes by local authorities or private developers that aim to revitalise neighbourhoods and enhance property values.
  • Impact on Property Value: Considering the potential impact of future developments on property prices and desirability, weighing the benefits and drawbacks of living in a changing urban landscape.

Property Exterior

When considering a property, the exterior is the first impression that sets the tone for what lies within. It's crucial to thoroughly assess the external features to ensure they meet your needs and preferences. Here are five key aspects to focus on:

  • Structural Integrity: Examine the walls, roof, and foundation for signs of wear and tear, cracks, or dampness, which could indicate potential maintenance issues.
  • Garden and Outdoor Space: Evaluate the size, condition, and potential for landscaping of the garden or outdoor area, considering factors such as privacy, sunlight exposure, and maintenance requirements.
  • Parking Facilities: Assess the availability and convenience of parking options, including on-street parking, garage space, or a dedicated driveway, to ensure your vehicles are accommodated securely.
  • Exterior Appearance: Consider the overall aesthetic appeal of the property, including the condition of the exterior paintwork, windows, doors, and any architectural features, ensuring they align with your preferences.
  • Boundary and Fencing: Check the condition and height of boundary walls or fences, ensuring adequate privacy and security and identifying potential boundary disputes or encroachments.

Interior Features

When exploring the interior features of a property, it's essential to consider aspects that contribute to your comfort and daily functionality. Firstly, assessing the room layout and size allows you to envision how each space will accommodate your lifestyle and specific requirements. Whether it's an open-plan layout for entertaining guests or separate rooms for privacy and relaxation, ensuring the property's configuration aligns with your preferences is paramount. Additionally, natural light filtering into the property throughout the day can significantly impact its ambience and energy efficiency. Ample sunlight enhances the interior's aesthetic appeal and creates a brighter and more inviting atmosphere, positively influencing your mood and well-being.

Furthermore, evaluating the available storage space is crucial for maintaining an organised and clutter-free living environment. From built-in cupboards and wardrobes to loft storage options, adequate storage solutions ensure you can efficiently store belongings and optimise space within the property. Consider the practicality and accessibility of storage areas to accommodate your possessions effectively while keeping the interior tidy and functional.

Utilities and Systems

When scrutinising a property's utilities and systems, it's essential to delve deep into each component to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free living experience. Here's a detailed exploration of three critical aspects:

Heating System

  • Boiler Type: Assess whether the property features a combi boiler, system boiler, or conventional boiler, considering their advantages and suitability for your needs.
  • Age: Determine the age of the boiler and radiators to anticipate potential maintenance or replacement costs shortly, ensuring long-term reliability.
  • Efficiency: Evaluate the heating system's energy efficiency rating to minimise utility bills and reduce environmental impact, prioritising modern, high-efficiency models.

Electrical Wiring

  • Inspection: Conduct a thorough inspection of the property's electrical wiring, focusing on sockets, switches, and light fixtures, to identify any signs of wear, damage, or non-compliance with safety standards.
  • Outdated Installations: Look for outdated wiring systems, such as knob-and-tube or aluminium wiring, which may pose fire hazards or require costly upgrades to meet current regulations.
  • Safety Measures: Ensure the presence of safety features such as residual current devices (RCDs) and circuit breakers to protect against electrical faults and minimise risks to occupants.


  • Water Pressure: Test the water pressure in taps and showers to assess the efficiency of the property's water supply system and ensure adequate pressure for everyday tasks.
  • Leak Detection: Look for signs of water leaks or dampness in areas such as under sinks, around toilets, and near appliances, indicating potential plumbing issues that require attention.
  • Drainage Functionality: Check the functionality of drains and gutters to ensure effective wastewater removal and prevent issues such as blockages or flooding, maintaining a hygienic and functional living environment.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

When considering a property's energy efficiency and sustainability, it's crucial to delve into various factors contributing to a greener and more cost-effective living environment. Here's a closer look at three essential aspects:

EPC Rating

  • Evaluation: Assess the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating to gauge the property's energy efficiency and estimate potential running costs. A higher rating signifies lower energy consumption and reduced utility bills.
  • Recommendations: Review the EPC report for recommendations on improving energy efficiency, such as installing energy-efficient lighting, upgrading insulation, or replacing old heating systems.
  • Long-Term Savings: Consider properties with higher EPC ratings. They often result in lower energy bills and reduced carbon emissions, contributing to long-term cost savings and environmental sustainability.


  • Walls, Roof, and Windows: Inspect adequate insulation in walls, roof spaces, and windows to minimise heat loss and improve thermal comfort within the property.
  • Energy Efficiency Measures: Look for properties with double-glazed windows, cavity wall insulation, and loft insulation, which help maintain a consistent indoor temperature and reduce the need for heating and cooling.
  • Thermal Performance: Consider the insulation materials used and their effectiveness in preventing heat transfer, ensuring the property remains energy-efficient throughout the year.

Renewable Energy Options

  • Solar Panels: Explore the potential for installing solar panels on the property's roof to harness renewable energy from the sun, reduce reliance on grid electricity, and lower utility bills.
  • Other Eco-Friendly Features: Investigate eco-friendly features, such as heat pumps, biomass boilers, or rainwater harvesting systems, which contribute to sustainability and reduce environmental impact.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Assess the upfront costs and long-term benefits of incorporating renewable energy options, considering government incentives, payback periods, and potential resale value.

Viewing Checklist Summary

In summarising the viewing checklist, it's crucial to reinforce the key points and emphasise the significance of thorough preparation and attention to detail when attending property viewings. Here's an expanded overview:

Recap of Essential Points

  • Location: Prioritise proximity to amenities, safety, and potential for future development.
  • Property Exterior: Assess structural integrity, outdoor space, and parking facilities.
  • Interior Features: Evaluate room layout, natural light, and storage space.
  • Utilities and Systems: Scrutinise heating, electrical wiring, and plumbing.
  • Energy Efficiency: Consider EPC rating, insulation, and renewable energy options.
  • Legal and Financial Considerations: Ensure property title, affordability, and budget for additional fees.

Importance of Thorough Inspections

  • Stress the importance of conducting thorough inspections during property viewings to identify potential issues or concerns.
  • Encourage prospective buyers to pay attention to the property's visible and hidden aspects and seek professional advice, if necessary, to assess structural, electrical, or plumbing systems.
  • Emphasise the role of property surveys and inspections in providing valuable insights into the property's condition and helping buyers make informed decisions.

Encouragement to Create a Personalised Checklist

  • Highlight the benefits of creating a personalised checklist tailored to individual preferences and priorities.
  • Suggest including specific criteria such as desired location, property size, layout preferences, and must-have features to streamline the property search process.
  • Encourage buyers to revisit their checklist regularly, updating it based on feedback from viewings and evolving preferences to ensure it accurately reflects their changing needs and priorities.

In conclusion, ensuring your comprehensive property viewing checklist is paramount to finding your dream home in Cambridge. Every detail matters, from assessing location and property features to evaluating utilities, energy efficiency, and legal considerations. At Redmayne Arnold and Harris, we've been selling and letting prime properties in and around Cambridge for over 30 years. 

Our dedicated teams in Cambridge City Centre, Great Shelford and Histon are here to assist you every step of the way. Contact us today at 01223 323 130 or email rah@rah.co.uk to begin your journey towards finding the perfect property in this vibrant and exciting city.

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