Questions every first-time buyer should ask

Published by Emma Lunn on 06 May 2010.
Last updated on 25 August 2011


Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) chairman Malcolm Hurlston says homes should be sold with a health warning, adding those with homes were most likely to get into debt.

Speaking to members of the credit industry, Hurlston said first-time mortgages should be sold after study and an exam. He said that the people most likely to get into debt in the UK were those on low incomes who wrongly embarked on home ownership, and that some form of tuition should be considered before some people were allowed mortgages.

Pre-buying education is given to some buyers in the US who get free or low-cost advice on buying a home, renting, default, repossession and credit issues.

Although Hurlston’s plans are unlikely to be adopted in the UK in the foreseeable future, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions before borrowing money whether it be a mortgage, loan or credit card.

So what five questions should you ask yourself before borrowing:

1. What’s the interest rate?
Before any kind of borrowing it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting the cheapest credit available.

2. Can I afford the repayments?
Borrowers should also consider whether they could still afford their repayments in certain circumstances. For example, if you had a tracker mortgage and interest rates rose.

3. What would happen if I lost my job?
There are various types of protection or insurance policies such as accident, sickness and unemployment cover that can protect you in certain situations.

4. What would happen if I fell behind on my payments?
If you fall behind on mortgage repayments then you risk losing your home. If you take out a secured or homeowner loan you also run the risk of your home being repossessed.


5. Do I really need to borrow money?
In most cases you’ll need a mortgage to buy a home but other types of borrowing aren’t always necessary. If you’re thinking about taking out a credit card or loan to buy something non-essential, consider saving up the money instead.


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