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Things to consider before you buy

Buying your home is probably the biggest financial decision you will ever make, so take time to consider whether it is the right choice for you.

For example, you may need to get a loan or mortgage to enable you to exercise the Right to Buy. You will also become responsible for all the costs of maintaining your home, including routine repairs, major structural repairs, and improvements to it. If you become a leaseholder by buying your flat, you should be aware that you will have to pay service charges each year, and also meet the costs of major repairs and refurbishment which can be substantial.

As a tenant, you may be able to claim housing benefit to help with your rent. As an owner-occupier, you will not receive any housing benefit to help with your mortgage costs. You may be entitled to income support to assist with housing costs, but this is not usually payable for 39 weeks after you first claim it.

If you are elderly and own your home, its value may be taken into account in assessing whether you are eligible for financial help with the costs of residential care.

If you need advice on any aspect of the Right to Buy scheme, contact your landlord first. If you are approached by a person or company offering to help you buy your council home, check out what’s in it for them and talk to your landlord before signing up to any deal.