PHIL Spencer has revealed his three top tips for anyone involved in the housing market.

The trained surveyor unleashed 20 years of knowledge about the property sector.

The co-presenter of Channel 4's Location, Location, Location urgedhomeowners to focus on what they can control when it comes to buying a home and to plan ahead when deciding where to buy.

Meanwhile, he told readers in his latest Telegraph column to not panic about prices or focus too hard on elements out of their control such as interest rates.

It comes with the Bank of England base rate at 5.25%, which has seen mortgage rates soar from historic lows.

Focus on what you can control

When it comes to buying a home, Phil said to gather as much evidence about the property before making a purchase.

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That means asking as many questions as possible to avoid falling into any traps further down the line.

There will be things you discover after buying a home, but it's always worth talking to neighbours and asking if they've had any issues that could crop up in the home you're looking at.

For example, if you're buying one out of a row of terraced houses, it's likely if any of those have experienced problems, yours will too.

A lot of the time, a neighbour is more likely to reveal key information which will be of use compared to an estate agent.

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Beyond this, there are a number of other checks you can do to ensure you're not caught out after moving in.

First, look out for signs of damp. The biggest giveaway signs are a mouldy smell, flaky plaster and watermarked walls or ceilings.

Second, take a note of the storage available. You might not see it as a priority but you'll need space to keep your vacuum cleaner, towels and any boxes of junk.

Third, getting a survey done will flag any issues with the home and know what needs attention.

They can cost a few hundreds pounds, but could save you from buying a home riddled with issues.

Make sure you find out what the EPC rating of your home is too – this reveals how energy efficient it is.

"A" is the highest rating a home can have, while G is the lowest – so anything near the lower end might be worth a swerve.

Meanwhile, while you can't control interest rates on your mortgage rising, you can control your response to them.

If you're coming to the end of a fixed-term deal and mortgage rates are due to go up, it might be worth locking in a new price now.

In most cases, you can lock in a new rate six months before your current home loan is due to expire.

Buy for the future

Phil revealed his biggest gripe is when buyers don't plan enough into the future when buying a home.

That means opting for a home that might seem appropriate now, but won't be in a few years' time.

For example, a young couple buying their first home might look at somewhere with an easy commute, close to friends and a favourite pub.

But it might be more worthwhile opting for one that suits your longer-term needs better.

That means thinking five years ahead when buying a property, he said.

For example, a young couple might have to pay a premium to live in a family-friendly area but prices on these types of homes tend to stay consistent.

Plus, thinking five years ahead could help you avoid having to relocate soon after moving into a home and having to fork out on stamp duty again.

You can make your budget stretch when it comes to buying a home too, by getting help from any number of schemes.

The list is almost endless.

You can get help buying your first home through the First Homes scheme, which gives first-time buyers the chance to buy their home at a 30% discount.

Or, you can get a 5% deposit on a home through the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, for example.

But bear in mind, all the schemes have advantages and disadvantages and one might suit you better than another.

There's a useful guide on the HomeOwners Alliance's website detailing all the Government schemes available.

Don't panic about prices

Unless you're looking to sell, it's not worth fretting too much about the value of your home, Phil said.

Even if you are looking to up sticks and sell, the market is always moving fast and you can sit out and wait on any dips.

But the same principle goes for any uptick in the value of your home.

Phil added: "If your house goes up in value by 25% it doesn’t mean you can go on holiday or buy a fancy car, it is paper money."

Phil's top three tips came as he urged readers to not focus their attentions too much on the things you can't control.

That means not paying too much attention to interest rates, the cost of building works on a home and…making builders go faster.

It comes with the Bank of England's base rate at 5.25% which has seen mortgage rates soar from historic lows.

But the central bank's recent decision to keep the rate at 5.25% has seen Santander announce rate reductions and new deals.

The major bank followed Nationwide, which slashed its mortgage rates following the BoE's interest rate decision last week.



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In other news, a couple have revealed how they saved £7k for their first home using a work savings scheme.

Plus, two first-time buyers on buying their dream £450,000 house with help from a "lifeline" small deposit scheme.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.

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