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(Pocket-lint) - So you want a new mobile phone, but you've decided you want a refurbished phone instead. After all, it's less expensive and, assuming it comes from a reputable source it offers a lot of benefits, such as being checked over for any blemishes, tested, cleaned and repaired if necessary.

So what are the five most important things to look out for when you're sizing up your purchase? 

1 Choose a reputable seller

This is the most important tip of all. It's not to say there aren't legitimate refurbished phones from all sorts of sellers, but trusting who you buy from is important and means you can be sure the phone isn't stolen, say. There are horror stories of people buying a phone only to find someone else's data is still on it - a clear sign that it hasn't been checked over and restored to factory settings. A company such as Quick Mobile Fix will rigorously test every phone it sells.

2 Accessorize or not to accessorize?

When you buy a refurbished phone you can often choose to buy just the handset on its own - after all, you may have a few old chargers knocking around and don't need any more, thank you very much. But if you opt for a phone with a charger, headphones and so on, they should be the right ones, factory-issued and with the right connectors and the right charging plug. Again, a reputable seller can confirm that it has the right bits to go with the phone. Some sellers supply a handset, especially if it comes on its own, in a box that isn't the original. That's fine, it just indicates the original owner didn't keep the box. 

3 Check it's unlocked

There's no point in buying a refurbished phone if, when you get it, you find it's locked to a particular network. After all, one of the benefits of buying refurbished is that you're not tied into a contract and can change your network or data plan. Most networks agree to unlock phones but there can be a fee involved. When you're buying refurbished you shouldn't have to pay this. And even if it's locked to the network you're on, this could affect resale value later on. 

4 Check the warranty

If you've gone to a reputable retailer then it should come with a warranty, so check this before purchasing. Depending on the model, Quick Mobile Fix offers a warranty between 60 days and 12 months. It additionally offers a 14-day money back guarantee so you can send it back if you're not happy with it. 

5 What quality are you after?

There are different grades for refurbished phones. If you're buying Grade A, you should be hard put to see much difference from a new phone - there should only be very minor signs of wear and tear. Lower-grade phones will have more in the way of scratches or light dents, but this will be reflected in a lower purchase price. Again, a reputable seller will guide you as to what to expect.

There are more things to consider of course. Are you really wedded to a particular colour or model? Maybe there's a premium attached to that snazzy gold colour or that super-sized screen and adjusting your expectations can save more. Have you tried the phone in your hand? Some of the latest models can be appealing but turn out to be just too big for some hands so if you get a chance to try one out for size in a phone shop before you buy (from the shop or elsewhere) can help you decide.

Above all, the first tip above is the most important: choose the right, reputable seller first and the rest should be plain sailing.