Property Q&A: Down-valued, sealed bids, main road

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Q: The house we want to buy has been down-valued by the surveyor by £20,000 for no apparent reason, other than there is nothing to compare it to. We feel it is worth the extra money but cannot afford to borrow any more to make up the shortfall. Can we do anything? Alex Parry, by e-mail

A: It's really up to your lender. Will they look at another independent valuation or any other evidence you can gather? If not, see if the vendor will compromise on the price. You may have to use all your savings or budget for doing up the house if you really want it, or borrow the money from elsewhere – but this will be at a cost you say you cannot afford.

Q: We recently went to sealed bids on a house we wanted to buy. We didn't get it but we suspect foul play or at least insider information given to the successful bidder by the estate agent. What action can I take? S Lane, by e-mail

A: Get all your facts straight, then approach the most senior member of the agency with your complaint. If you are unable to resolve the matter and the agent is a member of the National Association of Estate Agents, register your complaint with their compliance officer (01926 496800, If the agent is a member of the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (01722 333306) you may be able to get advice on your next step. Don't hold out much hope: proving your case may be very hard.

Q: We have seen the house of our dreams but it is on a main road. Is this a problem? Carey Duke, by e-mail

A: Your main problems will be traffic noise and pollution. At the moment windows are closed so you may not have noticed the noise inside, especially if the house is double-glazed. But you will in the summer, and if the road is very busy you may get a black deposit from petrol fumes through open windows. It is not all doom and gloom, however. Some live quite happily on main roads but bear in mind that if you want to re-sell it may take longer. Consider these questions: how long do the busy periods last and, as some bedrooms will be at the front of the house, what is it like at night? If there is off-street parking, will it be difficult to leave or enter the traffic flow? Is there a bus stop outside or commercial premises that would increase traffic noise at certain times? The further the house is set back from the road, the better.

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