In my 40 years selling houses I must have visited every village and hamlet within a 20 mile radius of Taunton and stepped over the threshold of well over ten thousand thresholds in providing appraisals to many more thousands of sellers.

Although some may be a little hazy over the passage of time, I haven’t forgotten many of my visits. When summoned to provide an appraisal for an elderly couple in Hemyock, high up on the Blackdown Hills, a few weeks ago, I recalled undertaking a similar task at a pretty old cottage in the sleepy little village of Clayhidon a few years earlier and I’ll never forget my hosts greeting, “Good morning Mr Willey - every year my garden’s getting bigger, I can’t cope anymore, can you help?”

It was clear, judging by the unkempt state of the large surrounding plot, that it had become all too much to look after and the sorry state inside the place emphasised the need for some sound advice to help the gentleman sell up to find somewhere more manageable, in a location to suit his needs in his advancing years.

This situation has since become all too common - made worse by leaving it much too late. I’ve found myself in too many situations where retirees, especially when coping with declining health, have found themselves trying to manage houses and gardens which are far too big and in deteriorating condition, with no help available, in remote locations and, in many cases, with depleting funds causing financial hardship.

As we progress into a New Year, with longer days and hopefully better weather to look forward to, if there’s anyone out there faced with similar sorry situations, don’t despair – your situation can be resolved and most likely far more easily than you fear. Experienced and caring estate agents and solicitors are readily available to assess your needs and help you plan the way ahead for a far more comfortable life – there’s no time like the present, all you need to do is pick up the phone and call.

Chris Willey is an Independent Property Appraiser and welcomes enquiries on Taunton 01823 412661