Long serving estate agent Geraldine White celebrates 30 years with Greenslade Taylor Hunt this January.

Self-deprecating Geraldine describes herself as part of the furniture at the Chard office, but she is a key member of this tight knit team.

Now Assistant Manager she has worked with Administrator Debbie Davis for 20 years. Between them  they know just about everyone in the town.

“Chard office has always been a close knit office and residential a very strong team, “ said Geraldine.

In the early days of computers three staff members needed to huddle over one computer. Shifts in technology have helped and hindered the selling process.

Where emails provoke an instant response some parts of the sales journey have become sluggish with solicitors, surveys, jumpy lenders and the Land Registry all slowing the outcome.

In previous times contracts would be exchanged and a completion date would follow in 28 days, but now they tend to happen in one go.

“People are expected to fly by the seat of their pants. There’s no security in the system. They don’t know when to book removals. People can walk away on a whim,” Geraldine said.

She says buyers are less practical and can be deterred if a survey throws up the slightest problem.

“They get frightened off by things. There’s no such thing as a risk free life,” added Geraldine.

The pandemic has focussed attention on homes and what people want from their property. Geraldine has witnessed the under 50s realising they can work from home and home school their children, provided the broadband is robust. They are looking for a sense of community and the rural villages around Chard are a big draw.

Older movers are also reassessing their priorities and looking to be closer to extended family.

“People are moving into and out of the area. A lot of sales have been for family reasons. We have an elderly client moving back to Sunderland, who is looking forward to being able to use her bus pass,” said Geraldine.

Estate agency is a passion for Geraldine and being unable to work when the property industry was shut in the first lockdown was a wrench.

She spent more time walking and riding her two Arab horses, her semi-retired mare, Sateer and her new acquisition, Emeer. A keen horsewoman Geraldine hopes to take part in an endurance ride with Emeer soon.