This is often called 'staging' or 'house doctoring'. We live in an era where appearance is everything.
Fashions in interiors have become almost as ephemeral as those in clothes. Buying a house is, for many, no longer a question of 'How many bedrooms do I need?' or 'Does it have a downstairs loo?' Today, a potential buyer or renter, especially if he is under 40, is more likely to want to buy into a lifestyle as to purchase or rent mere bricks and mortar. You can have gracefully proportioned rooms, great space, a fine garden where the children can be happy and safe from dawn to dusk, but it can count for less than it should when it comes to selling or letting your house. (While 'selling' is referred to throughout, the same principles apply to letting.)
If the front is adorned with stone cladding, you have carpet in your bathroom and a pair of adorable garden gnomes in your rockery, you have already knocked thousands off the value of your home. 'Naff' is a term of abuse levelled at patterned carpets, the Spanish dolls your children brought back from holidays and the net curtains which stop the neighbours watching your every move. Perhaps I am overstating the case but this is no laughing matter.
A recent survey carried out for the bbc programme The Million Pound Property Experiment has revealed that you can do serious damage to the value of your property by putting it on the market sporting some of these features. While no similar study has been done in this country, 'aesthetic correctness' like its close relative, 'political correctness', is a force to be reckoned with throughout the developed world. Was it the economist John Kenneth Galbraith who said that in an affluent society people can no longer distinguish between luxuries and necessities?
We also live in a society where it seems the more money we have, the less time we can spare for activities like doing up our homes. People under 40 are now, by and large, in households where both partners work. Home maintenance is the last thing they want to do when they come home after a long, working day. Places that are ready to move into are at a premium. For many younger buyers the ideal would be to personalise the space merely by hanging their own pictures and arranging the music collection. Remember If we are in the business of selling our property we have to do our best to give the buyer what he wants.