Comment: The stage is set, but is it worth the added effort or expense?

Property staging can add tens of thousands of pounds to your home's asking price. 

Property staging can add tens of thousands of pounds to your home's asking price. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Property staging: what do we think? 

If the experts are to be believed, a lick of paint and a few pieces of carefully positioned, apparently high end furniture can add a fortune to your home's asking price. 

But can we ever really know it's that that gave it the edge? 

About 15 years ago, we rented a house in Sydney. We'd only arrived in the country a few weeks earlier with just a couple of suitcases full of unseasonal clobber and zero furniture. So we raced to Ikea, bought a job lot of Billy bookcases and budget sofas and set about settling into our new life. 

Six months later, the letting agent told us the owner had decided to sell the house, and they wanted us out. For some mad reason, they thought the place would look better with a load of designer furniture in place of our flatpack specials. 

We were naturally curious to see what the staging experts had come up with, and a little perplexed to see it was basically just a lot of beige. 

Pine coffee table. Wicker kitchen chairs. Beige sofa. Cream armchair. Cushions in complementary shades of sand, fawn and oatmeal. 

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Yes, it looked polished but there wasn't a shred of personality to be seen. (I do however appreciate that the cluttered, budget furniture personality may have been even less appealing.)

Anyway, the house sold quickly for $1m. We'll never know if this was due to the 50 shades of beige or the selling points that were already there, such as the Harbour Bridge glimpses or the bonus garage (even if it was impossible to manoeuvre into it without losing a wing mirror).

Staging is big business, and can apparently boost your sale price by as much as £47,000. Obviously, this is region dependent: in some parts of the UK that would be the price of the actual house.

As a rule of thumb, Benham and Reeves suggest setting your staging budget at one per cent of your property's value, so £2,642 of the average UK home (and considerably more in St Albans or Harpenden). 

If done correctly, they say staging can add 10 per cent to your home's asking price. 
It doesn't necessarily require the help of a professional outfit, but if you're unsure which clutter to cull, which walls to repaint and which dodgy furniture to shift into storage, there are options. 

But you'll probably never know for sure if that got you the price you were after, or if the location, facade or something else would have done the job without any of the added extras.

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