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-Top Tips from Black & Decker®-

Having worked as a senior sales consultant for one of London’s largest estate agents and now managing her own property portfolio, Property Developer Kate Bullock knows that when it comes to making the right impression it’s the little things that can make a big difference.

Whether your property is about to go on the market, the ‘For Sale’ sign has become a permanent fixture in the garden or you have made the decision to stay put and want to get the most from your home. Kate Bullock has teamed up with Black & Decker® to highlight three jobs that you can do in just a weekend to spruce up your home.

Property Developer, Kate Bullock, comments: “Curb side appeal has always been important, but with house prices faltering and unrest filtering through the market, sellers have to ensure that their property stands out from the crowd and that first impressions really count.

I have been on both sides of the fence, having worked as an estate agent and from managing the sale of my own properties. It has always surprised me that people put so much energy into setting the scene on the inside – filling the house with fresh flowers, baking bread and roasting coffee beans in the oven yet fail to think about what the buyer will actually see first, the front door and the surrounding area.

Just as the old saying goes, people judge the front of the house as they do a book by its cover. If the front door and window ledges are cracked and in bad order, a potential buyer may be made aware of further maintenance issues before even entering the house.

Creating the best first impression is not about spending a fortune, most jobs come under the DIY remit, but the trick is to focus efforts in the right area.”

1. Make your front door look like new in a weekend

Curb appeal and good first impressions start at the front door. The front door and porch area act as an invitation to buyers/visitors, it says a lot about you and is an indicator as to what they can expect to find inside. Re-painting the front door is the easiest and least expensive way to add punch to your entry.

How to:

• You will want to work when the weather is nice enough to leave the door propped open, but avoid excessive heat or direct sunlight

• Sand the door smooth remembering to always wear safety glasses. Painted exterior wood surfaces benefit from being stripped using a power sander, the Black & Decker® KA270 Multi-Sander is perfect for this kind of job. It boasts orbital, detail and random sanding action – making it ideal for the large surface areas as well as the more detailed parts of the door. Always hold the sander flat against the surface and apply even pressure

• Fill in cracks and rough edges - The Black & Decker® CG100 Powercaulk will speed up this job as it evenly distributes sealant and filler with minimal mess

• Before starting with the painting, lay newspaper under the door to prevent your brush picking up dust. Wedge the door in an open position to hold it steady

• Prime the door – allowing it to dry for a least three hours

• Apply your first topcoat, keep the door open at all times until completely dry. Apply the second coat the next day. When painting the door begin by coating the panels and follow the grain of the wood

Finishing touches:

• For the perfect finish why not update the door hardware, replacing tired house numbers and handles. Consider adding a few finishing touches to warm things up e.g. matching flower pots with colorful plants or a new welcome mat

2. Sprucing up external gates and railings

A rusty gate is no way to greet buyers, they will immediately start thinking – this place needs work. Flats in particular often have metal fences on outside staircases. These are often left to become tatty creating a negative first impression.

How to:

• With metal railings, the first thing to get rid of is the rust and old paint. The Powerfile® from Black & Decker® is a handy tool that removes rust and paint build up from metal railings. Remember to always wear safety glasses

• Once you have finished sanding, dust off and wipe down the surfaces. Apply two coats of rust-inhibiting primer and then apply topcoat. If you're using spray paint hold the spray nozzle 20 to 30 cm from your work and keep the can moving. To avoid drips, paint out of, not into, corners

3. Adding that ‘wow’ factor

If you want to update a tired room why not introduce a feature wall. It’s economical and easy to do. Although it probably won’t send your property value soaring through the roof, it will create a sense of sophistication that other properties might be short of. The chimney breast is an ideal place to have a feature wall because it’s usually the central focus.

How to:

• Lay dust sheets around the room to make clearing up much easier

• Remove paper before starting any other work. Do not use old wallpaper as a lining it will never give you the finish you need!

• Don’t make hard work for yourself stripping old wallpaper by hand. The Black & Decker® KX3300T Wallpaper Stripper will halve the time it takes to prepare your walls and will save you getting sore and blistered hands. Fill the stripper with water before plugging in, when it starts to steam, place flush to the wall

• Leave stripper in place for about 15-30 seconds, then move it along the wall and scrape paper off the wall. Work your way across the wall

• After the wall has been stripped, wash the surface to remove all traces of adhesive

• Check for cracks, these are best filled using a flexible filler, these come in a tube and require a sealant dispenser. The Black & Decker® CG100 Powercaulk® speeds up this job and allows for a smoother application

• Lining paper should be used on bare walls before any paper is hung; it creates an even surface for the final wall covering. First you need to "size" the wall. Fill a bucket with half water and half PVA, then brush the walls with the mixture and let it dry properly. When it comes to applying the wallpaper paste, it will attach itself to the glue and stick a lot better

• To hang lining paper and your final wallpaper, measure the height of the wall and cut a strip of paper about 10cm longer

• Draw a vertical pencil line on the wall surface of your chosen staring point, check and re-check using the Black & Decker® BDL230S Laser Level. This also has a pipe, wire and stud detector built in if you need to hand anything on the wall safely

• Cover the reverse side of paper well with paste. Carry the paper folded loosely over to the wall and up your step ladder position against the pencil guide line. Let the fold drop out and hold the top edge of the paper against the wall, with about 5cm overlapping on the ceiling and at the skirting

• When you are happy it is level, brush it down from the top removing any bubbles. Trim at the top and the bottom, brushing the edges tight against the ceiling and the skirting board. Finally using a clean damp sponge wipe away any excess paste – and repeat matching up any patterns

Forget all the horror stories about DIY disasters, home improvement projects can be really successful – just make sure you are prepared and that you think about all the steps involved. Small weekend projects have the potential to add value to your home and can genuinely make a difference in giving your house the ‘wow’ factor.


BLACK & DECKER® is a registered trademark of the Black & Decker Corporation.

Products mentioned:
Multisander, KA270K: SSP £40 – Stocked in Homebase
Powerfile, KA900E: SSP £50 – Stocked in B&Q
Powercaulk, CG100: SSP £29.99 – Stocked in B&Q
Wallpaper Stripper, KX3300T: SSP £35 – Stocked in B&Q
Laser/Detector, BDL230S-XJ: SSP £54.99 – stocked in Argos and B&Q

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