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Palm Coast Friday, Aug. 4, 2017 1 year ago

Leave it to Lucy: Local staging business seeing progress in second year

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Lucy Casto Val, the owner of Leave it to Lucy Home Staging, didn't make a profit in her first year of business. Now, that's starting to change.
by: Ray Boone Sports Editor

Lucy Castro Val has enough furniture in her inventory to fill almost 12 houses.

Val, a home stager by profession, has invested thousands of dollars in buying furniture to give life to vacant homes on the market.

But in her own home?

“That’s a whole other story,” she joked. “Staging is not real life at all. I love my house, but it’s too messy for my liking thanks to my 4-year-old daughter.”

Val, who moved to Palm Coast from Toronto four years ago, started Leave it to Lucy Home Staging about a year and a half ago, and after tough hurdles at the start, is starting to see the fruits of her labor.

“The first year I was in business, I didn’t make a cent,” she said. “This is only my second year, and I’m just starting to make a profit from this because everything that I earned before was just going toward inventory. So now I’m getting to a point where I can have a really great stock of inventory and mix-and-match things.

“It’s starting to become fun for me.”

Val said she got her start in staging homes three years ago, when she helped stage homes for her mother — a realtor — as a side job.

Val has staged about 50 homes since establishing her businesses. She is currently staging 10 homes all at once. She uses two 450-square-foot storage spaces to store her vast collection of furniture and said that as her collection continues to grow, moving into a warehouse will be the next step.

“The little stuff is actually the hardest to organize,” Val said. “You definitely need to be organized to be a stager.”

Val said she usually charges 1% of the listing price when she stages a house, typically exceeding $2,000.

“The biggest difficulty is getting people to understand that staging is not an expense, it’s an investment,” she said. “It’s going to sell your house faster, and you’ll have less days on the market. You’re going to get a higher offer in most cases. You’re going to spend a couple grand, but you’re probably going to make a whole lot more.

“Trying to get people to understand that has been a challenge.”

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