Pamela Moore is helping homebuyers feel at home.
After working for 20 years as an event planner at the University of Tennessee, Ms. Moore opened her own business, Impressive Spaces, which offers home staging for people trying to sell a house.
"I really enjoyed setting things up and I have always enjoyed interior design," she said.
Impressive Spaces provides consultations and helps sellers prepare the home to look spacious and inviting.
"You want a homebuyer to come in and feel at home without feeling like they will have to do much to it before moving in," she said.
Beth Lamfers used Ms. Moore's company when she moved from Nashville to Chattanooga last spring. She knows how well it can work.
"We had a ton of people looking at our house that weren't looking at any others," Ms. Lamfers said. "It presented really well and looked so good on the Internet."
Ms. Moore came in the house, moved some furniture around and made a list of other improvements ranging from adding a picture and touching up the paint.
"We did everything she told us to do," Ms. Lamfers said. "I would definitely use her again."
Ms. Moore opened her business in February, during the middle of a recession that dealt a blow to the housing market.
"The slowdown has affected the business because people are not putting their house on the market," Ms. Moore said. "Those with their house already on the market aren't getting many showings, so they don't want to invest any more money."
Ms. Moore said the price of her service varies depending on the distance she has to travel and the extent of service provided, but she insists the cost will come back in the selling price.
She said a period of sluggish home sales is the perfect time to use a home staging service to make a property stand out.
There are more than 5,300 homes for sale in Hamilton County and more than 2,000 listed in Bradley County, but Ms. Moore said she hopes tax credits will help things pick up soon.
Tax credits of up to $6,500 for existing homeowners are available for people who buy a new place after living in their current residence for at least five years. Also, another bill would extend a credit up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers.
Impressive Spaces will provide a two-hour consultation and go through every room and closet in the house making a detailed list of suggestions.
"With some homes, that's all it takes," she said.
Ms. Moore said she also is available to shop for new bedding or towels for clients who don't have the time, and she includes the exterior of a house in her consultation.
"I go over everything -- from curb appeal to every last detail," she said.