The Florida Association of Realtors is sponsoring a statewide open-house event the weekend of April 10-11, reports The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla.

Realtors hope to jump-start sales before the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credits, the paper said. To collect a credit of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers and up to $6,500 for repeat buyers, homebuyers have until April 30 to sign a contract on a home and until June 30 to close the transaction.

"I think it’s going to be a great opportunity, because there will be so much publicity statewide, and there will be so many sellers," Pam Atkins of Century 21 Atkins Realty Inc., told the newspaper. Her company will have at least 18 houses featured in the event.

Regional Realtor associations have pledged hundreds of listings to be open for the event and will mark each house with blue balloons displaying the Realtor logo.

The Florida statewide association got the idea for the statewide open house from the Washington Association of Realtors, which reported a 10 percent increase in sales after its own event in June 2009. Georgia and New Jersey are also planning large-scale open-house events, the paper said.

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