ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Board of Realtors is making an active effort to create a boost in the area housing market.
As part of the Nationwide Open House Weekend event, roughly 50 houses in Albany, Lee County and the surrounding areas will be available to view on Saturday and Sunday for members of the public looking at purchasing a new home.
"We encourage the public to participate," Board President Allan Willcox said.
Blue balloons will be on display to indicate which homes are participating in the event. Agents will be on duty inside the homes to answer questions about that particular house and the details of buying and selling a home in the current market.
"This is the first nationwide open house; all the local boards are having an open house," Board Public Relations Chair Gary Eller said.
The open houses are being conducted two weeks before the homebuyer tax credit deadline. Buyers must have a home under contract by April 30 and close within 60 days in order to receive the federal tax credits. First-time buyers can receive up to $8,000 in credits, and other buyers may be qualified to receive up to $6,500.
Officials say the tax credit has been successful in getting the area housing market on its feet. Last month, there were closures on 71 homes.
"We've got some first-time buyers looking," Willcox said. "It (the tax credit) has generated some activity."
There are additional government programs incoming to assist people interested in purchasing a home, Eller said.
"Now is the time to buy a house," he said. "This economy is geared toward the housing market. Take your mama and kids out and find your dream home."
Consumers wishing to learn more about buying and selling a home are encouraged to visit www.openhousegeorgia.org. To find an open house in the area, visit www.realtor.com or www.albanygamls.com.