Living in Charlotte County Florida

Find the perfect home in sunny southwest, Florida


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Places to buy a Halloween costume

Believe it or not, the Halloween costumes, candy, decorations, and accessories are already available in most local stores in Port Charlotte, Florida.  It’s not too early to start your shopping.

Are you going to a costume party?  Does your child need a costume for Halloween?  For costumes you may want to visit the holiday isle at WaMart, Target, K-Mart, or Big Lots.  These stores have costume accessories, costumes for men, women, boys, girls and even pets.  And don’t forget to pick up your party supplies while you are there.

If you want a store that specializes in just Halloween costumes, you can go to Spirit Halloween.  It is located in the Tarpon Plaza, 2651 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, Florida.  Store hours vary, so it is best to give them a call to see when they are open at 941-626-9748.  You can also shop online to see what they have available at http://www.spirithalloween.com/.

Another option is LTM Party which is located at 1931 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, Florida.  Their hours are Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  You can also shop online at http://www.ltmparty.com///home.aspx?Tg=207683&Dv=20&Dpt=20000&Sb=0&Vdr=&Itm=&MDv=0&MDpt=0&MSb=0&Pc=.  Be sure to check out their Halloween clearance items.

Do you like to dress up your pet for Halloween?  Some people come up with pretty clever and creative costumes for their pets.  In Port Charlotte you can check out some of the available costumes at Petco, PetSmart, and Pet Supermarket.  Or go to their online stores http://www.petco.com/, http://www.petsmart.com, and http://www.petsupermarket.com/.

It will be interesting to see what the most popular costumes are this year for Halloween.  Ready or not, it is right around the corner.  Have fun and stay safe!


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Mortgage forgiveness about to expire

Short sale homes

Did you know that there was a law enacted in 2007 that does not allow the IRS to tax forgiven money on a principal residence such as in the case of a short sale?  This law is set to expire on December 31, 2012.  Congress could agree to extend the tax forgiveness, but it may not happen.

Currently in a short sale situation when the homeowner owes more money than the house is worth, the mortgage lender will forgive some of the debt and the homeowner does not have to pay taxes on the amount of the debt up to $2 million.   Without the tax law, the IRS sees that forgiven money as income and could tax it accordingly.

This situation leaves at-risk homeowners in a sticky situation if they are planning to list their home as a short sale.  Most short sale transactions take three months or more to close.  So you can see time is running out.  Homeowners who are thinking about listing their home as a short sale may have enough time to attract a buyer and close before the year ends, but then again, they may not.  It is a good idea for anyone who is considering listing their home as a short sale to contact a tax professional, a real estate attorney, and a real estate agent to review your options for a short sale or a foreclosure.

In southwest Florida there are still a large number of homes listed as short sales. Go the the local MLS at http://myfloridahomesmls.com/ and run a search in your area of interest. You can do an advanced search and select the box for short sale.

To read more about this go to the IRS web page on The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/The-Mortgage-Forgiveness-Debt-Relief-Act-and-Debt-Cancellation-.


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Cultural Center of Charlotte County, Inc. – The place that friendship built

The Cultural Center of Charlotte County is located at 2280 Aaron Street, Port Charlotte, FL.  Their mission is to enhance the educational, recreational, physical and mental well-being of the citizens of Charlotte County and beyond.  The center has a theater, learning place, café, and shopping.

The facility relies on volunteers and donations to support the events and activities.  Although the center is very popular with retirees and offers are variety of programs specifically geared towards seniors, it is open to persons of all ages.  You do not have to be a member to attend some of the activities, but being a member offers benefits.  The membership fee is $25 for an individual membership or $40 for a family membership.  As a member you will receive their monthly newsletter, 10% off any purchase of $1.00 or more in their retail shops, and members only pricing at the learning place, fitness salon and theater.

Volunteer opportunities are always available as a retail sales associate, information desk greeter, the learning place, food service and as a sales liaison.  For more information contact the volunteer office at 941-625-4175, extension 246.

The retail shops include trash and treasure, gift shop, furniture and electronics and a country store.  The learning place offers computer classes and general classes.  The café is open daily and offers breakfast and lunch.  The theater offers all types of shows and events from musicians, comedians, authors, speakers and more.  The fitness salon has a variety of exercise equipment to help keep you fit.

For a calendar of events and more information about the programs and services provided at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County, visit their web page at http://www.theculturalcenter.com/index.html.