Market snapshot: Heritage Oaks Golf and Country Club


The entrance to the Heritage Oaks Golf & Country Club, a gated, private golf-course community on Bee Ridge Extension east of Interstate 75, has two lake fountains framing a stone wall displaying its name. It promises natural beauty, well-kept landscaping and a picturesque living environment.


The interior delivers on that promise.

golf2With 25 lakes and three enormous preserves, wildlife abounds there. Sandhill cranes cross the winding streets; deer graze near the curbs; and boar, bobcat and all kinds of birds populate the grasslands and lush, subtropical sanctuaries. Recognized for its environmental excellence, Heritage Oaks was designated as a Certified Audubon Society Sanctuary.

Heritage Oaks was developed by US Home, starting in 1996, on 500 acres. Over the last eight years, 850 single-family homes, villas and condos were built looking out on spacious, gently rolling golf links or an extensive network of lakes.

The community is divided into two sections. As you drive past the gate that is guarded round the clock and toward the central clubhouse, the single-family residences, paired villas and free-standing “patio homes” — small houses — are on the right. To the left are “club homes” — six-unit villas — and “verandas” — two-story buildings with two-bedroom condos upstairs and downstairs. Many have been renovated and have new appliances and granite counter tops in their kitchens.

“There is a wide range of buying opportunities here, from $150,000 to $170,000 for the Veranda units, up to half a million dollars for the single-family homes,” said Tony DiCerbo, a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Co.”

He and his business partner, Arlene Mitchell, are the assigned Realtors for the community. They work out of an on-site Saunders office; Mitchell lives there; DiCerbo used to and still owns properties there. Over 17 years they have been involved in more than 400 total resales. “Seventy-five percent of what happens in Heritage Oaks goes through this office,” DiCerbo said.

He loves the attractive landscaping in the neighborhoods. All of the villas are maintenance-free, at least for irrigation and lawn care. The 69 houses are not, but owners take good care of their properties. “They look like they came out of the ground six months ago,” DiCerbo said.

Heritage Oaks is a bundled community.

All residents are required to become members of the golf club. They pay a one-time, $3,500 capital contribution and an annual master association fee of $5,425. Depending on the neighborhood and maintenance agreement (some include roof repair and exterior repainting), overall annual fees range up to $8,565.

The great benefit of the arrangement is that the community is debt-free and has a good reserve. “We felt the housing crisis — values of homes came down, but we never had financial difficulties with the golf course, as did so many other communities,” DiCerbo said.

In 2006, at the height of the financial crisis, the course was redesigned by famed links architect Ron Garl. The greens were replaced, new bunkers and tees added and overall contouring improved. The four tennis courts, the fitness center and the clubhouse were renovated, as well.

With more than two thirds of the residents away for the hot summer months — they are secondary homeowners from the Midwest, Canada and Europe — the community is quiet now. But things pick up in season. “From October through April, this is an amazing place,” DiCerbo said.

The clubhouse offers a host of activities, including bridge, bingo, bunko, a writing club, bowling outings and more. The five heated pools throughout the community are crowded with bathers and people relaxing in the sun. The fitness center is so busy that the master association has decided to double its size next year.

Although, Heritage Oaks is several miles east of I-75, it is close to many amenities. Residents take advantage of the proximity of Rothenbach Park just down the road, as well as a new shopping area across from the park entrance that has a Publix and other stores.

I-75 is a five minutes away, along with restaurants, banks, shops and Doctors Hospital at Bee Ridge Road and Cattlemen. Siesta Beach is a 20-minute drive.

Because there are so many villas, Heritage Oaks, more than some other golfing communities, welcomes renters and makes a point of that on its website. The Veranda condos are especially popular and can be rented on a monthly basis.

Thirty residences have been sold since January: 11 Veranda condos from $159,000 to $184,000; 13 villas from $216,000 to $314,995; and four single-family homes from $339,900 to $459,900.

Now, 19 residences are on the market — six Veranda condos from $147,500 to $199,000; 10 villas from $160,000 to $319,000; and three homes from $260,000 to $479,900.


Last modified: August 9, 2014
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