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Try Before You Buy

Purchasing a new home requires a big commitment—both time and money. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could try one before you buy it?

You get to test-drive a car and try on clothes before making a decision, so why not do the same with a home?

At Heritage Harbor Ottawa, we want prospective buyers to know what their everyday lives will be like in one of our homes and within the greater Ottawa community, which is why we offer the opportunity to rent a home before buying it. Families can spend a weekend or even a whole week in a home before making a purchasing decision, giving them time to become familiar with the development and explore the surrounding area.

Custom Home Sites At Heritage Harbor Ottawa

Waterfront Home Sites at Heritage Harbor Ottawa

By spending time in a home, you can experience all the little things that may not come up in a shorter visit or that you may not even consider until you stay overnight. How loud is the dishwasher? Where does the sunlight shine in at different times of the day? How strong is the water pressure in the shower? Nuances like these can make or break a home, and having the chance to discover them beforehand will put your mind at ease.

In addition to learning more about the inside of your prospective home, utilizing Heritage Harbor’s “try before you buy” option allows you to explore the community. We want people to fall in love with all of Heritage Harbor Ottawa­ – the marina, the downtown area and the people – not just the bricks and mortar.

During your stay, you can mingle with your potential neighbors and discuss their experiences living in Heritage Harbor. You can go into town and ask the baristas at the local coffee shop for their opinions on the best restaurants, shops and scenic spots in the area. Your family can also take advantage of the many year-round recreational activities available in Ottawa and Starved Rock Country, including kayaking, hiking, horseback riding and even skydiving.

After you try one of the homes and spend time in the area, you will realize why Heritage Harbor Ottawa is becoming the premier marina resort in the Midwest. Review Our Homes page on our website to see the selection of cottages, townhouses and custom-designed homes, and don’t hesitate to schedule a “test drive” so the homes can speak for themselves.

Pocket Neighborhoods, Traditional Neighborhood Development and Cottage Living

Heritage Harbor Ottawa is being developed in the finest tradition of some of America’s most iconic & memorable communities. We believe that a sense of “community” has more to do with quality than with quantity and we strive to see that value reflected in everything we do. Whether our customer is a passionate boater , a full-time resident or simply seeking to spend the weekends at a vacation cottage, we want Heritage Harbor to be the place they call “home”.

The Heritage Harbor development vision focuses on developing a community with a broad spectrum of attractive homes, timeless architecture, walk-able neighborhoods, a world-class marina, dining, events, activities, adventure and amenities.    Heritage Harbor is “new urbanism”, “pocket neighborhoods“, and “traditional neighborhood development“.

Recently the Chicago Tribune published an article that highlights some of the benefits and features offered by Pocket Neighborhoods.  Ross Chapin is a well known architect from Washington’s Whidbey Island and he is helping developers with “re-envisioning” the traditional neighborhood.  According to Mary Beth Breckenridge’s article, “Chapin believes people are longing for simpler lives with more interpersonal connection.” 

“It’s the kind of existence he knew when growing up on a Minnesota lakeshore, in a neighborhood steeped in what he called ‘porch culture’-a culture where people had reason to venture outside their homes, where children could roam free and where neighbors interacted on a regular basis.”  At Heritage Harbor Ottawa…we feel the same way.  If you would like to read the article, please follow this link to the Chicago Tribune website.  Chicago Tribune article on Pocket Neighborhoods

Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a 142 acre master-planned, marina, resort community located at the gateway to Starved Rock Country in Ottawa, Illinois on a 32 acre harbor with water-frontage to the scenic Illinois Waterway. Heritage Harbor is uniquely positioned to offer a unique resort lifestyle to residents and guests.  The community is located less than ninety minutes from downtown Chicago, Rockford, Bloomington, Peoria and less than two hours from Champaign-Urbana.  The Starved Rock Country area is recognized and well-regarded as a “getaway” location for people in Illinois & throughout the Midwest.  The combination of recreational amenities & accessibility make Ottawa an ideal location for a premier resort community.

As resort developers and “place creators”, Heritage Harbor is striving to deliver a memorable and enduring resort community development project.  Heritage Harbor has already constructed one of the Midwest’s finest marinas.  Heritage Harbor has established a strong brand and a reputation for delivering a world class resort lifestyle.  Through hard work, strong leadership, diligent planning and continuous innovation, Heritage Harbor Ottawa continues to build a world class resort community.  We believe that concepts like “Pocket Neighborhoods” and “Traditional Neighborhood Development” not only produce a more appealing streetscape…but a more appealing lifestyle.

 

Living Larger in Smaller Homes Movement Gains Popularity

An emerging real estate movement is redefining the average American vacation home — the Not So Big House movement.

Recently, resort community Heritage Harbor Ottawa was a sponsor of the design series weekend “Living Large … in a not so big house,” in Naperville, IL, which hosted architect Sarah Susanka. The well-known architect was behind the launch of the “Not So Big” movement of house design, which means making homes better, not bigger.

Susanka says the market reflects a need for smaller, better-designed houses because they return the qualities customers seek, which include a sense of home and high quality craftsmanship. It’s not more square footage and ever-expanding ceilings that give a sense of comfort or a great community.

“When someone buys a Mercedes Benz or Jaguar, they look for quality, comfort, and detail,” Susanka tells Architecture Week. “Size has nothing to do with the appeal of these cars. If you wanted nothing but space, you could buy a truck. Why is it, then, that some people feel compelled to buy huge houses with empty, cathedral-like spaces that offer few comforts of home?”

The idea of that a sense of “home” having more to do with quality than quantity is also reflective in the waterfront homes at Heritage Harbor Ottawa. The resort resides in historic Ottawa, Ill., in the center of Starved Rock Country — also a target location for a Baby Boomer generation on the hunt for an adventure lifestyle.

There are a range of waterfront properties at Heritage Harbor, which also has a full-service marina with more than 450 boat slips, restaurant on-site, in-ground pool, walking path and year-round events. At Heritage Harbor there are well-designed, beautiful houses — whether used as a vacation or primary home — to fit everyone’s lifestyle. There are single-family cottages, row homes, Cape Cod inspired town homes, coach homes and more. All are designed for a lifetime of low-maintenance, such as maintenance-free exteriors, so not only is quality chosen over quantity, there are resort amenities at your disposable and the resort is in a prime location — there’s less daily stress to deal with.

And according to 2011 data, many Boomers are avoiding possible later stress now by jumping on and seizing real estate opportunities.

MarketWatch.com reported in September 2011 that many in the Boomer generation are deciding to buy a vacation home now that will eventually become their primary residence. In 2010, the National Association of Realtors reported that 34 percent of people who purchased vacation homes planned on using it as their primary home at some point in the future.

Plus, it’s just a good investment, says George Harvey, resort and second home chairman for the National Association of Realtors.

Last month, Harvey told the Charleston Business Journal that many second-home buyers start out as repeat vacationers before venturing into the real estate market. When they do invest in a vacation home it’s not only for personal pleasure, he says, as many Boomers aren’t retiring completely, but instead transitioning to part-time work. Real estate is viewed as an investment for the future.

“We’re in a perfect place for real estate investment (in the resort market),” Harvey said. “The worst is behind us and the upside is looking good.”

Ottawa, Illinois, and Heritage Harbor is the ideal place to start the next phase of life for those looking to make life transition, while making a smart investment. The locale of Ottawa in La Salle County fills all of the needs for those living or vacationing at Heritage Harbor as it does for anyone wanting to live an adventure-type lifestyle. But a great perk is that the location still allows everyone fast and easy access to Chicagoland and its suburbs. Not to mention, the historic town and vistas hold a spectacular beauty.

Those who call Heritage Harbor home are never too far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but are far enough away to relax and enjoy life. No one has to make a choice of one or the other. At Heritage Harbor Ottawa, everyone has the flexibility to create their perfect lifestyle in the ideal waterfront home.

For more information, to schedule a tour of a Heritage Harbor waterfront home or for directions to the resort community, contact Heritage Harbor at 815-433-5000

Changing Boomer Generation Redefines Retirement as it Looks for an Adventure Lifestyle

Not every generation wants what the previous generation did. Recent studies and surveys show this is even truer when it comes to the more than 60 million Baby Boomers who will soon find themselves transitioning into retirement or already have. Many Boomers are looking for a community similar to the one found in Ottawa, Illinois, at Heritage Harbor Ottawa to meet their new retirement needs — waterfront real estate with the creature comforts of retirement, but plenty of recreational activities, a strong sense of community and still within reach of urban areas.

Not every generation wants what the previous generation did. Recent studies and surveys show this is even truer when it comes to the more than 60 million Baby Boomers who will soon find themselves transitioning into retirement or already have.

While previous generations have traveled far from their families in retirement to settle elsewhere, many variables are changing the landscape of life after full-time work and past notions of what retirement life would look like.

Many Boomers are looking for a community similar to the one found in Ottawa, Illinois, at Heritage Harbor Ottawa to meet their new retirement needs — a place with the creature comforts of retirement, but plenty of recreational activities, a strong sense of community, still within reach of urban areas and yet offers strong waterfront real estate values in the Midwest.

A resort community like Heritage Harbor in Ottawa, Ill., sits on prime scenic Illinois River waterfront property and offers amenities, such as a full-service marina with more than 450 boat slips, restaurant on-site, low-maintenance homes, in-ground pool, walking path and year-round activities.

“Once we saw what Heritage Harbor had to offer, we knew we had to be here,” said Harry Hultgren, who along with his wife, Ann, owns a cottage-style home in the waterfront community. “The opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation are simply unbeatable.”

Economic changes are shifting the mindset of Boomers. While in the past many would relocate to southern states, such as Florida or Arizona, studies show the age group is deciding to stay closer to their family and friends while continuing to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities well into retirement. They are redefining retirement. And with that redefinition, according to Baby Boomer Magazine, they are looking at building a more active and diverse lifestyle as well — physically and mentally.

According to Discovery Fit and Health, one of the 10 most popular activities for those of the Boomer generation is anything to do with aquatic recreation — an easy task when cruising via boat through the Illinois River or exploring one of its many channels or islands. It’s no surprise that latest U.S. Census data available shows a rising number of Boomers living in coastal communities, such as those along rivers, lakes and oceans.

While Heritage Harbor offers a variety of scenic waterfront homes and cottages to fit everyone’s lifestyle (click here to learn more) the unique location in Ottawa and Starved Rock Country completes the package, which mirrors the slogan: “Life is an Adventure … Live it Here.” Having four state parks within 15 miles is one of the reasons Tom Heimsoth, developer of Heritage Harbor, selected the location.

“People enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, dining, shopping and want to do it in a resort-like setting so they always feel like they are on vacation,” Heimsoth said.

In addition to the state parks, the history of downtown Ottawa wasn’t overlooked. The town is rich in architecture, has great annual events such as the Two Rivers Wine and Jazz Festival, outdoor Farmer’s Market, Midwest Morel Fest, outdoor music and other events that allow Boomers to enjoy their “off” time. Not to mention running parallel to Heritage Harbor is the I&M Canal, which is 61 miles of walking, biking and snowmobiling trail. Lastly, Discovery Fit and Health includes sky diving as a Top 10 eventual “must-do” for Boomers, which is especially accessible in the Ottawa area with SkyDive Chicago, the Midwest’s major destination for sky divers, just north of town.

As with any real estate property, location is key to what attracts people to an area and can be an important factor in its value. Realtor Judy Marsales recently told Real Estate Wealth magazine that the image and community where real estate properties sit can have as much to do with interest as the property itself. Marsales says locations that get the most real estate buzz have features in the surrounding community such as “wonderful vistas, biking paths, picnic areas and many music festivals,” among other amenities. She also confirmed that one of the latest real estate trends in the Boomer generation is a renewed interest in relocating to waterfront properties.    

The locale of Ottawa, Ill., in La Salle County fills all of these needs for those living or vacationing at Heritage Harbor Ottawa. Additionally, the area allows homeowners to experience a real sense of community that can be lacking in larger suburban or urban areas. It’s a less complicated way of life. But getting back to the urban area is just a hop, jump and skip away as Chicago and its suburbs, such as Huntley, Elgin, Romeoville, Shorewood, Crest Hill and more are a mere commute away.

It’s easy to continue working or telecommute if needed, as studies show more Boomers are working later into life and are choosing to explore entrepreneurial opportunities after full-time work. You’re never too far away from the hustle and bustle, but far enough to relax and enjoy life. No one has to make a choice of one or the other as those living and vacationing at Heritage Harbor have the flexibility to create their ideal lifestyle.

No other area can offer the recreational opportunities or strong sense of community like Heritage Harbor Ottawa can.

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