Your Guide To Renting Out A Lake Home

The lake house is a sought after retreat.

If you live next to a body of water, of any size, the enjoyment factor increases tenfold over the summer. In the great state of Minnesota, we are surrounded by lakes, and this draws people from all over.

This has an added benefit for the homeowner.

Much more lucrative than a timeshare, and less cause for alarm, renting out your lake home can be a great way to earn a little extra money and get a vacation away.

The best part is, that snowmobilers or ice fishers will help you snowbird in the winter, and tourists looking to cool down away from the city can be of aid in the summer.

So, if you’re just starting to think about becoming a host, start here and follow these steps to give yourself the best chance of success.

This is the Jack Chivers Realty Guide to Hosting Your Lake Home

Before You Even Decide to Rent Out:

There’s a lot to consider before letting a possible stranger stay in your vacant home.

Planning is the first step, after acceptance that someone else will be in your home. This requires a little understanding of the the market.

Understand Rental Arbitrage

The short term rental market is ruled by a guideline called rental arbitrage. This means that anyone can profit off the short term rental market, more or less, depending on how they choose to rent out the home.

For instance, Airbnb is a popular option, as well as VRBO. The way you go about this is up to you, but there are many things to consider along the way.

Second, every host should know what it means to quickly assess to what degree your home is suited to be rented out. This could involve many other parties and more commitment that you expected. Yes, we all want to make some money doing this but there are more than financial benefits and burdens to becoming a host.

There are three main types of hosts out there–those that want to make a few extra bucks with their available space, those who want a stable secondary source of income, and those who want to build a serious business that will eventually become their main source of income. But who wants to leave the lake area that much?

All kinds of folks!

If you’re trying to spend summers in the great white north, it’s not going to be easy to rent out your lake place frequently.

The more income you’re looking to get out of the deal, then the further you’ll need to plan and invest. First, you want to be able to provide details about the location, size, and nature of your listings as well as the tools and strategies you will be using. If you want lake time in the summer and to rent out in the winter, you have to make connections with the right crowds.

Have A Realistic Expectation About Time Commitment

Although you can stipulate the degree to which guests need to clean before vacating, you’ll still want to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. But this means cleaning and making things orderly before and after the rental period.

If only we could just list the unit and then the money starts to come in.

It takes time to chat with potential guests who ask questions before they’re willing to book too. Earning great reviews on rental sites makes for a more trustworthy experience. A cozy house means better reviews!

Consider the time it will take to check guests in and check guests out.

Set the right expectations about time commitment by evaluating how much time it’ll likely take for you to host on Airbnb, VRBO or others.

Starting out and doing everything on their own, beginner hosts are often shocked by the amount of time and effort needed to consistently deliver an experience for their guests.

Once the renter gets the hang of it, get in a groove, become more efficient, and utilize tools for automation, it’s clear that there are ways to save time and energy without lowering the quality of service. Picture yourself hosting with ease and able to vacation, headache free.

Some lakes are less desirable than others, so planning out what kind of demand you'll have is important. If you're a full-time resident and have been for years, perhaps you have an idea of just how in-demand the area is for renters.

On the flip side, you might be happy with only renting out a few weekends to simply enjoy the remaining days of Summer.

Go get a market report from a trusted data provider. This can give you an idea of what to expect.

What About Insurance Coverage

If you’re renting out your own home, your standard home insurance plan is almost guaranteed not to cover any damage that results from short-term renting. However, Airbnb’s policy does have a $1M guarantee gives great comfort but if you have some special items or risk factors not covered by their policy, you likely need additional insurance.

This does remind us that belongings in the home should be removed if they are at risk of being damaged or stolen.

Of course, it shouldn't look like a ghost town, but it's helpful, and comforting for guests to remove clutter. This makes for an easy remedy for keeping track of what's in the home too.

Remember Your Neighbors

Are you in a quiet gated community with early to bed neighbors who are very very sensitive to noise or outsiders?

Sound can sure travel on lake.

In this way it is good to consider how renting out will affect relations with your neighbors. Noise complaints are the biggest indicator for unhappy neighbors. Check out a nifty product that can help you prevent and manage noise issues with guests.

Get all the Essentials for Your Listing

As more and more hosts bring listings onto the market to compete for the guests, so too have guest expectations grown. What used to be a nice-to-haves are now must-haves. Certain amenities are absolutely essential to delivering great experiences. This can be difficult in some lake areas, as things like Wi-fi, even cell phone service, are sparse at times.

Still, furnishings and amenities could make a big difference. Every lake place must have furniture. You must consider what pieces are important to your guests? What need is it fulfilling?

Here's the checklist for getting your lake place rental spotted:

  • Accurate title and description

  • take proper photos that display the area in size and furnishing

  • Get reviews on rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO

  • Make sure that you communicate who you are and what you expect of renters.

  • Tell guests what to expect on the lake and how to be prepared

Anticipate and Address Guest Headaches

Your guests have traveled far to stay at your lake place and that can be stressful. Flights can get delayed. Keys can get lost.

So being thoughtful and proactive towards some of these most common guest headaches could go a long way towards turning potentially stressful situations into moments where you shine as a host.

Having a simple lockbox to keep a spare set of keys that you could send the combination for a guest to open late at night will not only make them happy but would save you time when some of your guests are bound to get locked out late at night.

Hopefully this has been a helpful reminder of what it takes to rent out your lake home. As we wait to unthaw and anticipate Summer, these are the sorts of things we are able to consider. Thanks for reading the JCR Blog.

Dirk Ockhardt
Dirk Ockhardt, Broker & Art Collector

Giebler & Götze | Grand Tour

Dirk Ockhardt Giving Opening Reception Speech AT THE

German Consulate General in New York City

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 @ 6:00pm

What is German? Is it Heinrich Heine’s poetry “The mellow sound of bells rings gently through my mind”? Is it Novalis’s use of the blue flower as a symbol, Goethe’s Faust, perhaps wurst and sauerkraut washed down with wheat beer? Maybe exquisite music—or mass murder ushered in by a delusional sense of order? How could the land of poets and philosophers possibly become a country of judges and executioners? This is something which Thomas Mann also wondered, and he came up with an answer: Kaisersaschern. Kaisersaschern is the place where Adrian Leverkühn lived in Friedrich Nietzsche’s novel Doctor Faustus. It’s a symbol of Germany’s core: “in the middle of the home of the Reformation,” “in the heart of the Luther region,” one half in the grip of the Enlightenment, the other entangled in the Middle Ages. And it’s a delicate symbol. After all, according to Nietzsche, that was just what the Germans lacked: a core providing stability. Because the development of the German nation wasn’t completed by the foundation of Imperial Germany in 1871, Nietzsche saw it as a race still emerging, simultaneously hopeful and dangerous.

“Made in Kaisersaschern” is the title of the grand tour which for the past two years has taken Rüdiger Giebler and Moritz Götze around the world from Brussels, London and Paris via Australia and New Zealand to New York. In the 18th century, the grand tour was an educational trip that young noblemen were sent on to see the world. Mind you, the artists and friends Giebler and Götze don’t come from the nobility. Their training began 30 years ago in a country that no longer exists: the German Democratic Republic, East Germany. They are ambassadors of the region of Saxony-Anhalt, the area around Magdeburg, Halle and Naumburg which Thomas Mann called Kaisersaschern. It’s a provincial backwater full of history: a region of castles and cathedrals, battlefields of the Thirty Years War, and glittering Baroque residences; the cradle of the German chemical industry; and witness to bloodily suppressed workers’ revolts. The artists’ paintings tell of both positive and negative aspects of this history in short stories.

Rüdiger Giebler was born in Halle in 1958. After working as a surveyor, he enrolled at the local Burg Giebichenstein college of art at the age of 22. He graduated in 1986, allowing him to become a freelance painter and graphic artist. But titles don’t mean much: creative people live outside the law. Released from the golden cage of East Germany with censorship on the one hand and government commissions on the other, he and his art suddenly had to assert themselves on the free market, where the mood depends on the latest fad and where it’s easy to make a fool of oneself: “The World-sport, all-ruling, / Mingles false with true: / The Eternally Fooling / Makes us play, too!” wrote Nietzsche in his “Songs of Prince Vogelfrei.” Fifteen years ago, Giebler helped to set up a memorial in Nietzsche’s birthplace, Röcken. His job was to disrupt the too-perfect arrangement of display boards and provide the spark of chaos that brings order to life.

His visual world is still characterized by unbridled vitality. Whether large oil paintings or small drawings and gouaches, they always feature a tangle of nervous lines and twitching muscle tissue woven out of contrasting colors, pulsating and vibrating as if about to turn into something else. Snapshots of an inner transformation, unfinished on principle, primitive in the sense of original. Not an illustration of ready-made ideas but obeying unconscious impulses, even abruptly changing tack in the midst of work when layers of paint overlap as if in a dream, when figures suddenly appear … They’re reminiscent of drawings by children or “madmen” who live in their own world and haven’t yet mastered the art of dazzling with presets or seeming to be more than they actually are. Attaining this childlike quality, this seeming naïveté takes skill, honed technique, and a certain “discipline” to “reduce” what the artist sees to “a few steps,” to the essentials, as Paul Klee once summed up this method.

Rüdiger Giebler says he can hear the “last echo of Expressionism.” But it’s not a tribute to the past. The expressive, which by means of abstraction creates additional vitality, runs throughout the history of art. Seen in the earliest cave paintings, it emerges in Baroque Mannerism, comes into its own after the 1900s, and recurs with the Junge Wilde artists of the 1980s—a lava flow that will never be extinguished because it’s part and parcel of humans’ dual nature of being body and soul. Borrowing from Nietzsche, we can describe Giebler’s visual world as “Dionysian” (Rimbaud’s “deregulation of the senses” also comes to mind) in order to feel the rhythms of life.

The works of his friend could therefore be described with the principle of the “Apollonian.” Moritz Götze also comes from Halle. Born the son of two artists in 1964, from 1981 to 1983 he was an apprentice cabinet-maker, despite originally wanting to become a museum director in order to give a voice to the things he’d collected since his childhood. Genuine collectors don’t seek; instead, they find objects and keep them because they tell little stories reflecting the big picture. This collection and preservation already have something Apollonian about them: it’s the principle of individuation, the emergence and consolidation of a self that asserts itself in the world by surrounding itself with clearly defined things to create an order, its own little world. Götze, too, built himself his own world. Originally a punk singer and guitarist, he taught himself screen-printing to produce posters for bands and friends who were artists. He joined the East German Association of Artists when his wife, a ceramic artist, employed him in her workshop, enabling him to live on his own terms in one of the country’s many niches.

Until the late 1990s, these early screen prints were also expressive and anarchic. A young generation, tired of being talked down to by the pedagogues and temple guards of state socialism, saw them as a chance to escape. Hip young things romped colorfully on the prints as if in comics: young, dynamic, with fast cars and beautiful women against the backdrop of major metropolises. Critics welcomed the arrival of pop art, of lightness in German painting, and acclaimed the prodigy creating a colorful world of images for everyone with no academic ballast.

But what most admirers of Götz still overlook to this day is that right from the start, his characters were rigid prisoners of their individuation lost in themselves, something Nietzsche saw personified in Apollo—the principle of tearing a moment out of the course of life, giving it shape, and hence simultaneously condemning it to death. For something which has come into being is transitory; in order to last, it must be constantly changing. On closer inspection, the black thumbnail sketches of people turn out to be the sadness of atomized figures, floating as it were in the cosmic emptiness of space, detached despite being so close to each other. Moritz Götze’s colorful visual world is deeply melancholic, despite its creator being so life-affirming. Maybe this is German, a legacy of Romanticism. At any rate, it connects him with Nietzsche, who wanted to approve of the emerging nihilism, the secretly sinister revaluation of all values, and to rise above himself. Götze holds a mirror up to us, he shocks-freezes the brave new world, the colorful cosmos of cheap objects in which we turn ourselves into objects without a murmur.

Over the past two decades, this mirror has changed. The painter not only tells stories, he has also appropriated history as reflected in canonical images. In the early 2000s, he began to reproduce icons of East German painting with his stylistic devices. In 2003, he counteracted the 1890 book Bildersaal deutscher Geschichte (‘Picture Hall of German History’), which was originally supposed to illustrate the Germans’ national history. And in the following years, he trained his sights on the leading figures of Prussia.

The distortion of the found material compels observers to confront the images we carry in our heads, the mosaic stones of historically evolved world views. Götze thus turned from a storyteller into an anti-historical painter of history questioning the assumptions of our worldview.

However, working on pictures in this way also altered his own imagery. The anarchic awkwardness, the wild rawness of his youth gradually gave way to smooth lines of graceful confidence and classically trained beauty. The punk became a sovereign, who from 2013 to 2016 decorated an entire church—the chapel at Bernburg Palace—with enamel paintings.

The journey of both the Dionysian orgiast of vibrant colors and the Apollonian illustrator of the sovereign line continues, and it will be interesting

to see how the grand tour changes their work. Sadly, Moritz Götze couldn’t take the chapel with him to New York, but he does have a new work in enamel as a greeting to America: “German Soup” in cans bearing portraits of Goethe, Kleist and Novalis, Nietzsche and Fontane, also Brecht and Kafka. I hope the heavy fare of the German spirit in this pop art packaging proves delicious!

Jens-F. Dwars
Jena, in winter 2018


Dirk Ockhardt
Improve and Protect Your Shoreline: Tips for New Lake Home Owners

Many of us grow up dreaming of living on a beach or having the chance to live next to open water.

This allows for access to water activities and some cooling down, ice fishing if you live in Minnesota, etc. One thing that might not come to mind immediately though is the chance to help the environment and create a much more beautiful ecosystem, right in your backyard.  

Taking care of your home's maintenance is obvious for those wanting to sell or just keep the value of their home. However, being able to contribute directly to the very nature one is living in, can be especially rewarding. Here's our list of benefits to the lake that you can be a part of, as well as some actionable ways to make a difference:

  • Water quality

  • Lakeside home value

  • Curbing pollution at the source

  • Creating a cleaner and more enjoyable lake

Shoreland Homeowners and Stewardship

When you own shoreland you do have certain rights and privileges, it's what separates lake living from any other kind of lifestyle.

Homeowners are able to put a dock out to a navigable depth; take water for domestic and agricultural purposes; and to fish, boat, hunt, and swim. However, these rights must be exercised in compliance with local rules and regulations and those of the State of Minnesota or North Dakota for example. Some rules require removal or preservation of certain aquatic plants; placement of wells; and maintenance of septic systems.

These rules are in place for the benefit of your health and safety and the health of the lake.

The overall quality of the water can be improved with some simple techniques. It's our responsibility to protect, improve, and enhance the lake for your enjoyment and that of future generations to come, keeping in mind that the water itself is a public resource for everyone to enjoy.

That’’s called stewardship.

The lake is a living ecosystem and part of the larger ecosystem of all living plants and animals to which we also belong. In Minnesota, we are lucky to have Eagles live around the lake. That is something we do not want to go away. As the lakeshore habitat deteriorates, local species lose their habitat. Although there's nothing wrong with lake home ownership, it just has to be done right.

Also, healthy waters equal higher property values.

Here are a few tips to help your enjoyment of the lake, and also preserve its ecological integrity.

Simple Fixes for a Lake Home

Many people think owning lakefront property requires installing a seawall and clearing natural vegetation to make way for a lawn. However, it's actually quite simple to take proper care of the shoreline.

Contrary to popular belief, high-impact development activities like seawalls and other shoreline structure installation, natural vegetation clearing, and removing aquatic plants and fallen trees from the lake change the ecosystem and allow increased stormwater runoff, increased shoreline erosion and loss of habitat.

Eliminate the use of fertilizers near water or wetlands.

By law since 2005, Minnesota homeowners cannot use fertilizers containing phosphorus, except for exemptions for new lawns or when a soil test indicates a need for phosphorus. Otherwise, it can run off into the lake and effect PH.

In much of our area, soils are naturally high in phosphorus so lawns generally don’t need extra phosphorus. When shopping for fertilizer, buy a brand that has a middle number of zero like 22-0-15.

The laws do not prohibit retailers from selling phosphorus fertilizers, and even though most retailers are carrying more zero phosphorus fertilizers, it's up to you to make sure you comply with the law.

If you have leftover phosphorus fertilizer, using it on the garden, that is away from the lake facing portion of the house, is a good way to dispose of it.

Before you consider fertilizing your lawn, aerating it is an easy way to give new life to the yard at the beginning of the season.

•If you have to fertilize in sunbaked areas, or the like, try to use the minimum amount needed to replenish the soil.

Ways You Can Contribute to Clean Lake Water

A clean lake is vastly more enjoyable than one covered in weeds and with debris making visibility difficult. It also contributes to the water temperature. A clean lake will warm up much quicker, and in this area that is very desirable for lake area residents. Here are a few things to add to your list for a clean lake:

  • Proper lawn care

  • Pet waste disposal

  • Shoreline erosion control

  • Septic system maintenance

Runoff is the main culprit here. It can pick up pollution and carry it to the lake.

This can be reduced by minimizing hard surfaces on your property and limiting clearing and controlling the grading of your landscape. It can also be captured and cleansed so it doesn’t reach the lake by using shoreland vegetative buffers and by redirecting it to rain barrels

Never use near the lake:

Remove dandelions and other unwanted plants from your lawn using hand-tools instead of chemical applications.

Keep grass clippings, leaves, and washed up plant debris out of the lake.

Use a mulching lawn mower and leave grass clippings on the lawn as a natural fertilizer, just keep in mind that excess material can be blown around with a good strong wind.

•Collect and compost leaves and clippings, or haul them away from the lake to for disposal.

Do not burn leaves near the lake. Instead, locate fire pits away from the shoreland.

The leftover ash from burning wood is very high in phosphorus. If the fire pit is located near the lake, rain can wash the ashes into the lake. Locate the fire pit at least 50 feet away from the lake.

Properly Dispose of Pet Waste

Improper disposal of pet waste not only jeopardizes water quality but your health as well. Pet waste contains phosphorus and may contain disease-causing organisms, which, if washed into the water, can make it unsafe for swimming.

Pick up pet waste in the yard or near the shore and dispose of it properly.

Hopefully these tips will help you enjoy a more clean, safe, and beautiful season out on the water when Summer arrives. If you're curious about other ways to improve the value of your lake home, check out the rest of our blog.

Dirk Ockhardt

Cabin Fever? Lake Life is coming to Fargo this spring!

Explore Lake Life Expo 3rd annual event will be held at the Civic Center in downtown Fargo on Friday and Saturday, March 22 +23, 2019.


Free -- Open Admission / Bean Bag Tournament / On stage live program / 2-day event

40 + Vendors on expo floor / Lakes Country Food Court / Music act by "Cropdusters"

Discover year-round opportunities to explore, visit, and live lake life.


Friday, March 22rd | 3PM – 8PM

Saturday, March 23th | 10AM – 6PM


Civic Center, Downtown Fargo

207 4th Street N Fargo, ND





For further information or media inquiries, please contact: Aubrey Roberts | | (218) 841-6433

Dirk Ockhardt
Three Objectives Every Lake Committee Should Have

Minnesota and North Dakota are rife with secret societies. These gilead groups have leadership, codes, and even a set of by-laws that every member should abide.

Just what are these underground orders?

Lake Associations

In the land of ten thousand lakes it’s easy to understand why keeping order across the many natural wonders would be vastly important. If you’re unfamiliar or maybe a member yourself, we’d like to weigh in on just a few of the important objective out there for lake committees, and please weigh-in on your own ideals in the comments.

Here are just three ways to establish or improve your own lake association.

1. Select Beach Captains

Most Lake Committees already have designated beach captains, voted in every year. These people function as a sentinel for the lake and uphold some important duties. Let’s make sure we’ve got those responsibilities covered.

Welcome New Residents:

Seems like the simplest of tasks, so let’s begin here. It’s important to get a good network of neighbors on your lake for a plethora of reasons. However, just making everyone feel welcome can be a huge asset that many forget altogether. It’s also good to make acquaintances and know what the status of their residency are. Meaning, if they’re planning on snowbirding or just coming out on the weekends, maybe it’s a full-time residence.

Keeping an eye out for your community is very important, especially on lakes, when people may not reside there all the time.

Beach Liaisons:

Having a Beach captain also means that someone can watch for violations around the beach area and make sure the lake, in this designated area, is being cared for.

Some issues that can occur involve abiding by rules regarding No-Wake zones. If water is particularly high on your lake then waves caused by boats can be damaging to the shoreline. We are probably all aware of these complications so it’s important to help enforce rules of this nature.

Divers also tend to visit lakes with public accesses so making them feel welcome and safe is a must. The general rule is to keep boats at least 150 feet from diving flags.

Obviously use of boats and jetskis in a considerate fashion is of the interest to everyone.

2. Solicit membership in the Lakes Association:

If you’re on a lake with or without a Lake Committee it’s important to facilitate a proper meeting place and get members active. This can be as simple as discussing possible meeting places, or just bringing coffee along to entice neighbors to get active.

Some lakes have issues with drainage or ordinary water height. This can affect property values significantly. However, it is also a treatable problem when a community comes together to face it. Even if nothing has happened on the lake yet, it’s wise to get a group in place that can handle such issues.

3. Print and deliver association directories:

To be a really effective lake association, we should be able to get in contact with one another. If you’re like Detroit Lake, you may have an entire website dedicated to news, for instance, letting lake area resident know about the recent zebra mussel infestation.

Since aquatic invasive species can be a real threat to lake ecosystems, letting the community know quickly creates an effective line of defense for such issues.

Speaking of defense…

Lake areas can be large and the property lines vast. This puts your neighbors at a distance likely. For better or worse.

Burglary and vandalism can happen. But if you know your neighbors and establish another line of defense, then it’s easily to spot activity that might be suspicious.

In conclusion, one of the most important objective a lake committee should have is the welcoming of all new residents. Establish a strong community by gaining membership and help beach captains serve as a liaison between areas of the lake and the association.

Make sure to observe for violations or emergencies in the area, and further communication in an event through use of a group message or other communicae. A directory can be a very important tool in emergency events, so try to keep it up to date and distributed.

Setting up an annual meeting is also very helpful to garner a community voice when deciding important matter regarding the lakes area.  

As we await the Spring thaw, hopefully these tips will help you prep for a productive Summer with your own Lake Committee.

Thanks for reading and please consider watching our blog for more tips on having a prosperous property in lake country and beyond. Please comment on your best lake committee tips!

Dirk Ockhardt
Reflecting on 2018

Reflecting on 2018 we are proud to announce that we are closing one of the most successful business years in the history of Jack Chivers Realty.


The move to our new location in downtown Detroit Lakes has contributed to this success as well as the hard work of the Chivers team.

However, at the end of the year, some of our team members have decided to go separate ways.

Jack Chivers, Lisa Jasken Peterson, and Paula Okeson decided to leave our company.

We appreciate all the hard work they have invested in the past and wish them all the best for their future.

Special thanks go to Jack Chivers who we are very grateful for to leave behind a legacy.

Therefore, we are keeping the brand name to reflect our core values:

Loyalty, individuality, and highest personal service for our clients in real estate marketing.

In 2019 the Chivers team will continue to be the leading partner for real estate sales in the area.

Stay tuned for our new marketing tools and technology updates to be released this year.

Happy New Year 2019!

Dirk Ockhardtreal, estate, new year
Advantages To Buying A North Facing Lake House

North and South Facing Lake Homes

If you’re buying a home for the first time, it’s easy to become inundated with information. There are many factors that influence your choice and often times it can be stressful.

Among these wildly varying factors is the cost. Sure. But when investigating a property there’s likely emphasis on how you will enjoy and grow into the home.

Comfort is among the biggest buying factors for new homeowners. However, also listed these as potential deciding factors, when making that big purchase:

  • The Neighborhood and Commuting Distance

  • Lot Location and Size

  • The Architecture and Layout

  • Last but not least, the potential for future projects

Yet, one factor isn’t discussed regularly, and it’s awfully important to the energy efficiency of the home and the future of the yard:

What direction is your home facing?

Sunlight in the Home

This isn’t just about proper feng shui.

If you’re looking into purchasing a lake home, or a first home, or any structure, in general, it’s quite important to understand what direction the home is facing. After all, this determines how it will affect your living situation.

Especially true of Midwest homes, where winters can be colder than other areas, the way we heat the place is affected by sunlight, dramatically.

A South facing kitchen and living room would mean more natural light and a warm ambiance in those rooms throughout the day.

During the winter days, the rooms located on the South side of the house would get more consistent light especially on the shorter days of the year.

The temperature will be warmer on the South side of the house as well. Great for wintertime, even with all our modern utilities, heating, by electricity or propane gas, can be expensive. It’s worth using natural sunlight to help temperature maintenance and be a little more energy efficient in the process. It’s the why and how that will help make your purchasing decision.

For energy-conserving purposes, a house on an east- or west-facing lot should also have the long side facing south. This is a good aspect of home ownership to look out for if you’re searching the market. With the ridgeline oriented east-west, this may mean that a narrow side of the house faces the street.

A North facing house typically would indicate a South facing backyard. Generally speaking, the kitchen and living room would be located in the back of the house as well.

A South-facing home gets sun for most of the day, but it also matters how the layout of the house works. It is brighter and warmer if the kitchen is on the south side of the home. A north-facing home gets sun at the back of the house and is typically darker and naturally cooler than a south-facing one for Summer.

There’s an entire Hindu concept called Vastu Shastra, which according to Wikipedia is a dedicated “ancient doctrine which consists of how the laws of nature affect human dwellings. The designs are based on directional alignments, primarily concerned with architecture — building houses, forts, temples, apartments, and other structures.”

These old concepts are still with us today, and make a big difference in the ways our homes function.

Lake Home Real Estate and Seasonal Affect

One big factor for a lake place to consider is the time you’re going to be spending there.

Often people buy a home to get away on weekends throughout the Summer. Or there’s the retired crowd that likes to have a lake getaway and subsequently snowbird to a warmer climate in the Winters. That’s lake life after all.

Whatever you're plan is there’s going to be North or South-facing benefits.

Among those benefits is the idea that a North facing home will warm itself with the evening sunlight and stay cool during the day. That’s ideal for those spending a large amount of time out at the lake during the Summer.

For those staying through the winter, it also might be applicable.

Having a warm bedroom, on the south side of the house, is a benefit worth considering. This is especially true for full-time lake residents who work during 9-5 business hours. These residents won’t worry about a foyer remaining colder through the day, as they might just appreciate the sun-warmed bedroom instead.

Benefits In The Yard

Since we have covered the major aspects of the home, it’s time to consider your yard.

Many lake places enjoy access to a fresh garden. Summer storms in the Midwest can deliver water if you’re only out at the lake place on the weekends, when you come to the lake and can enjoy the literal fruits of your labor.

For sunlight though, placement of your garden is crucial. We all know that healthy crops are thanks in part to a balance of water and sunlight.

The main advantage of a North-facing house is that you can place a garden in an area with the right amount of sunlight. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the south side of any house will see the most hours of sunlight during the day – especially in the Northern Hemisphere – so a south-facing garden takes advantage of this.

Home buying, while it can be stressful, gives us a lot of options for consideration. When you’re making a list of must-haves, and visiting properties, remember to get the compass out on your iPhone and check the path of sunlight by seeing what sides of the house face south.

This one factor will change the way you approach energy, living, and the value of your home over time.

Thanks for reading and please consider watching our blog for more tips on having a prosperous property in lake country and beyond. Happy holidays!

Dirk Ockhardtreal, estate, lake, homes, house
Five Ways To Prep For Winter That Protect Your Homes Value

If you’re a seasoned homeowner or just making the down payment on your first home, you’ll still have one thing in common:
protecting your investment.

Lake place, cabin, or farmhouse, increasing the value of our real estate is always the goal. If you’re too busy counting how many lakes are in Minnesota or just enjoying your Summer activities, the ways to get distracted are innumerable. Still, we have to find the time to put in those particularly pertinent housekeeping and homeowning tasks to prevent a loss in value. Now Summer is gone and the Fall is coming swiftly to an end.

If the winter season has you concerned, then this guide will provide ample methods to protect your home for the winter season, which the Midwest is known for.

  1. How Does the Grade Around Your Home Affect Winter Conditions?

Landscaping is one aspect of the home that is rarely thought of when it comes to protecting the home itself. The characteristic slope around the property does determine which way water flows. If water is flowing into the foundation, you might experience a loss in real estate value, and rather quickly.

With extreme winter weather a commonplace occurrence in North Dakota and Minnesota, especially in Lake areas, landscaping grade should be addressed.

Many lake area homes have basements or at least crawl spaces, and being close to a lake can leave homeowners wondering what to do. It is possible to have no water in your basement even if you have a negative grade around your home, but the issue should be addressed to protect the value of your home. Check this out:

Negative Grade

To put this into perspective, a negative grade is when a home’s yard and landscaping slopes toward a structure instead of away from it.

Pooled water will drain alongside your foundation, collect below your home and could result in a heaved floor in the foundation, as well as increasing seepage and humidity in your home.

Positive Grade

Positive grade is the opposite then. An effective positive grade should slope 1” per foot around the perimeter of your home, to 5’ away from your foundation.

Downspout extensions should be out at all times, depositing runoff 6’ from your home.

Patios, driveways, and walkways are designed with this in mind and should slope away from your home as well.

How to Fix Negative Grade

First, you can add black dirt to increase the slope. It is important to use pulverized black dirt for this, not rock, sand or clay. However, it is good practice to keep black dirt far away from the lake if you have a lake place.

The reason we use black dirt is that it keeps a better balance of moisture and won’t show the drastic effects of wet/dry expansion/contraction as much as the clay-based soil will.

The soil in the Red River Valley area is made up from roughly 90% clay. When clay is exposed to water it expands. This will cause the waterlogged soil to push against your foundation and cause breaks long term.

If you’ve purchased a home that features breaks in the foundation it is important to have these cracks assessed and repaired before further issues arise.

Conversely, the Midwest winter gets cold enough to “settle” or shift a foundation. This is especially common in lake homes as the area features lots of groundwater movement, between steady flow in the summer to drought-like conditions of winter freezing.

So, take a good look at your foundation and check for cracks when out in the winter months.

2. Lake Living and Your Sump Pump

A sump pump is a staple of most lake homes that have seen floods in the past. If your lake association hasn’t set up a pump to get water levels back to ordinary watermark, then this investment will protect your home for years to come.

Additionally, winter in the North Dakota/Minnesota area means that power outages due to excessive cold can be common. Your sump pump should be set up for just such an emergency.

Always have a second pump or backup generator setup.

If your pump should fail, you want to get another line of defense in place as quickly as possible.

Maintence on the sump hole is recommended too. Be sure to clean debris out of your sump so that it doesn’t become an issue in the future.

3. Seasonal Humidity Shifts

The transition to Winters on a lake or in a forested area have homeowners wondering about humidity, alike.

A typical Midwestern home emits gallons of water a day into the air through its basement and foundation. Sometimes in excess of ten gallons of moisture.

Although having moisture in your home is important for better health and air quality, still having too much can lead to mold, rot and the deterioration of the value of your property.

As homeowners, it’s essential to keep moisture at desired levels. In the winter, too much moisture can easily be identified by condensation on any cold surface around your home.

As with all Winter living, areas to watch are windows, doors and exterior corners in a room.

How to Control Excessive Moisture

Try adjusting your humidity according to the outdoor temperature. This is why we see condensation on windows, doors and exterior corners, these are areas that fluctuate the greatest when the temperature drops.

Here’s one central tenant to keep in mind:

The colder the surface, the lower dewpoint.

Dewpoint is responsible for how moisture forms. Even installing new, more effective, blinds can’t stop cold air from condensing between the glass and blinds without icing over. Therefore it is important that you open your window coverings daily.

Opening your blinds just a quarter of the way up allows air to flow and water to evaporate.

Another effective way to control humidity is to install an air to air heat exchanger into your home. This unit plays an important role to improve indoor air quality.

The state of Minnesota made including these important pieces of equipment a requirement in their 2015 building code. If you’ve purchased a newer home in the state of Minnesota, then you’re probably fine, however, older homes might require this added feature to protect your investment and win-over potential buyers in the future.  

4. Mold Myth-Busting

This leads us to the next point, mold.

Tiny mold spores are in the air all around us, and with that, a mold colony in one location can easily spread to other areas. This makes for a challenge as the homeowner enters winter. Why?

Mold spores often travel through your heating system.

From Fargo and Moorhead, all the way to Western Minnesota, cabins and lake places alike face the issues of mold. However, if you’ve tackled the excessive moisture with humidity control than you’ve basically won the war.

Third-party testing will also confirm that mold spore counts in your home have returned to acceptable levels, giving you final peace of mind that your mold problems are behind you. Just make sure to keep paperwork from these ordeals just in case you list your lake home for sale at some point in the future.

5. Preventing A Frozen Pipe

If you snowbird south for the winter and leave your home, or if the lake property you have is simply a getaway from your regular home, it’s important to make sure that it is ready for winter.

Nothing can drastically affect your home's value for the negative quite like a burst pipe.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed. Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, or garages are suspect. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day if you’re away. Flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold are just a few of the problems homeowners could face.

To prevent this from occurring try out these workarounds:

  • Always heat parts of a building with piping.

  • Keep exterior doors closed and secure, even if not in the immediate vicinity of piping.

  • Maintain heat in buildings at all times. Don’t leave temperatures below 40°F.

If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF. Pipes under cupboards are particularly at risk, so consider leaving doors open if you’re leaving the cabin for a long period.

Hopefully, these five tips find you well. As winter approaches, these are the top five things you’ll want to take care of. Protect the value of your home, and watch our blog for more tips on having a prosperous property in lake country and beyond.

Dirk Ockhardt
Higher return on your investment

Growing a business demands efficient use of your resources and proper communication of your company's story. We offer to analyze your business practice to maximize your profitability and will present a customized strategy for more return on your investments. Think of it as a health check up for your business –we will make your business more successful.

The J.Chivers Business Advisory group is a comprehensive partner for growing businesses. Today’s dynamic environment may have a direct impact on an organization’s bottom line. It can be challenging to keep up with changing consumer behaviors and market developments. We consult our clients on business strategies to stay on track and advise them during the growth process. Our services make businesses more successful.


In many cases, growth is more than physical space demands. It may also mean expanding the identity and reach of a company’s brand. We analyze the status quo of a company’s profitability; identify additional market opportunities; exploit a company’s brand identity; and, together with our advertising partner, develop new marketing strategies to increase cash flow and revenue. Our goal is to keep a business successful.


Jack Chivers has been buying and selling commercial real estate since 1966. Using the extensive network built over the past five decades, we help our clients locate retail property, production and storage facilities or vacant land for a new development in Minnesota and North Dakota. Buying and selling commercial real estate properties is the cornerstone of our business advisory services.


The merger and acquisition process has multiple stages which we will guide our clients through smoothly. We will develop growth strategies based on our client’s goals and offer due diligence services including market research to prepare our clients pursue the right opportunity and receive the best value from their transaction. Our goal is to provide solutions for our clients to achieve their unique growth objectives.

For more detail please contact Matt Zimmerman (701) 361-2141
A list of business opportunities available at

Dirk Ockhardt

MAGAZINE!* our fall issue is out and ready for pick up on the racks at all Hornbacher’s and Bottle Barn locations in F-M area. Of course, you can find it at various locations in Lakes Country as well. Find road trips, recipies, more stories, and not to forget the latest real estate news in the magazine. We love lake life! Events and more destinations daily updated at #livewideopen#lakelifewknd


04▐ WKND ROAD TRIP Plan your next trip and explore new destinations in Lakes Country.

06▐ MEET THE CHIVERSGet to know your local real estate agents. The Chivers are your lake experts

10▐ OMA’S BREAD German mother and daughter share their European culture and food in Wadena, MN.

12▐ NORTHERN LAKES AREA PROPERTIES Properties for sale on Shell Lake, Cormorant, Big Detroit Lake and northern area.

20▐ LAKE LIFE WKND Your local source for the latest news and events, stories, recipes and a weekly podcast

22▐ SAUNA: A FINNISH CULTURE Minnesotan’s rediscover their Finnish ancestors sauna traditions.

24▐ CABIN CHEF // RUSTIC RECIPES Recipes inspired by the fall season and the vegetables harvested this time of year.

28▐ SOUTHERN LAKES AREA PROPERTIES Properties for sale from Big Pelican to Otter Tail Lake and everything in between.

36▐ OWNING HUNTING LAND Meet the land experts and start making memories on your own hunting property.

38▐ JCR LAND CO. Whether for recreation, hunting or an investment, discover properties in Lakes Country to explore.

42▐ BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES J.Chivers Business Advisory is your partner for buying or selling businesses.

Dirk Ockhardt
Owning Hunting Land by Mike Brown

Like most hunters, I always dreamt of having my own hunting land to enjoy with my family and friends.  One day as I was driving down the road to hunt on a piece of public land, I noticed a “for sale” sign, in an area I knew produced some big deer.  I called the realtor to inquire about the property.  The property consisted of 36 acres, with food plots in place, a couple deer stands and CRP income.  The property was mostly grassland, but I knew that area held a lot of deer and produced nice bucks.  The land was priced similarly to that of a new vehicle.  I began calling banks to inquiry about what it would take to buy a piece of land.  What I found out surprised me.  This piece of land was affordable!  For less than making a monthly vehicle payment, my wife (who is very open and understanding I might add) and I could own this 36 acres!  We got our banks approval, made an offer, and a few weeks later, we closed on our own piece of land. 

We had some great hunts on that little piece of ground, where my wife shot her first deer, and I shot 4 great bucks that are now hanging in my trophy room, along with many pheasants, and even learned the fine art of trapping out there.  We put a lot of sweat equity into the land, re enrolling the property into another CRP contract, planting thousands of trees, building permanent deer stands and expanding the food plots on the property. 

Fast forward to present day, where I, along with my realty partner, Mike Summers, now help other families make their dreams come true and own their own land.  As realtors specializing in hunting land, we can work with you to determine your budget.  Once you have an idea of what you can afford, we will begin searching areas that you would like to own for your own hunting property.  We can also provide information of lenders that will finance recreational property.  If you own your own home, you can also look at doing a home equity loan.  Some sellers will also finance the property under a contract for deed.  These can be for any period of time and set up to make payments that fit in your budget.  After the contract, the remaining balance will be due in a balloon payment.  Whatever option works best for your budget, we can work with you. 

Once your budget and financing options are identified, we can begin the search to find the property in the location that you would prefer.  We will spend time walking and analyzing the property with you and help you identify potential stand locations, food plot sites, etc.  If the property is right for you, we will write up an offer, negotiate, and assist you through the closing process on your new hunting land! 

By Mike Brown

Dirk Ockhardt
Sand castle contest

Along with the many other activities going on at Looney Daze in Vergas, Jack Chivers Realty hosted the Sand Castle Contest for the 3rd year in a row. This tradition, likewise with Jack Chivers Realty, embraces the lake living lifestyle. Realzing it takes work to transform a lake house into a lake home, this activity is a fun way to demonstrate that.

The contest rules:

  1. The sand castles and sand sculptures shall consist of sand only. Wood, rocks, and shells found on the beach the day of the contest may be used as decorations.

  2. Sand forms may be created by pots, milk cartons, and buckets.

  3. Shovels and spatulas for digging and shaping can be used.

  4. Structures must be completed Saturday, August 11th between 2 and 4pm.

Judging is based on originality, creativity, and attention to detail.

Jack Chivers Realty realizes that your lake home is essentially your own private castle on the lake. 

Real Estate Market Update

Living in Lakes Country is a lifestyle decision.

Since 2014 I have lived in the Vergas area myself and I have never been connected more to a place I call home. Whether you enjoy the area on the wknds or year round, Lakes Country is more than just an address. It is living wide open. Reflecting on the 2017 real estate market we have experienced a growing demand for real property in our area. West Central Minnesota has a long history of family homesteading and for the families calling this area home the beauty is not a secret. Otter Tail County is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and I strongly feel that we will continue to experience a new and yet growing desire to live rural. A rural renaissance. Last year we have seen more young families from the F-M metro area finding lake life for their wknd escape and time to rejuvenate, but also to get away from the “larger” city permanently. Another growing number of residents are getting ready for a retirement destination and continue to choose Lakes Country. However, it is not only the wknders and retirees who are enjoying Lakes Country, we have met many younger families relocating from Minneapolis and more interestingly coming home after time spent in states further away. It is evident that families decide to call Lakes Country their home to raise children over big metro areas. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of a new generation of Americans choosing a small town and more grounded life over the busy and maybe unhealthy, bigger city environments. Overall, the past year showed a high demand in recreational real estate properties with a well-balanced demand of primary residence property ownership. Communities like Perham, Vergas and New York Mills are growing

again and are becoming a desired location for living life to get away from a fast paced society elsewhere. Our area is a great spot to balance work and life by connecting to the outdoors and is one of the greatest assets it bares. Looking at 2018 and completing the first half of the sales cycle, increasing sales numbers are in support of my conclusion for last year’s sales growth. We have had the best first quarter in sales during the past five years and we keep matching buyers with their desired properties as we are moving into summer.

The real estate market remains a seller’s market with a lower number of available properties for sale. We have experienced a higher amount of competing offers for properties in the area recently which has not always been the case during past years. However, every property is unique, especially in Lakes Country, and whether you are looking to sell or buy you may want to consult with a local expert to guide you through the process. We have a great track record and like to introduce our services to you. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our full-time agents available in your area, and use our easy online map search when looking for property located in Lakes Country. We love lake life. And we look forward to working for you.

By Dirk Ockhardt

Dirk Ockhardt

Jack Chivers Realty opens doors at their new location in the Washington Square Mall on Friday, June 29th. The new office has a unique, homey, cozy and cabin feel to discover real estate in the local area in an environment you want to call home.


Relocating downtown with a street entrance from Washington Avenue as well as access through the mall, Jack Chivers Realty will be where the people go when coming to Detroit Lakes. Connecting to the community and its guests is the reason for this move.

The public is invited to meet the Chivers and tour the new office during the open house Friday, June 29th from 4 - 6pm

Dirk Ockhardt
New Agent joins Jack Chivers Realty Group: Mike Carlson

Mike Carlson joins Jack Chivers Realty to service both Otter Tail and Becker County. He will be the sales lead for JCR's Vergas office which is centrally located in lakes country.

Mike grew up and graduated in Pelican Rapids before attending college at SDSU for Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. He spent several years exploring other parts of the country before returning to the area to raise his family. Mike is a people person and has a passion to serve. His local knowledge makes him a great asset to all clients selling or looking to find their new home and lake life of their own.

Dirk Ockhardt

We are proud to announce that Matt Zimmerman has joined the J.Chivers Business Advisory group to become the commercial sales lead to help us grow our team and increase sales production.

Matt has a degree in Business Finance and has worked in the Real Estate development division for the Target Corporation in Minneapolis before relocating to the area. His background and experience will benefit our commercial clients with all available services.

Business Strategy | Commercial Real Estate | Mergers & Acquisitions

The J.Chivers Business Advisory group is a comprehensive partner for growing businesses in today's dynamic markets. We consult our clients and develop business strategies to stay on top of changing consumer behavior and market developments. Our services make businesses more successful.

Additional information can be found at

Dirk Ockhardt
Nice growing, Jack: Jack Chivers Realty relocating to downtown DL, into the mall

Big things are happening at Jack Chivers Realty.

The longtime pillar of Detroit Lakes real estate is moving to a new location, from its current building on the quiet outskirts of town to a storefront in the bustling heart of downtown.

The move comes in the midst of a major growth spurt at the agency, which has included some unique new ventures into sales, marketing and customer service. Since the company's namesake sold the business to Dirk Ockhardt at the start of 2014, Ockhardt says Jack Chivers Realty has grown from employing four people to 20, and has expanded to include eight new subcompanies and brands.

Currently located on U.S. Highway 59 on the west side of Detroit Lakes, the agency is moving into the Washington Square Mall, with a storefront and entrance at 816 Washington Avenue as well as an interior mall entrance.

Lisa Jasken Peterson, the leading realtor at Jack Chivers, designed the new space. Ockhardt said it will be "unique, homey, cozy and cabiny" when it's done, with distinctly different themes worked into the design of each individual office inside.


It's still under construction now, but Ockhardt wants the new location to be open for business by June 1. He said it was always his intention to relocate the agency downtown, part of an ambitious overall 5-year plan for the company. He looked at the space three years ago, he said, but at the time, its 3,500-square-feet was too much for the agency. Today, it's not.

Growth at Chivers

Every year for the past four years, the already-successful Jack Chivers Realty has grown by another 10 percent, Ockhardt said. Much of this is due to the creation of several new specialized subcompanies, brands and service branches operating under the Jack Chivers umbrella.

In the summer of 2015, the company expanded into Vergas with a new branch called The Lake Life Lounge. Styled in an unconventional, artistic way, the Lounge is used as a rendezvous point for potential lake property clients as well as a space for classes, receptions and other business and community events.

About a year later, the agency announced the opening of JCR Land Co., a new division specializing in hunting and recreational land. Ockhardt also started JCR Service and Property Management, which helps sellers complete minor projects around their homes before putting the properties up for sale.

Last year, he subdivided J. Chivers Advisory, which specializes in commercial real estate. He also started Matz & Greiff Media Group, a marketing company that works for Jack Chivers Realty. Based in Perham, the company operates out of an old auto repair shop that has been remodeled into a creative 'think tank' type of environment, complete with a DJ station, drum set, ping pong table, full kitchen and more.

Around that same time, Ockhardt was getting Lake Life Magazine off the ground, a publication designed to communicate the "lake life" mentality to anyone who might be interested in visiting or living here. From that, an online regional events calendar called Lake Life Wknd was born, and from that, a Lake Life Wknd podcast.

Ockhardt also recently started the Explore Lake Life Expo, a Fargo-based expo that invites vendors from Lakes Country to showcase some of what the lakes area has to offer. The 2018 expo took place in February and featured 40 vendors.

It all comes from a desire to share the concept of "lake living" through as many creative means as possible, Ockhardt explained of his endeavors; to spread the word about Lakes Country, and promote the lifestyle of lake culture.

"I'm trying to communicate Lakes Country, and the idea that we can bring you home here," Ockhardt said. Most people know Jack Chivers Realty buys and sells properties, he added, "Now, we're making a transition into telling people about what else we do."

All these efforts have created the need and opportunity for additional employees at Jack Chivers Realty. Today, the company has 15 salespeople, an office manager, a graphic designer and three other people working in marketing, plus owner/broker Ockhardt. In addition, Jasken Peterson's role is growing: she has recently become a business partner of Ockhardt's, and will serve as the Detroit Lakes market center team lead.

Though Ockhardt is licensed to sell real estate, he chooses not to, instead focusing on strategy, brand development, growth and marketing.

"I try to nurture, motivate and assist my agents," he said. "Other realty companies have their brokers competing against the other sellers, but I couldn't have made Chivers what it is today if I was also trying to sell."

More about Dirk Ockhardt

Born and raised in the metropolitan area of Dusseldorf, Germany, Ockhardt's history in business—and in Minnesota—goes way back.

When he was 16, the now 40-year-old spent a year in Barnesville, Minn., as a foreign exchange student. That experience connected him to Minnesota, he said, and though he's since traveled the nation, "that's still the only America I know, I like, I love."

After returning to Germany at the age of 17, he began to trade stocks (with his dad as a co-signer). He started his first company, a marketing and communications company, one year later with money he earned from those stocks.

"I come from an entrepreneurial family—it's just what I do and what I'm raised of," he said.

He also comes from a military family: his dad was an officer in the German Air Force, as was he. Ockhardt was stationed for a year in Happy Valley Goose Bay, Canada.

He later got a degree in banking and financing and then studied art and opened his own art gallery. Eventually, he got another degree, this time in business law.

"That was in preparation for being an eventual business owner," he said. "For the past 20 years, all I've done is think about projects and businesses. I've been doing this all my adult life."

Ockhardt returned to the States in 2009 to raise his son, Harry, and be closer to Harry's family in North Dakota. That's also when he began to focus on real estate sales. In 2013, he and two silent partners founded Ockhardt Realty in Fargo, which he still runs today along with Jack Chivers Realty. He moved to the Detroit Lakes area five years ago.

He and Harry maintain close ties with their family members back in Germany thanks to face-to-face smartphone apps and annual trips back to Dusseldorf. They also hold their roots tight by speaking only in German to each other at home.

In some ways, Ockhardt is still a true German: he holds on to his convictions, no holds barred.

"I'm a pretty passionate person and I come from a culture where arguing or expressing your opinion is not a bad thing—it's intended to resolve an issue or argument," he said. "I question everything, always. It keeps me fresh. I don't always just accept things."

That tendency to ask questions and challenge people, along with his naturally loud speaking voice, can make Ockhardt stand out amongst the local "Minnesota Nice" crowd. But, he said he's becoming more accustomed to the culture here, and continues to adapt.

In a lot of ways, Ockhardt has already adapted into what some would consider a "true" Minnesotan. Over the years, he's developed a fondness for canoeing, swimming, snowshoeing and just the outdoors in general—even in winter.

"For some reason, Minnesota is me," he said. "It took me a while to adapt, and I was very homesick for Germany—I was missing what I was used to. Now, after being here for almost 10 years, I can't imagine leaving. I really found that Minnesota is my calling."

Looking ahead, Ockhardt has big plans for the future of Jack Chivers Realty.

He's on track to easily meet all of his five-year goals for the company; next up is a longer-term plan to expand into other markets, to make the agency a statewide leader in lake property sales.

"We will always have an anchor in Detroit Lakes," Ockhardt said, "but this is just the beginning of my vision for Jack Chivers Realty. We have 10,000 lakes to serve."

Dirk Ockhardt



Visit Lakes Country in Fargo! Explore lake life at the Civic Center in downtown Fargo
on Friday and Saturday, February 23 and 24. Meet with lake locals in the heart of the
metro area to discover more about lakes country. The curated expo uncovers yearround
opportunity to explore, visit or live lake life. This year includes LIVE on-stage
podcasts with multiple guest speakers both days.


Friday, February 23rd | 3PM – 8PM
Saturday, February 24th | 10AM – 6PM


Civic Center, Downtown Fargo
207 4th Street N Fargo, ND


>Live on-stage podcasts with 9 speakers on 3 lake life topics
>MN DNR road show and kids’ activities
>Exclusive smartflower solar technology public release exhibit
>Lakes Country food court


Zorbaz, Hydroflight Sports, Jack Chivers Realty, Lakes Area Landscaping, At Ease
Dock & Lift, Seaberg Powersports and many more.


$5 per adult | $10 per family | Free admission with Home & Garden Show ticket
Tickets can be purchased at the door the days of the event.



For further information or media inquiries, please contact:
Dirk Ockhardt | | (701) 200-3458

Dirk Ockhardt


OPEN HOUSE TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10TH, 2017 @ 4:00 - 6:00PM

Please join us for an open house at our new office at 318 West Main Street in Perham on
Tuesday, October 10th @ 4:00 - 6:00pm


New full-service advertising agency moves into Matz & Greiff garage in Perham which was established in 1927. The agency has renovated the historic building preserving its character and utilizing the open shop concept for their creative work space. The raw and industrial atmosphere of the original garage delivers the newly founded group an inspirational environment for their creative projects. The owner, Dirk Ockhardt, liked the name Matz & Greiff because he studied in Greifswald, Germany and kept the original name, adding a Griffon, the city’s symbol, in memory of his time spent there as well as building on the history made in the former garage.


At Matz & Greiff we look at the past to learn and take the today to create the future for our clients. With our comprehensive group background, we achieve success stories for our partners in radio, TV, print, live or online. In our think tank environment, we develop design work, plan events or reinvent an entire brand identity to enhance our clients’ business success.

Explore our service divisions and let us build your new brand strategy.

We are proud to name a few of our current projects and publications: LAKE LIFE WKND podcast, Explore Lake Life Expo Fargo and Minnesota’s LAKE LIFE magazine. For more details, please contact us directly at (218) 841-6433 or go to

Dirk Ockhardt

Steve Wilson joins Jack Chivers Realty and will work in the Vergas office to service both the Otter Tail and Becker County areas.

Steve is a North Dakota native and has been an outside sales territory manager in South-Eastern North Dakota and West-Central Minnesota for the past 35 years. He enjoyed family lake life since his childhood in the Walker area before finding his own lake property on Big Pine Lake. His success in sales derives from his focus on customer relationships, attention to detail and personal service approach.

Dirk Ockhardt