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

LAKE LIFE WKND is a lifestyle podcast from northern Minnesota. In each episode, we will highlight upcoming events, share local news and we will interview a lake life guest from the area to speak about their engagement to the area.

This weekly podcast will benefit vacationers as well as residents in the
area to get latest updates and cool insights.

At we share the podcast and a complete event schedule for the area as well as a stories section and destination tips. This website is the only platform of its kind in the local area merging all necessary information to enjoy your weekend!

Dirk Ockhardt

Since 1966 Jack Chivers has worked in commercial real estate which is the foundation of the new division of business consulting services we have established. He will be leading the Business Broker and Commercial Sales side and Dirk Ockhardt will work as a Business Strategy & Analytics advisor.

Further, we have added Doug Gillam as Director of Research & Marketing to meet our promises and increase the quality of our services provided. He brings more than 30 years of experience in local, national and international sales to the group. Together they will cover the states of Minnesota and North Dakota to provide the following services:

Business Strategy | Commercial Real Estate | Mergers & Acquisitions

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.

Additional information can be found at

Dirk Ockhardt


The new JCR office opens doors in downtown Perham which is strategically located to grow market outreach and continue servicing its clients better. This new satellite office also has a store front as the existing offices in Fargo and Vergas. At all locations, JCR permanently displays local real estate property for sale in a street side window. This type of traditional advertising has proven great success over the past years and will be utilized at all future satellite offices. Buyers stop to look at flyers, take the LAKE LIFE magazine and feel more invited to enter. This marketing strategy also gives sellers an advertising advantage.

A new, full time agent, Jason Witzke, manages the new location and services the Perham marketplace. Jason is another local expert who adds great value to the JCR group and will work for clients in the Perham and surrounding area. His 15 years of experience in the real estate industry, including mortgage leading, property investments and sales, make him a priceless resource for both buyers and sellers for all real property types.

Ribbon cutting on Friday, November 11th at 10:30am at 107 West Main Street, Perham
Public is invited to meet the Chivers and visit the new office during the open house weekend
Friday, November 18 from 10am-5pm and Saturday, November 19 from 12pm-4pm

Dirk Ockhardt

JCR Land Co. is a new division of the group focused on hunting land and acreage

JCR Land Co. is a new division of Jack Chivers Realty specialized on land properties for hunting and recreational use. The new group of experts posses extensive knowledge and education of wildlife management and land conservation. Our improved services now supersede industry standards to serve both buyers and sellers better in the greater central Minnesota region with all real estate transactions.

Selling land does not only require necessary knowledge on land properties, but also access to market data for best pricing as well as a network of buyers. The new group of experts have access to all our resources available paired with extensive backgrounds to meet highest client expectation.

Our land experts are based in the heart of lakes country with a new office space at the LAKE LIFE lounge in Vergas, MN. This location is growing to be a meeting point for individuals seeking any kind of information on real estate properties in lakes country.

Learn more about JCR Land

Dirk Ockhardt

In 1966, Jack came to Detroit Lakes in Minnesota and began his career as a professional in real estate sales. He started working for Calhoun Realty out of Minneapolis on April 1, 1966 and worked the tristate area as a commercial sales agent for the following 1 ½ decades. He has sold small and larger businesses, e.g. hotels, newspapers, gas stations and shopping centers and more.

Jack then found his nitch as a „Lake Expert“ in the greater area around Detroit Lakes. On June 2, 1980 he founded his own brokerage named Jack Chivers Realty, offering both residential and commercial real estate services.

To this day, Jack is the most experienced and most successful real estate professional in possibly the whole tri-state area. His name has become an icon for recreational real property sales and is known far beyond local borders. On top of that, he is one of very few in the nation celebrating more than 50 years of industry experience and still actively selling.

Today, we have the honor to congratulate him on his anniversary and are proud to share he has no
intentions of retirement any time soon and continues to be active as a Broker Associate and mentor to our sales team.


Dirk Ockhardt

We are proud to announce that our top producing agent Lisa Jasken Peterson was awarded the highest honors by the Lakes Country Association of Realtors (LCAR)in Detroit Lakes and received the REALTOR of the year award 2015 at the annual membership meeting.

Lisa is a Minnesota native that became passionate for the real estate industry when she started
building homes prior to becoming a real estate agent four years ago. She is highly organized,
dedicated, and driven which has helped her serve several clients at one time and create an impressive sales history. With her experience in home sales, organizational coaching and graphic design - Lisa brings a creative element and a strong marketing background to the Jack Chivers Realty group.

Her REALTOR Spirit has been outstanding and she has been active in the LCAR Community
Interaction Committee. She has been great at generating ideas within the committee and showed how much she cares about our communities during the REALTORS Volunteer across Minnesota Week of Service this year. Over the past years she always strived to participate in association activities such as REALTOR Ring Day to name one. In the community she is very involved in her church, with school sports, is a former Jaycee, and is currently a Lakes Country Chamber Ambassador. She is married to Ben Peterson and the mother of 6 children.

The REALTOR of the Year is the highest honor that the Lakes Country Association of REALTORS can award to one of its members. The Award is presented annually to a REALTOR nominated by their peers, then selected by the REALTOR of the Year Committee, an impartial panel made up of members appointed by the Board of Directors.

The REALTOR of the Year award is given to the REALTOR member who best exemplifies the
Association’s dedication to professionalism, volunteerism, and involvement in the community as well as in the Lakes Country Association of REALTORS.

Dirk Ockhardt

The all new Lake Life lounge will open its doors in Vergas, Minnesota this August. The new location by Jack Chivers Realty offers a different approach to interact with clients and guests from outside the area to learn more about owning local and recreational real estate.

The lounge is centrally located in the heart of Lakes Country and will be open to the public year round. This unique environment will be used for client functions as well as possible art exhibits or similar events. JCR also plans to continue their “My First Lake Home” class series at their new location.

With the JCR main offices and the kiosk in downtown Detroit Lakes as well as a branch office in downtown Fargo, the Lake Life lounge becomes JCR’s fourth location to serve their clients. JCR continues to grow for better client accessibility and service for both selling and buying clients.

Local experts are local, something JCR stands for. Therefore, they decided to make themselves
available to buyers and sellers in Vergas as well. A full time agent will be available for clients at the new location year round.

The Grand Opening is scheduled for Saturday, August 22, 2015 from 4:00 to 8:00pm. JCR will share the latest Real Estate Market Updates over drinks and appetizers accompanied by live jazz music.

Since 1966, Jack Chivers is known in lakes country for Marketing beyond Borders. To this day, the agency follows the established traditions and remains the leading sales agency in the area. The market in 2015 is very strong, in fact it is the best year within the past 15 years. JCR sold more properties during the first half of this year compared to all of last year’s sales.

With the group consisting of 11 real estate experts and 3 full time office employees, JCR is capable of serving all clients with the complete spectrum of real estate from City, Rural and Lakeshore residential sales as well as land development and commercial real estate. JCR is the only agency in the area with a non-competing broker who is represented by sales agents.

Dirk Ockhardt
Chivers sells business, but will stay on

Iconic Detroit Lakes real estate agent Jack Chivers has sold his business — but he will remain there as a sales agent and will lead the eight-person sales team. Fargo businessman Dirk Ockhardt and two silent investors purchased Jack Chivers Realty on Jan. 1.

Ockhardt will serve as the new managing broker and president of Jack Chivers Realty.

He said he will focus on business quality, strategy, marketing and growth.

Jack Chivers Realty has sold more Minnesota lake homes, investment properties and commercial properties than any other real estate agency in the Detroit Lakes area, Ockhardt said.

It features properties locally, nationally and now also internationally, with connections in Europe through Ockhardt, who was born and raised near Düsseldorf, Germany.

Chivers has been in real estate sales since 1966.

He started his real estate career at Calhoun Realty of Minneapolis, and for the next 13 years he was a leading salesperson on the 200-person sales team, winning top honors 12 out of 13 years.

He launched Jack Chivers Realty in Detroit Lakes in 1985.

Jack Chivers Realty, on average, performs double the sales of its closest competitors, Ockhardt said.

“Jack and his team serve with excellence and integrity, and are the market leader in client satisfaction,” he added.

Ockhardt became familiar with the Midwest and Canada, first as a foreign exchange student in the lakes area, and later as a member of the German Air Force, stationed for a year in Happy Valley Goose Bay, Canada.

He has an interesting background: In 2000 he started his sales career with Dresdner Bank in Essen, Germany.

He earned an associate degree in banking, and planned to continue in an MBA program, but he got swept up in the world of art, eventually running his own art brokerage for several years before he returned to school to earn a law degree.

He returned to the Midwest in 2009 to raise a family and focused on real estate sales.

Ockhardt said he started his real estate career in 2011 with one goal in mind: to become a real estate broker.

He engaged with Jack Chivers to transition into the role of an owner-broker in 2012.  Last year, he founded Ockhardt Realty — the holding company for Jack Chivers Realty — with two silent partners in Fargo.

Ockhardt serves the community as a member of the Historic Preservation Commission for the City of Fargo, a member of the Board of Directors of the Rourke Art Museum, an active Fargo Rotarian and a committee member of the local realtor association.

He also co-founded the SoMA Fargo neighborhood (South of Main Avenue) in downtown Fargo and is an active downtown community member.

Dirk Ockhardt