[Sota Lake Properties]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman, Amdak Productions
Is life really better at the lake? If your answer is, "No", maybe you just haven't been to the right lake - or the right cabin. Darin Trites has become a lake life pro, streamlining all of the factors that create the ultimate lakeside experience. His company, Sota Lake Properties, can help rent out your lake home and generate income, or find your perfect summer rental and start making memories. To elevate his offerings, he has recently joined forces with interior design specialist, Danielle Glorvigen, of Tumbleweed Designs. Together, they're taking Sota full circle to handle complete lake property management and marine rentals, along with lake home staging, interior design and remodels. If you love the lake but hate the maintenance, their team is ready to get to work, so you can get to the beach.
Ready to take the plunge?
Lakeside properties are one of the region's most valuable assets...if you have time to maintain the cabin, plumbing, landscape, dock, boat and shoreline. Before you dive in headfirst, you might want to meet Darin Trites and Danielle Glorvigen. Their days consist of everything from scouting lake property for investors, staging or designing cabins, managing boat rentals, and most often, sending crews to tackle an array of maintenance issues all over the region. With only 12 summer weekends, Sota wants to make sure you spend more time on the lake, and less time on that leaky pipe you've been meaning to get to.
Rent your Retreat
To find out how Sota takes on their tasks, we met up with Glorvigen and Trites at one of the summer rentals on Pelican Lake, Minn. Trites had scouted the property and the owner decided to purchase it as an investment. Although the owner's originally from Fargo, he currently resides in Minneapolis. The property consists of a beautiful lakeside cabin with additional living quarters in the lower boathouse which suspends directly over the water.
Head to the roadside through the stone archway and guests will find a newly remodeled rec room and bonus cabin nestled into the woods. Glorvigen and Sota managed the rec room project, infusing the rundown garage with a newfound purpose. The interior got a wash of fresh white paint while Glorvigen redesigned the space to include a chic TV lounge, game area, working wet bar and garage door screen. Altogether, the property's two cabins and boathouse sleep up to 20, so the rec room serves as an informal common area where all guests can gather.
"Last summer, I rented this cabin out for the whole season, but we still have some available weekends open for this summer," said Trites. "We work with a lot of large groups and this cabin can handle multiple families, which makes it far more cost-efficient than a hotel stay. Coming up, we have a family that's hosting a wedding at The Barn and they're planning to rent this property with about 20 people."
This is just one of the many properties Sota manages, giving the owners peace of mind knowing the cabins will be properly rented, checked, maintained and prepped for guests. While Trites works with the investor side, marine rentals, and maintenance, Glorvigen brings an education in marketing and over 10 years of interior design experience focused on lake homes. Through staging, remodeling, and project management, her designs can substantially increase the property's value and work to pique the interest of potential renters.
Consider it almost like an Airbnb, the more appealing the property, the more income it can generate. They've even started sourcing locally-made products to include in custom welcome baskets for each visiting family; a fun perk that also helps support their favorite local businesses. After arrival, guests can easily request anything ranging from a boat rental delivery, to gas and firewood.
Get to Know Sota!
Trites is originally from Perham, Minn., but his first step into property management started as a joint venture with his business partner while living in Minneapolis. Seventeen years ago, they purchased a lake home together and tried their hand in the world of rental properties, long before concepts like Airbnb. "We were shocked at what we were able to do with that rental; it was far better economically than owning a regular rental home," said Trites. "It went really well, so we kept buying rental properties. Six years ago, people started asking if I'd manage their rental, but it wasn't until three years ago that I started Sota Lake Properties." Today, Trites lives on Long Lake in Frazee, Minn., and his company consists of four branches; property management, rental, interior design and marine rentals.
Lake Life On-Demand
Sota Lake Properties may have started with rental management, but it's since changed to meet the needs of lake homeowners, in general. Trites and his team of contractors can be hired for almost any task, like lawn care, yearly bug sprays, cleaning, changing light bulbs, water line issues, dock installs - really anything that lands on a honey-do list. If you're a snowbird, they'll even do monthly property checks throughout the winter months, then make sure your cabin's ready to use upon your return. Some of his lake homeowners have opted to rent boats through Sota as they need them, avoiding costly maintenance and storage that comes with ownership.
"We work with several subcontractors, so if you just bought a lake home, and maybe you aren't from the area, we can manage that process for you," said Trites. "You're not going to get charged more by going through us; our contractors take a discount, so our fee is taken from the difference. We can do one-time services, or customize a weekly, monthly, or seasonal package. We offer monthly payment plans so the cost can be spread out over many months, versus just June, July and August."
Tumbleweed Designs + Sota Lake Properties
In June, Danielle Glorvigen of Tumbleweed Designs officially merged with Sota as their exclusive designer. While Glorvigen will be managing rental redesigns, she is also available to work one-on-one with lake homeowners who are looking for interior design or remodels. "As a designer, I'm used to doing most everything on my own, so getting to work with Darin's team of handymen, carpet cleaners, and contractors whenever I need, is something I really appreciate," said Glorvigen.
Another area Glorvigen will be managing is the branding of the rental properties, using her marketing and advertising degree to design creative promotional materials to reach potential renters. "I really like the fact that I am able to enhance the properties to help reach more travelers, provide a unique environment, and enhance the owner's rental credentials," she explained. Living her passion, Glorvigen and her husband, Jesse, reside in Perham, Minn., with their two children, ages 14 and 10.
"I live in the lakes area and have been a designer for over ten years; my favorite projects have always been designing for lake homes," said Glorvigen. "I worked in hospitality in college, then got my degree in Marketing and Advertising, so it's fun to bring those backgrounds to Sota Lake Properties. I even did landscaping with my family's business for years, so it's nice to be able to use all of those skills in one business."
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