LaBarres, longtime realtors in Detroit Lakes, retire: Counselor Realty takes over ERA Northland's spot

The former ERA Northland Realty sign over the offices at the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Frazee Street in downtown Detroit Lakes now reads Counselor Realty, marking a significant change on the local real estate scene. ERA Northland owners Dave and Patty LaBarre have closed up shop and headed into retirement, selling their former office building to Counselor Realty partner Eric Lundmark.

Counselor Realty.jpg
Detroit Lakes' Counselor Realty recently moved its offices from the north end of Washington Avenue to the southeast corner of the Washington Avenue/Holmes Street intersection, in the heart of downtown. They made the move after Eric Lundmark (pictured), a partner at Counselor, purchased the former ERA Northland building from owners Dave and Patty LaBarre, who both retired on Dec. 1.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

There have been a few changes in the local real estate scene over the past couple of months. Recent visitors to downtown Detroit Lakes may have noticed that the ERA Northland Realty sign over the office at the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Frazee Street has been replaced with one that reads Counselor Realty.

ERA Northland Realty, founded in 1971 by Chuck Erickson and Harry Johnston and purchased by Dave LaBarre in 1987, has now closed, following the retirement of Dave and Patty LaBarre on Dec. 1.

"It's just time," said Patty LaBarre in a recent interview, adding that she and Dave are both in their mid-60s. "I've done real estate for 21 years, but Dave has done it since he graduated from college."

When Dave LaBarre started with Northland Realty in 1977, Warren Nunn was the manager; Patty joined the firm in 2000. Their son, licensed realtor Jack LaBarre, and realtor Deanna Sinclair, both formerly of ERA Northland, have now joined Counselor's team.

Eric Lundmark, a partner at Counselor Realty, has purchased the building at 901 Washington Avenue and all of the Counselor Realty agents and staff have made the transition to their new home.


"I liked the location," said Lundmark of the reasons for his decision to make the purchase, and the firm's choice to relocate there. "We're excited to be downtown, and to get a little more involved with all the downtown activities. It's a very desirable place to be."

"We weren't unhappy with our old location," said Mike Ring, who has been a broker with Counselor Realty since first opening the local office in 2008. "We just thought that this space ... will take us to the next level."

The LaBarres, meanwhile, are enjoying their transition into retirement.

Dave Patty Bon Voyage photo.jpg
Local realtors Dave and Patty LaBarre are headed off into the sunset after selling their ERA Northland Realty building and closing their office at 907 Washington Ave. Counselor Realty partner Eric Lundmark purchased the building, which he is leasing to the firm.
Contributed / Laura Wagoner / Special to the Detroit Lakes Tribune

“I want to extend our appreciation to those who helped us along the way; from the founders who gave me a start in the business 44 years ago, to all the agents and employees over the years, and especially to our clients who have made this a great career,” said Dave LaBarre. "Thank you all."

His wife and co-owner, Patty LaBarre, added, "Thanks so much to everyone who has worked with us over the years. I’ll miss you!”

She later noted that she would also miss being right in the heart of downtown to start work every day.

In addition to their contributions in the real estate industry throughout the region, the LaBarres have been supporters of several community causes, and Patty has spearheaded the grassroots project of ensuring downtown Detroit Lakes is a showpiece year round, with the Downtown Alive beautification project that brought about such colorful summer flowers and winter displays. Patty did a lot of work to ensure that the project had monetary support from area individuals and businesses from year to year.

"I'll still be involved with that," she said, adding that she is also considering the possibility of applying for a position on Detroit Lakes' newly-created Arts and Culture Commission, in addition to continuing her involvement with the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club.


Beyond that, Patty said, she and Dave have not made any definite plans, other than a road trip out west to visit family and friends.

"We're headed to Vancouver, Washington, to see my cousin," Patty said. " Then we're going south on Highway 1 (which follows the Pacific coastline through California)."

She added that she's looking forward to taking her first "real" vacation in many years — a vacation that's so impromptu that they haven't even booked any hotel rooms along the route.

"It's going to be fun," she said.

Lundmark said he is optimistic about the future of the Counselor agency. “I’m looking forward to the growth of Counselor Realty in its new location, and with the addition of Deanna Sinclair and Jack LaBarre to the team," he said, adding, "I wish all the best to Dave and Patty LaBarre in their retirement.”

Ring added that with a staff of 12 licensed agents, they hope to grow their business even more than in the past.

"We had $70 million in sales this past year," he said, noting that their average sale price was "about double" what their next closest competitor had achieved, due to the fact that they sell a lot of "high-end" lakeshore and commercial properties.

"We've been incredibly fortunate," he added.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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