Exceptional properties require exceptional expertise along with innovative solutions that transcend listing-as-usual. Here’s how Jackson Hole agent Latham Jenkins transformed a super-sized, hard-to-sell Wyoming spread into one of 2021’s most wanted properties.
Bill Healey, a former real estate developer, had preserved a 65-acre tract located just four miles from the town square of Jackson, Wyoming. It lived and played like a mini-national park situated in the middle of, well, everywhere. Bill’s instinct and experience told him that the property was worth $18.9 million. However, a number of real estate brokers listed it at prices ranging from $11.5 million to $13.5 million—and still couldn’t get it sold.
Telling the story of a property is not just a way to position it for sale within the marketplace. It’s an essential part of ensuring that the property is optimally valued—and that buyers can understand that value as well. Ultimately, Latham arrived with a unique skill set and the expertise to put together a marketing campaign strong enough to convey the true value of this property and attract the right buyer.
Latham focused his valuation analysis on the unique features of the property, including six natural, therapeutic ponds, the eponymous creek, a resident elk herd numbering in the hundreds, and more than 130 types of birds, including bald eagles and sandhill cranes. Its wide-ranging spaces provide room for fishing, horseback riding, cookouts with the grandkids, and campouts under the stars.
Latham understood that, with 65 acres surrounded by thousands of additional acres of conservation space, the formerly named Cody Creek Ranch needed a rebranding. He renamed it Cody Creek Sanctuary and focused his marketing efforts on the qualities that illustrated this new perspective. This change helped to attract the attention of luxury buyers who did not want a working ranch but were instead seeking a refuge or reserve.
Previously the marketing for the property focused on the house as the main selling point—and that’s where potential buyers were focusing as well. It seemed that everyone was missing the real value of the land and location. After all, while you can always change a house, you can never hope to recreate such an extraordinary natural setting.
Latham’s subsequent valuation viewed the 65 carefully curated acres as three-fourths of the property value. This took the focus away from its traditional log home, which most luxury buyers would likely have planned to change in some manner to reflect their personal taste.
Latham’s marketing strategy was based on both his conceptual re-evaluation of the property’s primary value as well as endless hours spent observing the property throughout the day. This gave him a sense of the livability that the homeowner would experience and that he wished to convey. As the author of the marketing presentation, Latham put into operation his creative instincts—honed over years as an advertising and media executive—and artistic vision—developed through his work as a professional photographer and videographer.
“I take the position,” says Latham, “that a listing agent or broker is like a movie producer—responsible for developing the storyline, assuring the right narrative, and providing supporting imagery to help the ‘audience’ (the buyer) connect with the value the property offers.”
Because the focus of this marketing campaign was on the livability of the land, Latham personally flew his camera drone to capture models fishing the ponds and Cody Creek. He videoed horseback riders traversing the property to appeal to equestrian buyers. He cleared a frozen pond and held an ice skating party.
In order to anchor the underutilized 36-acre northern tract of the property with an upgraded amenity, Latham established a safari-style wall tent and cookout area, complete with custom-made wooden benches. There he videoed dinner parties with marshmallows roasted over a firepit.
Finally, Latham captured images of the elk herds as they thundered across the property in the early mornings and evenings. He videoed bald eagles fishing in the ponds and sandhill cranes feeding in the marshes. Then he combined all of these images with inspiring music to create a stunning promotional video.
Latham’s newly conceptualized property presentation generated immediate showing requests and media attention. The venerable Wall Street Journal chose Cody Creek Sanctuary as a House of the Day, and its readers voted it House of the Week. Other media platforms picked up on the unique offering through Latham’s marketing and showcased it as well. This culminated in the eventual buyer being identified directly—and a successful sale at the homeowner’s chosen price.
“Latham’s expertise and energy coupled with his extensive marketing ability are a winning combination—a successful transaction.”
— Bill Healey, Owner
The buyer describes the promotional video as “magical. I watch it over and over.” Ultimately, readers of the WSJ agreed, choosing Cody Creek Sanctuary as a House of the Year—the first Wyoming property to ever receive this designation. This significant endorsement attests to the power of a story well told and a marketing presentation that resonates with those seeking the romance of life in the West.
In the end, Bill calls the sale of this unique property a successful transaction. He says, “Latham’s expertise and energy coupled with his extensive marketing ability are a winning combination.”
Ultimately, the vision that an agent brings to a property—and to the marketing of that property—makes a material difference for both buyer and seller. By maximizing the value of the property, homeowners can realize a difference of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars—funding a grandchild’s college education or a more comfortable retirement, and laying the foundation for generational wealth.