How can homeowners get the best possible price when selling their homes? In a recent interview with Jason Hartman at Authority Magazine, Latham Jenkins argued that it’s not only market timing and negotiation that count, but using powerful, emotionally-connecting storytelling to motivate prospective buyers to want to live there.
The piece is one of the latest interviews with Jason Hartman, himself the CEO of Empowered Investor and an experienced real estate guru. Interviewing Jenkins for Authority Magazine—which has featured interviews with everyone from Peyton Manning and Kerry Washington to Dr. Jane Goodall and Mark Cuban—highlights how Jenkins’ approach to selling luxury homes in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area is resonating with home buyers.
In the piece, Jenkins explained his unique “storytelling” approach to helping homeowners get the best possible price with selling. This storytelling approach is designed to connect emotionally with prospective buyers and help them envision living in the property.
How Storytelling Helps Home Sellers Get the Optimal Price on Their Homes
Too often, Jenkins says, home sellers believe that the usual rules of effective brand storytelling don’t apply to luxury homes. Yet Jenkins reports that his experience is just the opposite. Storytelling in every form—in both print and digital media—is key to inspiring buyers to take action.
“I launch every listing just like a product launch,” Jenkins told Hartman. “I generate a narrative, I support it by shooting the reinforcing visuals (photos and video), and I develop the creative executions to run in print and digital mediums. I like to launch it with an open house and give the potential buyers and their agents an opportunity to tour it in person or virtually. This motivates buyers to act immediately and generates multiple offers. The outcome ensures sellers realize the best price in their home and enables us to pick from the offers which buyer is most likely to close.”
Call it “The Latham Approach.” In the piece, Jenkins detailed how he uses this narrative-generating strategy to help potential buyers envision themselves in a home. Jenkins employs the reinforcing visuals of photos and video to help these buyers see themselves there, then adds the in-person or virtual tours. From there, Jenkins consults with the sellers to find the best fit from among the offers. This yields not only the best possible price on an upscale home but the most favorable possible terms for the buyer.
A History of Storytelling—Applied to the Modern Home Market
Jenkins isn’t new to the art of storytelling. He credits a history teacher, John B. Young, with helping shape his passion for building great stories. According to Jenkins, Young would spend “endless hours” coaching and teaching those working on the school yearbooks as to what constitutes a great story.
“I was the school photographer,” Jenkins told Hartman. “[Mr. Young’s] critique of my work was invaluable in shaping my understanding of visual communication. Thirty-five years later, I still hear him in my mind saying, ‘what is that photo going to tell a viewer? Keep shooting, Latham. Capture the story.’”
Great homes, Jenkins argues, are like great brands. “All brands need to occupy a position in a consumer’s mind. Our focus on ranch and large estate properties has created a specialized niche,” said Jenkins. This has led to Jenkins being recognized in the Jackson Hole area as a valued resource—not only for buyers but for sellers of these upscale, luxury homes.
For Jenkins, every new home is a unique story waiting to be told. And every story should end the same way: with home sellers thrilled with the price they received, and homebuyers feeling like they’ve found “the one.”
How Jenkins Helps Home Sellers Get their Optimal Price
How does Jenkins achieve this with his sellers? He left Jason Hartman with several tips. The first, he said, was to stage the home. But Jenkins made a special note not to stage the home only for photos and videos, but to keep that staging for all showings. “No bait and switch like we have all experienced with hotel property shots,” Jenkins said. According to Jenkins, the property should look similar in the photos as it does in real life, helping tell a consistent story in the buyers’ minds.
Jenkins’ next tip was to choose a realtor with a marketing edge. “I am often amazed at who sellers or buyers choose for representation,” said Jenkins. Rather than selecting someone because of who you know, Jenkins said, it’s better to choose a professional with a proven track record of storytelling with each home. “It makes all the difference in the outcome.”
But not every tip is focused on telling a story—it’s also about improving the story a home can tell. Jenkins recommends addressing any deferred maintenance so that the home itself is ready to sell.
To Jenkins, the goal is to get home buyers to see the home as move-in ready—a place they can see themselves living in soon. And that isn’t possible without addressing these potential maintenance issues. Jenkins reports he usually recommends getting an inspection done and fixing anything that can be fixed “within reason.”
“The last thing you want to do as a seller,” said Jenkins,” is to make price concessions as buyers discover what you already knew needed fixing.”
Addressing these maintenance issues helps home sellers approach the interaction with confidence: there’s nothing to hide. And confidence in the story each home tells ends up as confidence in the attitude of the buyer.
Jenkins also recommends that his home sellers respond to all offers. “I cannot express this enough to my buyers,” Jenkins told Hartman. The home price negotiation process is about coming together on price, Jenkins says. It’s not a game to avoid, but rather a process to be embraced as both buyers and sellers figure out what leverage they have to strike the best possible deal.
Finally, Jenkins admits that market timing is critical—and that there’s no forcing a sale if the market isn’t having it. Jenkins believes that the best time to list a home is when there aren’t many competitive options available for buyers to choose from. This puts more attention on the seller’s home and drives price competition.
What’s Next for Realtor Latham Jenkins
Calling today’s housing market “inventory-constrained,” with many more millennials having the purchasing power to compete on these homes, Jenkins sees plenty of opportunities for high-value home sellers. And increasingly, today’s technology—including Facetime, Zoom, and 3D tours—has made it possible for sellers to reach a larger potential audience than ever before.
In his work, Jenkins also helps sellers understand the story of their own home. He regards realtors like himself as specialists—people who solve a specific need. And as Jenkins sees it, there is a need for high-end homeowners to view their home sale in the proper context.
“Realtors, like many other professionals, are specialists,” said Jenkins. “We engage a specialist for a reason, we have a specific need, call it a problem, and we need someone to help us solve it. We are smart to recognize that unless we do something very often, we are not an expert and are subject to making costly mistakes. Great realtors work to ensure your success in either buying or selling a home.”
To Jenkins, his role is not only in discovering and telling the story of each house, but in helping form a story that makes a house easy to sell at the highest possible price.
Interested in reading more? Access the full interview at Authority Magazine, where real estate expert Jason Hartman asks Latham to break down his full tips for getting the best possible price on a home.