“Just like every person has a story, so does every property,” Jenkins says. “It’s my job to uncover the nuances of a lifestyle property, celebrate all the life that has been lived there—and help potential buyers see themselves writing the next chapters with their family and friends.”
Through the years, his ability to showcase the inherent emotion and romance of iconic lifestyle properties has captured the attention of buyers and luxury real estate media. In 2021, Cody Creek Sanctuary, a 65-acre Jackson Hole property with a resident elk herd, spring creeks, and a traditional log home, came in third place in the Wall Street Journal’s annual House of the Year reader poll. This was a first for a Wyoming home.
In the last two years, four more of Jenkins’ recent listings have received international media attention. The most recent, Lost Creek Ranch, earned the number four spot on the most-read Listing of the Day among Mansion Global’s readers. The recognition was an exceptional feat, considering the property hit the site on November 23, five weeks before the list was tallied.
Of course, Lost Creek Ranch possessed all the elements to create a compelling narrative. The historic property, situated on 50 acres between the Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest, graced the cover of Architectural Digest in 1993 and was featured in the 1953 movie “Shane” and an episode of the hit television series “Modern Family.” The rural compound has 27 buildings, including a main lodge, a spa, ten rustic cabins, and easy access to Wyoming’s defining recreational activities.
“Jackson Hole has been on the national stage for 30 years,” says Latham, noting that initial recognition confirmed his storytelling approach worked. “Achieving the same level of recognition with Lost Creek in 2023 shows that the way I market and promote lifestyle properties continues to resonate with luxury media and buyers.”
Location, Location, Location
Jenkins, a North Carolina native, discovered Jackson Hole in the summer of 1990 while he was still a college student. He came to the area to work as a river guide at Grand Teton National Park.
“I’m now in the middle of a 30-year love affair with Jackson Hole and the surrounding area,” Jenkins says. “My personal experience is the genesis for my tagline: ‘Find more than a home. Find a way of life.’ That’s what I did.”
This action to make the choice to stay is what ignited his innate desire to share the area with others. Both the town of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park lie within the mountain valley of Jackson Hole. Yellowstone National Park is just 60 miles away. Jackson Hole has long been a mecca for hunting, angling, skiing, paddling, hiking, camping, mountain biking—and so much more.
When Jenkins arrived, Jackson Hole was a relatively isolated, small town in the nation’s least populous state where the year-round residents had been drawn by the rich diversity of the natural playground. Most residents came from other places, leaving the security and support of extended family behind. As a result, the townspeople relied on one another to meet the challenges of life in a place that was equally beautiful and unforgiving.
“The frontier spirit and the sense of community defined life here,” Jenkins says. “It’s hard to explain, but the term ‘interconnected independence’ comes to mind—everyone leaned on one another but still lived life on their own terms.”
While local ski slopes opened in the 1960s, Jackson Hole didn’t get winter air service until the 1980s. The ability to come and go year-round strengthened the winter economy and made it possible for more people to live there permanently.
Simultaneously, remote work became possible. First came the fax machine and then the Internet. The COVID pandemic normalized remote work and prompted people to consider life far beyond urban centers. Young families, once precluded from living here because of the difficulty of making a year-round living, are now part of the growing population.
In recent years, Jackson Hole has become a sought-after destination zip code for lifestyle properties that is home to high-profile actors, musicians, athletes, and business moguls. Its desirability—domestically and internationally—has soared.
“I am passionate about sharing the enduring values of ‘frontiersmanship,’ independence, and community with newcomers because those values are the foundation of this rare, wonderful place that we get to call home,” Jenkins said. “Embracing this land and this lifestyle provides meaningful, enriching experiences that add depth to life.”
Identifying the Theme of a Lifestyle Property
Knowing that properties don’t reveal their whole stories to casual observers, Jenkins spends countless hours asking pointed questions and listening to family stories.
“In an ideal situation, the owners tell me about their favorite places and how they’ve lived here,” Jenkins says. “Their experiences, when they share them, give me a leg up on identifying the opportunities that will attract buyers who will appreciate those rare things.”
Armed with family lore or not, Jenkins sets out to explore the property with eyes wide open.
“With these lifestyle properties, I’m not selling four walls and a roof—I’m selling everything around it,” Jenkins says. “It’s my job to celebrate the setting. As I tell people, ‘You can always change the house, but you can’t change the property.’”
When he shows an iconic lifestyle property, Jenkins starts with the land so people can fall in love with the outdoors. To capture their attention initially, he relies on photographs that connect with their emotions.
An accomplished photographer and videographer, Jenkins takes all of the photos himself and, in the process, discovers the best places to watch sunrises and sunsets, spot wildlife, and enjoy private meadows or pulsating waterfalls. He finds and photographs prime picnic spots, horseback, hiking, and biking destinations, and the places where trout break the water of rivers and streams.
“I shoot at all times of the day and night, in all seasons and all weather,” Jenkins says. “By the time I’m done, I know the property intimately and can speak from first-hand experience.”
Obviously, each lifestyle property offers a different mix of opportunities. Jenkins just showcases the activities that are possible on any given ranch, whether it’s the fire pit ideal for making s’mores with the grandkids or the deck overlooking the river that has been designed so dinner guests can watch the sunset.
“I try to capture all of the emotional moments on film and video because they won’t all play out during a showing,” Jenkins said. “Having all the photos also serves as a guidebook because not all buyers have experience in the outdoors, and they may not be aware of the recreational opportunities that come with ranch ownership.”
For a lifestyle property, the closing marks the end of the transaction and is the measure of a story well told. Lost Creek Ranch closed on January 31, 2024.
Macye Maher, CFO and Founding Partner of Live Water Properties says, “It is a testament to our thorough listing process and relationship-building that Live Water Properties was able to bring an iconic ranch like Lost Creek gracefully and respectfully to market and close the deal in a timely manner. The strength of our network, the caliber of the property itself and its location—it’s the perfect Rule of 3s.”
And while one family’s ownership has ended and another has begun, the story of land stewardship will continue to be written.
Alex Maher, CEO and Founding Partner of Live Water Properties, says, “Given the wild and scenic positioning of Lost Creek Ranch between Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger Teton National Forest, future stewardship alignment was paramount in our seller’s goals. Alongside the professional team in the Halpin family office, Jenkins effectively communicated each nuance in the ranch’s historical context and secured a sale to a family that we believe will be excellent stewards far into the future. It was a privilege aligning all personal and conservation interests for such an important regional asset.”
Jenkins finds his ultimate satisfaction at the intersection of the past and future.
“A lifestyle property hold the memories of a lifetime for the seller’s family, so I have a responsibility to show reverence to the land and the people who lived have lived bold, beautiful lives here,” Jenkins said. “I pay homage to its vibrant past, so buyers can see its—and their—future.”