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The Smith Story

March 2016


The little beige house, with its fenced backyard and perfect shade-of-blue shutters, convinced Casey and Ashten Smith to move to Geneva.



They could have stayed in Lincoln, with Casey commuting to his job at Flint Hills Resources. They also looked at York, to ease the culture shock a bit for Casey. (He’s a Pueblo, Colo., native who’d never been in small towns before, outside of a few visits to Ashten’s hometown of Spencer, Nebraska.)

  Geneva had enough selling points that they house hunted here, too. Large houses. Historic houses. A few in between. Nothing clicked. They kept looking on Zillow and, which linked them to the Walter Real Estate Web site and Realtor Karla Jacobson, which led to the day they parked their little pickup in front of a For Sale sign on F Street and saw possibilities. 



They stepped inside and suddenly it was all “’The piano could go here’ and ‘I could make this my music room’ and ‘ Look at that woodwork’ and ‘King Kong will love this …’”



“We knew it was a work in progress, but it seemed just right for us. Not big, not tiny. A good fit for a dog (King Kong), a dainty cat (FuzzBuzz) and the two of us,” Ashten said, sitting at the table in their open kitchen dining space, their favorite hangout spot. "We were glad to be able to work with Karla. She gave us great advice."



They moved in January of 2014 and the 1915 house probably didn’t know what hit it.  Its new owners spend as much of the summer as possible on a lake so they came with a boat. Casey is a mountain fanatic and came with snowboarding equipment and all the gear you keep when you never really leave Colorado behind.  They came with two pianos and a guitar, and eventually 19 area music students traipsing into Ashten’s music room at the front of the house, hoping to sing and play like their instructor with the mezzo-soprano voice that earned her a Young Artist position with the Wichita Grand Opera the summer of 2015.



Ashten and Casey repainted every room and hung the wedding pictures that are so special to them because they’re still newlyweds and Ashten’s mom gave one special picture as a gift. They ran electricity to the garage, and started remodeling to add another bedroom and bigger bathroom in the basement.



The backyard has a fire pit and white globe lights off the deck. That’s where they hang out when Ashten finishes a shift at A Little Inspiration and the music students head home and Casey returns from a day as Reliability Center coordinator at Flint Hills. 



The two met in downtown Denver, the classic boy-finishing-degree-in-engineering-physics meets girl-putting-two-master’s-degrees (vocal performance and vocal pedagogy) to-work-teaching-music-and-directing-a-church-choir-story.



They’ve found finding the right house has vague similarities to finding your spouse. Out of all the towns and all the houses on the market, you need the one that absolutely fits you (and your 120-pound dog)




If you are searching for a home and interested in a local, independent agent to work with you, give us a call at 402-759-3300 or contact us online.  To start looking around today, visit our online real estate listings.



Our Locations

Fortify Group - Geneva

209 S. 10th St. PO Box 424
Geneva, NE 68361
Main office: 402-759-3300

Fortify Group - Shickley

207 N. Market St. PO Box 193
Shickley, NE 68436
Main office: 402-627-2055

Our Providers


At a big company what you don't get is that feeling of home; that feeling someone is taking care of you. That has been really nice here.
Dave H.
Thank you,Karla! I really appreciated your knowledge and expertise during this home buying experience! So glad we have you in Geneva!
Shelbi P.
I enjoy our conversations, Karla. You are fun to be around and so authentic. I appreciate that and you! Now go eat some football snacks and relax!
Barbara S.