Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce
Chamber Chat with Ty Counts, Owner/Broker & President at Apartment World
The Chamber is committed to telling the stories of our members. Chamber Chat is a regular series profiling our members. We love great stories about what has makes our members some of the best at what they do!
In this Chamber Chat, learn more from Ty Counts, Owner/Broker with Chamber member, Apartment World, and read about the level of service and experience he offers renters looking to find a great place to live in HTX. Ty is one of the best locators/agents in the business and one of the most experienced by far in the Houston area. Learn more about why listening to clients is a key aspect of his successful business.
Ty is regularly tapped by local media as an expert on real estate matters in the region. Check out his interview with Houston Public Media – “4 Tips For Apartment Hunting In Houston,” where he offers advice on when to move, when not to, and how to avoid places that flood.
Apartment World was a Gold level sponsor for the Chamber’s 2019 Pride in Business event.
Tirey “Ty” Counts
What is your 15-second “elevator speech” about what Apartment World does?
Since 1998 we have helped over 18,000 renters in the greater Houston area find their way home. The service is free, and we even pay a one-time 20% rent rebate back to the renter.
Briefly talk about what led you to start your company.
My mother was in real estate since before I can remember. Lots of my friends had moms who stayed at home, but my mother was a serious real estate agent. After 15 years of resisting entering the family business, I left the world of accounting and entered the world of real estate. I worked for my mother’s company for 5 years to learn my craft, then I started my own company after that.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about apartment location services?
I think renters believe that they can research on their own, and the internet is all they need to find a great rental at the right price. The truth is that a professional apartment locator simply knows things that the average consumer does not. Which properties handled their maintenance in a timely manner? What areas have more crime? What are the tricks to get the most bang for the buck? And did I mention that the service is FREE? (Locators are paid by the landlord.)
It seems that you as an LGBTQ business owner, offer a unique aspect to renters who are LGBTQ in terms of being completely comfortable as they make a big decision about where to live in HTX.
Well, I listen to my clients and I certainly notice when I feel they are hinting at wanting to know, “Where can my partner and I live and feel welcomed.” People moving to Houston from out of town typically do not know the first thing about the city. Or many may know the name “Montrose” (which they always mispronounce), but they don’t know anything beyond that. I typically spend 30-60 minutes in that first conversation really LISTENING to what they want and need in their new rental.
What do you think sets Apartment World apart from the competition?
Hmmm. I guess it is the experience. There are about 500 real estate agents who do rentals in the greater Houston area, but I seem to be the one that the media calls when they have a question.
Why did you join the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber?
If something is important to Tammi Wallace, then it is important to me. That is the truth in a nutshell.
Why do you think it’s important for LGBTQ businesses to have a concentrated voice?
Focus. Things work better when there is focus.
What’s the best advice you ever received as a business owner?
My mother once told me that running a business was like keeping a plant alive. The first year you have to feed the plant. The second year the plant can feed itself. The third year the plant can feed you.
What advice do your frequently share with other business owners?
Take 10% of your gross revenue (deposits), and set them aside for your taxes. Take 10% and put it away for savings. Then take 10% and put it in your personal account to spend on whatever you like. The remaining 70% in your business account will pay the bills.
What are the positive aspects of running a business in HTX?
This is a dynamic and vibrant city. Things are on the move, and I get paid when people move. Some people are upgrading their lifestyle. Other people are downsizing.
My father used to repeat this phrase about Houston, “This is a city where your green money makes your red blood blue.” I think he meant that this was a city that focuses less on WHERE YOU GREW UP and more about WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY. In one generation you can make something of yourself, and no one will worry that you did not go to an Ivy League school.
Now for some fun…Barbecue or Mexican, and where do you go for it?
OMG. BBQ. I like it sticky and sweet. None of this Carolina mustard BBQ or dry rub stuff. Give me something with a little honey, and some smoky flavor and I am in heaven. My favorite go to places are Goode Company BBQ, Luling City Market, or The Brisket House.
Anything else you want to mention about Apartment World?
I think of myself like both a teacher and a doctor. I am a teacher because I want to educate my clients on what they can expect at every price point. I teach them that “rent / sq. ft = quality”, and it is like gravity. Their BELIEF in gravity is not required. It just works. And I am also like a doctor. I need to LISTEN to the patient before prescribing the correct medicine. Finally, I help many clients transition from renting to becoming first time home owners, but that is for another blog post!
Learn more about Apartment World and how Ty can help you locate your next apartment.