His real estate agency specializes in preserving the history of this Southern town
Company: Tony Curtis Realtors Owner: Tony Randall Curtis Established: 1997 Location: Little Rock, AR Contact:tonycurtisrealtors.com Type: Real Estate
INSTINCT: How’d you end up in real estate?
TONY CURTIS: It was 1991 and I was trying to purchase my first home, a beautiful Victorian-style home in the historic Quapaw District. The process dragged on for five years.
Well, the property was tied up as an asset of the bank that had just gone under as part of the Whitewater mess. It was supposed to be used as property for an entertainment district, but everything was convoluted and people were in cahoots and the sale could never go through. I saw the way real estate could go wrong, and I really wanted to learn more about how to do it right by using ethics.
But you only wanted to concentrate on the historic areas?
My company specializes in Little Rock’s five historic districts and the central business district. Homes in this area date back to the 1840s. Most are late 1800s/early 1900s and can range from 1,000 to 12,000 square feet.
And the people?
Average people to millionaires. Very diverse. Not gentrified neighborhoods by any means.
Now tell us about the name.
I wasn’t named after the actor. My mother just wanted to name me Tony. Our last name just happened to be Curtis. Of course, my father wanted to name me Randall, so I ended up as Tony Randall Curtis. Two pseudo-homosexual actors that readers may have heard of. Or not. That’s how I know how someone’s over 40. They actually know who Tony Curtis is.
Have you always lived in Little Rock?
I was born here but lived in Dallas for 10 years.
How are the two cities different?
Little Rock has a lower cost of living and has more diverse historic areas. Dallas doesn’t preserve theirs as well, and I don’t want that to happen here. The real estate market is insane there. It’s much more consistent here.
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Why do you like living downtown?
The Repertory Theatre, the Clinton Presidential Library, the River Market entertainment district, historic Central High and, of course, the houses.
No, we’re also part of the downtown condo boom. Because more people want an urban lifestyle, one of the projects we’re working on is the historic Lafayette Building. It’s an old hotel that was built in 1924 and is now being converted into a mixed-use building, including 30 condos starting at $169,000.
What’s the best thing about living in Little Rock?
Easily the cost of living. And it has a small-town feel where you know everyone. The people are great, too.
How was starting your own business in Little Rock as a gay man?
It simply wasn’t an issue. But business doesn’t come automatically because of it, either.
What’s your advice for anyone (especially gay men and women) who want to start their own business?
Save up plenty of money for the lean times and have a great backup team of attorneys, bankers and accountants.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you while showing a house?
One time I showed a house to this married straight couple. Then, later that day, the husband called me back and wanted to go on a date.
Really? How was the date?
I told him "No" because he was married…and had kids.
It all goes back to getting in the business because of ethics?
5 Mistakes People Make When Trying to Sell Their Home
1. Not getting rid of smoke odors.
2. Cooking smells that linger (like fish or curry).
3. Not cleaning up after your pet.
4. Too much furniture.
5. Decorating that’s over the top.
You Know You’re Looking At A Gay-Owned House When There’s…
1. Same-gender clothes in both closets.
2. Too many skin products in the bathroom.
3. A designer dog yipping in the laundry room.
4. Very elaborate landscaping.
5. A boat, camper and RV all in the driveway (lesbian-owned homes only).