Why one Chicago broker chose to get a gun

"No sale is worth your life"

New York Weekend Edition /
Dec.December 03, 2017 11:03 AM

U.S. Air Force Maj. Lillian Talavera demonstrates an open-palm strike on an attacker during a 2014 self-defense class. A stock photo of an empty home is in the background. (Credit: front photo by U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock; background photo by Pixabay)

A 13-year veteran of the industry, broker Sonia Figueroa never thought she would end up deciding to get a gun to feel safe at work.

But three incidents this year made her change her mind: an office robbery, a pit bull attack and what seemed like a drug deal occurring simultaneously as she was doing a showing, prompted Figueroa to sign up for a conceal carry course.

“I want to choose and have control of my own destiny,” she told the Chicago Tribune, “because at this point, I should have been dead.” When she showed up to her class, the instructor told her she was the second broker he’d taught.

Agents’ safety at work, particularly while doing showings in empty apartments or vacant lots, has become an increasing focus with The National Association of Realtors declaring this past September “agent safety month” and working to gather new data about workplace dangers for real estate agents.

Bsed on data currently available from an NAR survey this summer, The Real Deal reported 4 percent of agents declared themselves victims of a crime, but 38 percent of those surveyed said they had felt unsafe at work within the past year.

Figueroa’s decision to carry comes alongside numerous other precautions she has set up as part of her work routines, such as withholding personal details she used to share on social media. She also refuses to work with clients who weren’t preapproved for a home loan.

“It’s not about how much they can afford. It’s is this person who they say they are? And are they intending to actually spend time with you for the right reasons?” she told the Tribune.

Other resources to help agents include mobile phone apps such as Forewarn, which checks clients for violent crime records; NAR’s Trust Stamp that helps verify clients’ identity; and the Chicago-specific Homesnap Safety Timer, which allows agents to set a timer on how long a showing should take after which messages are sent to the agent’s pre-set emergency contacts.

“No sale is worth your life,” Figueroa told the Tribune.

[Chicago Tribune] — E.K. Hudson


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
The average price of a London home rose above 500,000 pounds, or roughly $685,000, for the first time. (Getty)
London home prices hit new high
London home prices hit new high
(Illustration by The Real Deal)
Americans bought 5.6M homes last year — the most since the bubble
Americans bought 5.6M homes last year — the most since the bubble
Freshly CEO Michael Wystrach and 28 East 28th Street (Photos via Twitter; Google Maps)
Freshly inks big lease in NoMad
Freshly inks big lease in NoMad
Randy Mastro and 21 East 83rd Street (Photos via Getty; Google Maps)
Former deputy mayor Randy Mastro, lawyer in Lucerne controversy, lists UES home
Former deputy mayor Randy Mastro, lawyer in Lucerne controversy, lists UES home
The median existing-home price exceeded $300,000 for the first time last year (iStock)
Vicious cycle creates “huge supply crunch,” pushing home prices up
Vicious cycle creates “huge supply crunch,” pushing home prices up
From left: Isaac Zion with JMC Holdings' Matthew Cassin (left) and David Taylor (right) (Photos via SL Green; JMC)
Former SL Green exec Isaac Zion joins Acram Group
Former SL Green exec Isaac Zion joins Acram Group
(Photo illustration by The Real Deal)
Inside mall owner Namdar’s rapid growth story
Inside mall owner Namdar’s rapid growth story
15 Park Row (Google Maps)
J&R Music founders sell Park Row apartment tower for $140M
J&R Music founders sell Park Row apartment tower for $140M
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...