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Real estate agents face danger on the job

Alison Bowen, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

"You just never know what can happen," Figueroa said.

When she began the firearm class in November, she said the instructor told her she was the second broker to come in. The first, the instructor told her, had been raped.

"I want to choose and have control of my own destiny," she said, "because at this point, I should have been dead."

Some agents mention crimes like the 2014 kidnapping and murder of Beverly Carter, who prosecutors said was killed in Arkansas after a duo set up a fake appointment with Carter to see a property.

"That shook me up big time," said LoVerde, a broker since 2013. At the start of her career, she went to houses and apartments everywhere.

"I would work with anyone that had a pulse," she said, "without even considering the position that I was putting myself in."

 

One night sticks out. She had gone to an unfamiliar area at night, and found herself looking for the lock box in snow and black ice.

"I wasn't comfortable, I wasn't familiar with my surroundings," she said. "I had no business being there at all at 8 o'clock at night by myself."

Now, she's more careful about her physical and virtual behavior. On her social media accounts -- a necessity for agents to post listings and draw attention to available properties -- she used to post things like, "Come visit me," or "I'll have cookies." Now, she keeps it less personal with professional invitations from her company.

"I do think about that quite a bit," she said. "No sale is worth your life. No amount of money is worth your safety."

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