Residential Magazine

Q&A: Maggie Antillon-Mathews, Realty of Chicago

Giving a voice to Latinas in the real estate industry

By Jim Davis

Unquestionably, the U.S. Hispanic and Latino population is soaring. In 2000, 35 million Americans were Latino, or about 13% of the total population. Two years ago, 62.5 million were Latino, or 19% of the population. By 2060, the number is expected to grow to 111 million, or 28% of all Americans.

This shift will have a dramatic impact on housing. The Urban Institute projects that 70% of new homeowners in the U.S. between 2020 and 2040 will be Hispanic. Not only are there more Hispanic and Latino homebuyers in America, but more people of this heritage are making a career in real estate.

“Our stories are very unique. Most of us are first-generation Latinas. We were born here, but our parents weren’t.”

Maggie Antillon-Mathews, managing broker of Realty of Chicago, worked with Fig Factor Media to spearhead two anthologies called “Latinas in Real Estate: Stories of Passion, Resilience, and Breaking Barriers of Latinas in the Real Estate Industry.” Each volume (one released last year and one this past May) features the voices of 15 Latinas who have made a career in real estate. The books are available on

The most recent volume included two female mortgage originators: Pamela Stephens Re, a branch manager for Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, and Irma DeLeon, a branch manager for Geneva Financial. Antillon-Mathews spoke to Scotsman Guide about the project, what she learned and what she hopes the anthologies can accomplish.

Why is this important?

When I first started (in the real estate industry), there wasn’t anybody that looked like me. It was a very much male-dominated field, so I always felt very lost. I never had mentorship.

How are the Latinas who are profiled changing things?

You’ll see most of the authors in these books have not-for-profits, do charity work, do women-empowerment events. Our stories are very unique. Most of us are first-generation Latinas. We were born here, but our parents weren’t, so now our daughters have a very different story.

The books tell stories of women from all over the real estate industry, right?

Instead of just Realtors, we wanted mortgage brokers, we wanted women in the trades. We have someone who works for a credit-repair company. We tried to make it a little bit diverse in terms of the real estate field.

One of the things about these books is they’re not just about Latinos but Latinas. Why is that?

I think it’s just giving the power and the voice to women, the Hispanic women who have been kind of pushed down a little bit. So, it was more like an empowerment for the Latina woman.

What did you learn doing these books?

I learned that I’m not alone. I learned that our stories are very powerful and important. I’ve learned just the numbers of Latinas and Latinos in general.

Seventy percent of new homeowners will be Hispanic by 2040. Are people paying enough attention to that?

I think they have to. I find myself speaking more and more in Spanish on my consultations, which wasn’t like that before, when it was more 50-50.

What should decisionmakers in this industry know about the fast-growing Hispanic market?

I think paying attention to the needs of this population. There’s a lot of people that have ITIN (individual taxpayer identification numbers, used for tax processing.) There’s a lot of people that are DACA (people who were brought to the U.S. as children and allowed to remain). There’s a huge opportunity in that.

What do you hope these books accomplish?

That it brings out whatever it is that you already have inside of you. This is a lonely business, let alone being a Latina. I knew that I had something special in me, but there was nobody to ever draw that out. Now I’m an advocate for women. If you think you can do it, you can do it. Go after it. And ignite that spark in us that we already have. ●


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