Ben Schachter, broker-president of The Signature Real Estate Companies in Florida, first met Isabella Hellman when she was working as a bank teller. Seeing his company shirt with the real estate firm’s logo, she asked him about changing careers to real estate and, given her outgoing personality, he encouraged her to try it.

Isabella Hellman

He helped Hellman get licensed and then personally hired and trained her. She worked in one of his Delray Beach offices for the next 16 months.

The 41-year-old mother of one was still getting started but showing real potential as an agent when she disappeared in a boat accident she took with her new husband near the Bahamas on May 14. The case is now the subject of an FBI investigation and local news reports add to the story every week.

Schachter and his agents are meanwhile still holding out hope that Hellman will be found and the broker is refusing to take down the rookie agent’s photo and bio from the company website.

“I’m not accepting it,” he said. “She was a bubbly, delightful, charming and very congenial woman with a beautiful daughter she was very proud of.”

Her career in real estate was cut too short, he said.

Ben Schachter

“She had a real knack for it, she was really passionate about real estate. She was starting to flourish, developing salesmanship skills and a knowledge of the industry,” he said.

The broker has made himself available to talk to any of his agents, who are having a hard time with Hellman’s disappearance.

There are over 200 at the Delray Beach west office where Hellman worked and 600 total at Signature’s 17 offices around South Florida.

“It has been really devastating,” Schachter said. “A lot of people are very upset. There is a real dark cloud hanging over the company. You see these things on TV, but to have it happen to someone in our office is terrible.”

The company will likely hold some kind of memorial in the future for the missing agent, but they don’t want to do something too soon that would upset Hellman’s family.

“I’m not sure we are ready for it yet. We are still counting each day, praying that they will find some silver lining,” he said.

“She was a lovely, lovely woman. I’m still hoping that I luck out and she walks in the door. ”

Email Gill South.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Prepare for this fall with top agents & brokers at Connect Now this Tuesday.GET YOUR TICKET×
Limited time: Get 30 days of Inman Select for $5.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription