Specializing in short sales was not part of Heather Keller’s original plan. Yet there is something about it, perhaps helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, that she finds rewarding. Keller, a real estate broker with KW Inspire, moved from Michigan to Chicago in 2006 to start a career in mortgage lending. Shortly after she arrived, the market tanked and mortgages were at a standstill. Always ahead of the trends, her husband, Chris, saw the wave of short sales coming and decided to dive in with her.
They left their jobs and started a business focused on short sales. “It was crazy back then; banks had no idea how to handle the influx of short sales,” Keller recalls. “Our first one was with Countrywide. It took them six months just to call us!” Once it was completed, they wanted to help other families avoid foreclosure. Without mentors, they learned from experience, assisting buyers and sellers in Elgin and the surrounding area. “Here we are, 14 years later and still handling short sales,” Keller remarks. Ahead of the trend once again, her husband started another business — it involves sports cards — and it’s booming.
A much sought-after expert — she has published a book on short sales and lectured on the topic to attorneys and fellow real estate agents — Keller also assists buyers and sellers with traditional transactions. “I have seen everything when it comes to a short sale,” she shares. “Because of my knowledge, people trust me. They trust me to handle their purchase after going through a short sale, and years later, they trust me to sell their home!”
In 2020, Keller disrupted the status quo by leaving her longtime brokerage to join KW Inspire and started a radio show, Real Talk Elgin. The risk paid off: last year was her best to date, and she closed one of her biggest short sales as a dual agent, the old Pritzker house in Evanston. “In order to grow,” Keller always says, “you must go outside your comfort zone.”