The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, especially if you ask Cory Knopf, a lifelong Oceanside resident and real estate broker at Hal Knopf Realty.
Knopf recently inherited her father Hal’s family business — not out of obligation, but out of shear passion for the job — after he died at 76 last September. He started the company in 1982 and was the longest established real estate broker on Long Island’s South Shore, serving the community for more than three decades.
“To be successful for my father’s legacy, keep his name in this town and keep it successful is almost everything to me,” Knopf said.
For 22 years, Knopf worked under her father. Now, she’s taking the reigns at the Oceanside real estate office. The job itself is nothing new, though, she said; she has managed and trained the company’s 15 agents for more than 10 years.
“Real estate isn’t difficult, it’s natural to me,” Knopf said. “But it was — and still is —difficult to not have my father here. And I’m sure it will be forever.”
Knopf said that ever since she can remember, she heard her dad making real estate deals over the phone. Growing up, she recalled, she and her brother, Brad, knew when the phone rang “everyone had to zip their mouths” as he negotiated. In her 20s, Knopf worked for three years at a marking job, but soon became displeased with the company and quit. Her father suggested realty, so she went to work for him and never looked back.
“I love seeing 90 percent of our sales end in smiles,” she said. “People are so happy to find their house and people are so happy to sell their house. It’s just very rewarding.”
Hal Knopf Realty does about three-quarters of its business in Oceanside and the immediate Rockville Centre and Baldwin areas. As a lifelong resident, Knopf said she enjoys selling the Oceanside community as much as the houses. “I can go on and on about Oceanside,” she said, citing Oceanside Library, Friedberg JCC, shopping and its proximity to Long Beach and Manhattan as some of its biggest assets.
Over the years, Knopf and her father bonded over the job, and she picked up on many keys to success in the business. “My dad was an incredibly special person and incredible businessman,” Knopf said. “Honesty and integrity — that was always on our advertising and my father taught me that you’re never retiring from one deal. Your business is successful from referrals. The truth is if you have a good experience, you tell two people; if you have a bad experience, you tell 20.”
Knopf said she plans to organize things the way her father ran the practice by maintaining amicable relationships with other realtors, a family-vibe in the office and transparency with clients, she said.
Alexis Owens, of Oceanside, is a “return customer” of Knopf’s, having bought and sold her first home, and then buying her current home, with her. “She provides a personal experience,” she said. “She won’t waste your time — she brings you to houses that are a great fit for you and your family.”
On the business end, Knopf does have a few changes up her sleeve, such as increasing marketing on social media and revamping the office.
Sondra Lisi, a longtime Oceanside resident and the first employee Hal hired in 1982, still works at Hal Knopf Realty and praised Cory’s forward-thinking. “I feel like we’ve taken larger leaps forward since Cory took over,” she said. “She’s made many good changes, and we’re moving forward with the times.”
Although much of the office is under renovation, Knopf left her father’s office — now, her’s — untouched, including the horseracing artwork that lines the walls, an image that depicts another passion Hal passed down to his daughter. “It’s pretty much exactly the way it was when he was here,” she said, “and I never plan to change it.”