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Kristen Rishe, owner and broker of North Fork Real Estate, in her new Southold office. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)
Kristen Rishe, owner and broker of North Fork Real Estate, in her new Southold office. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Kristen Rishe’s initial foray into real estate was anything but conventional.

The Orient native began working for Century 21 Albertson Realty in Southold in 1996, after her husband, Greg, declined an offer from the company.

“[Greg] wasn’t interested, so he sent me,” said Ms. Rishe, who is 49 and lives in Greenport. “Here I am, almost 20 years later.”

In 2011, Ms. Rishe opened North Fork Real Estate in Cutchogue. A month ago, the company debuted a second location in downtown Southold.

“The timing was right, the location was right and the opportunity was right,” said Ms. Rishe, whose family owns Sep’s Farm Stand in East Marion.

While her career trajectory was atypical, Ms. Rishe is confident she made the right decision two decades ago.

“I enjoy going to work every day,” she said.

Q: How do you start your day?

A: I’m a big fan of writing everything down that I have to tackle for the day. I carry a notebook with me all the time, so whenever I think of something I have to do, I write it down.

Q: Tell us about the first house you ever sold.

A: It was to a New York City fireman and his wife. They wanted to be in Southold — something with character. They ended up building a new home in Greenport. They became good friends [of mine].

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

A: Time management. I think that after all these years, I’m getting better at it, but the best-laid plans go astray when you get a call to show a house or take a listing.

Q: You grew up in the area, but what do you do to learn more about the North Fork?

A: I always enjoy talking to the “old-timers.” They always have stories about the old days. Fishing and farming have always been an integral part of the North Fork. Having had the opportunity to know so many fishermen and farmers, there’s a lot of history.

Q: Tell us something most people don’t know about you.

A: I really don’t enjoy cooking. Even with all the local fresh vegetables and seafood, it’s a chore. Besides, with all the great cooks in my family, I am happy to take a back seat!

Q: Do you have a favorite North Fork restaurant?

A: We always enjoy Skipper’s [in Greenport].

Q: What is your go-to funny story about the business?

A: I always encourage agents to have customers ride with them so they can talk and build a rapport. One time, my customers didn’t want to ride with me because they had their dog with them, so they invited me to drive with them. At the first house, the dog jumped in the water and then started to eat the goose “stuff” in the yard. When we all got back in the car, the dog smelled like wet dog and proceeded to throw up the goose “stuff.” I’m glad it wasn’t my car.

Q: Is there a universal piece of advice you give clients?

A: It’s a process. Buying or selling is a major decision. It has to feel right and not forced.

Q: If you could work in real estate somewhere else, where would it be?

A: I haven’t fallen in love with another place other than the North Fork, so I guess it will always be here.

Q: What is your ultimate career goal?

A: When I made the decision to open North Fork Real Estate, I think I reached it. I want to continue to work and enjoy what I do and not think of this as a job.

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