At Hillsdale Country Realty we can help you buy, sell or rent a house or land anywhere in New York State or Massachusetts, but our area of specialty is Columbia County and the Berkshires. Our real estate agents have been buying and selling real estate here for almost thirty years, and we know the market. We keep current with real estate sales data daily and are happy to share our knowledge with you.
Meet Our Agents
Mary Lou Kersten lives with her family in Hillsdale, NY. Counting 27 years of real estate experience in listing and selling country homes and land, Mary Lou has an in depth understanding of the area, its market, towns, villages, byways and highways. With many years of community service on several Hillsdale Town boards, volunteer and board work for the Roe Jan Community Library, Habitat for Humanity and Clarion Society, Mary Lou is an actively engaged community member. Because of her local knowledge she is able to introduce her clients to the community.
Professionally Mary Lou has served for years in various board capacities for the Columbia Greene Board of Realtors and MLS. She was the recipient of the Columbia Greene Realtor of the Year award for two consecutive years and was selected to the REALTORS Honor Society by the New York State Association of Realtors. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison with Wisconsin roots, Mary Lou still roots for the Packers. She is married to Chris Kersten and their daughter, Hilary, recently graduated from Fordham University and is now also in the real estate profession in Manhattan.
My husband and I worked in Manhattan and came here as weekenders. After almost 2 years of searching we found our dream home in 1992 in Hillsdale. In 1996 my husband retired and we came here to live full time. I received my Real Estate Salesperson License in 1996 and in 1998 I received my Real Estate Brokers License.
Over the next 4 years I continued my Real Estate studies and received a GRI designation, the most comprehensive of all designations. I am also licensed in Massachusetts.
My experience, coming here as a weekender and going through the search process for the right house, helps me relate with those buyers in the weekend/retirement home market. I also have a complete understanding of the commercial and investment market and I have personal experience in renting vacation homes so I know what vacation renters expect in rentals.
It is very important that the house you purchase fits you and your lifestyle and that you have a real estate partner working with you through the stages of offer to purchase, home inspections, tests, contract and then to closing. I would like to help you and be that real estate partner.
Al Fair’s career was as a Systems Analyst working for Exxon and the Bank of New York in the city. During this time he was a weekender beginning in 1975 with a home near Copake Lake. When he retired he moved up full time to Columbia County, an area he came to cherish for its beauty and rural character. He bought his second home, a log home on 15 scenic acres, through Hillsdale Country Realty. He was so comfortable with this group that when he thought about selling real estate himself, he joined the agency.
Al has been an active agent for over nine years. During this time he has become even more familiar with many of the towns and has sold all different types of properties in both Columbia and Rensselaer Counties. In addition, he himself has owned four different houses to which he has made significant upgrades and improvements. He has subsequently used this “hands-on” experience to help clients see the potential of properties he is showing or advise them after they have purchased.
Mildred Breyer has been a part-time resident of Hillsdale for over 25 years. She and her husband Peter continue the Columbia County tradition started by Peter’s parents in 1956. Mildred has witnessed the growth of Columbia County and she has assisted customers in the purchase of properties for over 10 years.
In addition to working at Hillsdale Country Realty, Mildred, until recently, was a full-time employee of the State of New York and worked in its New York City field office. On Fridays she and Peter traveled from their New Jersey home to Hillsdale. Given the beauty of the county, she states the trip has always been worth it.
Adding to the physical beauty of Columbia County is the interesting variety of folk who live and work here. One of the reasons she likes being a sales associate is working with the many folk who walk through our door. Assisting customers with finding a home here is fun and when the home is found, the happiness is shared by all.
Chris Kersten has of wealth of knowledge in the nonprofit area from his extensive background in academia, (NYU, Clark, Tufts, UC Santa Barbara, SUNY Albany, and Albany Law School) where he served in progressively responsible vice presidential development positions. He later went on to the museum world where he served as vice president for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and later at the Hancock Shaker Village. He is currently the Director of Development at Camphill Village USA.
Chris was educated at Long Island University, the Graduate School of Public Administration at NYU, the UC Management Institute, the Harvard Institute for Educational Management and the NY State Judicial Certificate Program. He is married to Mary Lou and has three children: Michael, James and Hilary.
As a licensed real estate salesperson, Chris brings a deep knowledge of Hillsdale and Columbia County gained through his elective service as the Town Justice and on the Hillsdale Town Board, and from making it his home for the past 25+ years. With this deep appreciation of the area, its physical and cultural beauty, its people and institutions, Chris is in a unique position to help clients find their ideal home.