As a teenager, Melissa Bradley, helped her paternal grandmother, Sue Bradley, who was in the real estate business. “She called me her little entrepreneur,” Bradley recalls. With a natural instinct for the business, Bradley eventually forged her own path. It’s now been 20 years since Melissa Bradley founded her real estate company, working out of a small home office in San Anselmo. From those humble beginnings—and because Melissa preferred to be her own boss—Bradley Real Estate has emerged as the North Bay’s largest independently-owned local real estate brokerage. This year, NorthBay biz readers selected Bradley Real Estate as the Best Company to Do Business With in Marin. The company picked up the same award in 2015. “We are grateful to be voted again, and I was surprised to learn that we won in two categories,” says Bradley, who also won Best Real Estate Company.
Born and raised in Marin County, Bradley is rooted in the community and has built a successful business. Headquartered in San Rafael, the company has more than 400 agents and employees in 13 offices in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties. The majority of its business is in residential real estate, but Bradley also handles a large portfolio of commercial properties.
“Our philosophy of operating with the utmost professionalism, coupled with a dedication to serving our local communities has earned us numerous other awards,” says Bradley. Over the years, she has sold hundreds of homes and managed thousands of transactions, drawing on her extensive experience in complicated real estate matters such as seller financing, lease options, short sales, probates and trusts, conservatorships and much more. What’s the secret to the company’s success? “We work in all price ranges, but focus on the mid-range prices,” says Bradley. “That’s been successful for us. The market goes up and down and I’ve seen several cycles in my lifetime. It’s better to focus on the average price range.”
These days, locally-owned real estate companies are less common than they once were, with many smaller businesses having merged into national or international brands. Staying locally-owned means Bradley Real Estate remains vested in Marin County and the North Bay. Nowhere is that more evident than in its extensive and deep involvement in helping good causes.
“We lead by example, whether it’s sponsoring local charities, schools and organizations to volunteering at fundraisers,” explains Bradley. Through numerous charitable and community-building events each month—and with many of her agents giving their time—the company’s sponsorships and in-kind donations total well above $200,000 every year. Some of the organizations that benefit from Bradley’s fundraising and sponsorships include the San Anselmo Country Fair, the Marin Color 5K, Marinwood Art Show, Marinwood Brewfest, and the Marin Humane Society’s Catalpalooza and Woofstock events. The company also supports other businesses in Marin, using local vendors for supplies and holding events at area restaurants and hotels.
What’s on the horizon for Bradley Real Estate? Someday, Bradley hopes her two daughters, Summer, age 11, and Sunshine, age 7, will join her in the business. They seem to have an aptitude for real estate, she says. As for her sons, Jason, age 16, and Bobby, age 13, they’re more focused on math and the sciences, and Bradley suspects they’re headed for careers in science.
Though Bradley and her children enjoy travel, and Bradley has traveled to 36 countries and 37 states in the U.S., her heart remains in Marin County. “It’s been neat seeing so many different places. But whenever we go away, it always feels good to come home to Marin.”
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