Welcome to the Bradley and Bradley Real Estate Blog!

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community activities, home buying and selling tips and tricks, design and style suggestions, and construction ideas!  

At Bradley and Bradley Real Estate we care about our local community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out to us at 315-794-5101. We’d love to talk with you!

June 11, 2019

“Top 7 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers”

Buying your first home is an immense and significant decision, and a very exciting experience!

Without the proper guidance, commencing the journey towards becoming a first-time home buyer can be stressful and overwhelming.

There are a few things to keep in mind along the way to prepare you for the process.

1.    Establish a Budget

Before you begin browsing for homes, it is imperative to determine what your price range is.

Owning a home is more expensive than renting, since as a homeowner, you will be responsible for any maintenance and upkeep costs of your property. The first step to creating a house budget is to clarify what you can afford.

To start this process, you can use an online mortgage calculator which will calculate the maximum monthly payment you can afford, based on the overall price of the home and factoring in a down payment over a 30-year-mortgage.

You may also want to speak to your local real estate agent and a few insurance companies to get an idea of property tax rates and homeowners insurance costs, since these factors vary.

2.     Create a List of Your Non-Negotiables

It can be challenging to find the “perfect” property that checks all your boxes. The best way to narrow down your non-negotiable features is to make a list. Consider your lifestyle. What is your ideal location? How many individuals will be living in the home with you, if any? Will pets be accompanying you? Do you need a yard? A garage? Central air conditioning?

There is a difference between your “must-haves” and your “nice-to-haves”. Make sure you determine them before you begin shopping for your first home.

We suggest visiting open houses in your areas of interest, and gauging options from there, so you have a sense of what exists in that local market.

3.     Work with an Experienced Local Realtor

Working with the right realtor can make or break your first home buying experience, or any for that matter. No one knows the local area and local market like a well-known and established local realtor. They will serve as your guide and expert along this journey and save an enormous amount of time throughout the home buying process.

Local realtors often know about homes that are not yet listed on the market, and having an insider’s tip can be beneficial once you’ve established your list of non-negotiables. Ask your realtor about building a listing cart that caters to your interests and “must-have” features.

Don’t know any local realtors in the area you are interested in? Start by asking family, friends, or co-workers who they worked with when purchasing or selling their home. The National Association of Realtors shares that 71% of first-time home buyers found their real estate agent through means of a personal referral.

What if you are relocating to a new area, and don’t have any family, friends, or co-workers in that area or neighborhood? Research realtors on social media platforms to get a feel for the agents available to you. Check out agency Facebook pages and scroll through posts to see how they interact with customers and read reviews clients have left. Social media can be your best avenue to use for research!

4.     Save for a Down Payment & Closing Costs

When purchasing your first home, it is important to save the proper amount for both a down payment, and for closing costs. Don’t forget to factor these into your budget when you are calculating your price range and the amount you can afford to spend on your home.

The suggested “rule of thumb” is to save 3% to 6% of the price of the home. Given that range, it's a wise idea to start with 2%-2.5% of the total cost of the home, in savings, to account for closing costs.

What are closing costs, you may wonder? These fees typically pay for important steps in the home-buying process, such as:

  • Appraisal
  • Home inspection
  • Credit report
  • Attorney
  • Homeowner’s insurance

5.     Pre-Qualify for a Home Loan

Once you have set money aside for a down payment and closing costs, it’s time to get pre-qualified for a home loan. Take the extra step in requesting a pre-approval letter from the bank, as this shows sellers and realtors that you are a serious buyer.

Getting pre-qualified for a home loan can certainly give first-time homebuyers a competitive edge in the market. In order to pre-qualify, your bank or lender will need to verify your financial information, so have things like proof of income, paystubs, and tax information handy.

Interested in learning more to begin this pre-qualification process? Check out the Best Mortgage rates of 2019 to help determine which makes sense for your own financial situation.

6.     Attend Open Houses

Once you’ve created your list of non-negotiables, and settled on a specific area, or neighborhood, attend a few open houses. Some of the homes may not be an ideal fit for what you are looking for, but open houses are a great way to learn more about the area, and the average price range of homes for sale.

Open houses are also an opportunity to meet local realtors. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and socialize with the agent hosting the open house. Chances are, they will be knowledgeable about the local neighborhood, crime rates, and school district and activities in the area.

Typically, open houses are staged by the real estate agency as well. Walking through a multitude of open houses is a chance to become privy to currently trends, designs and styles. These can provide excellent tips and suggestions for decorating your new home!

7.     Request a Home Inspection

The best way to uncover any issues with your potential new home, is to get a home inspection.

Home inspectors will provide a professional report on the overall condition of your new property. The inspection on average lasts 3-4 hours, and the home inspector will bring a checklist of items to inspect, and a standardized format for providing you with the results. Your report will usually include extreme detail, and plenty of photos of both the inside and outside of your new home.

Interested in purchasing your first home? We would love to accompany you on this incredible and exciting journey! Reach out via call or text to Susie Bradley at 315-795-5101, or Will Bradley at 315-794-5103. We can’t wait to meet you!

Posted in Purchasing a Home
June 11, 2019

“The Importance of School Districts in the Home Buying Process”

Moving is always a monumental process!

When purchasing a new home, there are countless factors to consider before making the ultimate decision. Features such as square footage, layout, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, neighborhood, and condition are all important to contemplate as you weight options.

However, one if the most important aspects to take into consideration during the home buying process, regardless if you have school-age children or not, is school districts. The school district category can heavily influence and impact the overall value of your potential new home, and surrounding area.


Why Do School Districts Matter?


·        Location is already the “name of the game” when it comes to real estate, and a highly rated school district can equate to safer neighborhoods, ease of access to public transportation, a variety od restaurant and shopping options, close proximity to major highways and airports, and public amenities such as public parks and services.


·        While the real estate market can rise and fall, school districts serve as a cornerstone for home assessments and symbolize stability.

           Highly rated school districts can raise the overall value and price of a home, and houses that are located in a top school district typically sell quicker when they are listed on the market. Even for those homeowners not looking to move, a superior school district will build long-term equity for your home.


·        For homeowners or buyers that do in fact have school-age children, a first-class school district also means a great education for kids.


·        In a recent survey conducted by realtor.com, 1 out of 5 home buyers said they would pay 6 to 10 percent above their budget for the right school, and 2 out of 5 said they would give up a garage or a bedroom for a better school.


·        A 2018 study by the National Realtor’s Association found that home values inside top-rated school districts were 49 percent higher than the national median home price.


Deciding on buying a home should include an analysis of the school districts in the local county, even for buyers who don't intend to send children to those schools. Notable schools provide stability for a community, which is beneficial for the property values of all homeowners who lives nearby.


Top School Districts in Oneida County


Our local area has some of the best school districts in the state of New York. According to Niche, the highest rated school districts in Oneida County are:


1.      New Hartford Central School District:

·        Overall Grade: A+

·        Total Schools: 5

·        Students: 2,530

·       “Smaller school district with strong academic offerings. Most teachers are invested in student success.”


2.      Clinton Central School District:

·        Overall Grade: A

·        Total Schools: 3

·        Students: 1,260

·       “Overall, Clinton High School is a very good place to be. Everyone here is very welcoming and is a safe place to be.”


3.     Whitesboro Central School District:

·        Overall Grade: B+

·        Total Schools: 7

·        Students: 3,223

·       “At Whitesboro, teachers really care about your learning experience.”


4.      Sherrill City School District

·        Overall Grade: B+

·        Total Schools: 5

·        Students: 1,965

·       “Sherrill schools take pride in each and every student and are committed to their successes.”


5.      Camden Central School District

·        Overall Grade: B+

·        Total Schools: 5

·        Students: 2,196

·       “Camden is a beautiful community with great sports and academics.”


6.      New York Mills Union Free School District

·        Overall Grade: B+

·        Total Schools: 2

·        Students: 566

·       “New York Mills is a small school district, where teachers have the honor of giving students individualized attention.”


7.      Oriskany Central School District

·        Overall Grade: B

·        Total Schools: 2

·        Students: 598

·       “The school is a very small close-knit culture, and never misses an opportunity to cheer on student achievements.”



8.      Sauquoit Valley Central School District

·        Overall Grade: B

·        Total Schools: 3

·        Students: 1,024

·       “The school offers many AP courses and prepares students for life after high school.”



9.      Westmoreland Central School District

·        Overall Grade: B

·        Total Schools: 3

·        Students: 927

·       “Westmoreland has a truly amazing music and drama department.”



10.  Holland Patent Central School District

·        Overall Grade: B-

·        Total Schools: 4

·        Students: 1,425

·       “The teachers want to students to excel, The town is very homey and everyone in the community knows one another.”











Posted in Purchasing a Home