Real Estate Agent for buying an East Bay fixer upper

Hi all, 

Our family would love to buy a house in the East Bay (primarily looking close to job in Berkeley, but could be Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito...) and we'd be interested in buying a "fixer upper" - something that needs a bit of work but is not a total teardown/rebuild. 

Does anyone have a recommendation for a real estate agent in this area who could be good to work with as we seek properties of this type? We're also open to a home that is not a "fixer upper", but just would like to work with someone who is open to helping us pursue that avenue if it presents itself. 

Thanks in advance! 

Jess 

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

I would highly recommend Kyle Tannahill: https://www.compass.com/agents/kyle-tannahill/. He knows the area incredibly well and understands everything about old houses that you should be on the lookout for. Can't recommend him and his team enough!

We worked with Megan Micco on this exact situation.  Her website is: https://www.meganmicco.com/

Is buying a fixer a by-product of price/budget or more of the opportunity to craft the house to your liking?  Keep in mind, fixer's are still going for substantially over asking so while there are some price savings it's still a very competitive market.

We purchased in berkeley.

Hi Jess, we highly recommend the agent that we used, Danny Yadegar (https://danny.generationsf.com). He was incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, and supportive in our process. He grew up in the east bay and has family in the structural engineering business, so he has a wealth of knowledge and resources. 

Our agent, Angelo Raymundo is the most competent and trustworthy professional we have ever worked with. Anyone he refers to he holds in high regard and must meet his professional standards. He won't let you down. The yelp reviews speak for themselves. 

We were in the same boat and worked with Katy Palvorsa at Redfin. She’s been in the business and the area for a long time and has purchased properties similar to what you’re looking for herself too. She was able to give us some tips on the type (and cost) of work houses would need, which helped us decide what to offer. Ultimately we found a perfect house that was completely livable, but because it wasn’t picture perfect there was less competition. We’ve been able to make the updates we wanted and now the house is perfect for our family. Tell her Ottilia sent you and best of luck!

I have worked with Mala Mahlebashian twice over the past couple of years.  She guided me through purchasing my home in Richmond in 2020 and I looked at some fixers (ultimately did not buy a fixer but am very happy with the home I did buy!).  She was really open minded about houses in various states, giving me input on what would be involved but not opinions on whether she thought I should do it.  And we did have a lot of fun imagining the possibilities at some of the places I saw.  This year she helped me sell a family member's house which started out as a cosmetic fixer but we decided to fix it up for sale.  She got all the work lined up for us including finding all the materials and appliances, so she definitely knows what goes into doing that kind of work.  So I've been happy working with her now as both a buyer and a seller.  She is at Compass and her website is eastbayhomesmalarealtor.com.

I quite like Jeffrey Vu: https://www.yelp.com/biz/laura-and-danielle-daniel-winkler-and-associate.... He is knowledgeable about construction and pretty quick to point out issues that aren't necessarily immediately obvious to a layman. And he is usually able to give a general estimate about how much a fix may cause on the spot. That might be helpful in your situation!

Hi there!  We were in the same situation in 2019 and worked with Hsuching Wintz at Red Oak Realty.  We successfully bought a Berkeley fixer (non-tear down, just needed a gut-reno inside) with her help in a great location.  She has great contacts with GCs who were able to come with us on the visit and give us a ballpark reno cost, which was super helpful when deciding if the house was a good option.

I will say you probably will be competing with investment groups / teams for the fixer, which has been increasing common for the fixer market in Berkeley.   And definitely echo the sentiments of another poster who says the fixer market will still be competitive. 

But that being said, if you can swing a fixer, it is a great opportunity to 1) renovate your house to your exact liking and 2) save on property taxes in the long run if you plan to live there a long time.  The property tax difference savings is significant if you live there long term.  If you do all your renos permitted (which we did and I highly recommend doing for all who want to renovate) Alameda county will reassess for your "significant improvements" but the additional assessment amount is waaaaay lower than compared with if you bought a completely renovated house (for example, using even numbers, you bought at $1 million, complete reno may put your reassessed value at $1.1-2 max depending on scope of work but if you bought the same house completely renovated, it would have sold for $1.7-$2M depending on how much the bidding wars resulted in)