Realtor specializing in Rockridge/Claremont area

Any realtor recommendations for a first-time home buyer (in California, at least) for the Rockridge/Claremont neighborhoods of Oakland and Berkeley?  I'm looking for a 3/2 single family home and expect to be looking at a purchase price of $1-2M depending the location and amenities. 

I need someone who can help me understand: 1) things to consider or look for when determining purchase price (sewer lines, foundation issues, etc.), 2) feasibility/permitting laws for any potential renovation needs like adding bathrooms and in-law units or remodeling kitchens and baths, and 3) Oakland/Berkeley laws around rental opportunities for rooms/space in the house in the event the property lends itself to that arrangement.  

Thank you!

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We started our home search with Kate Tanaka from the Red Oak Realty office in Montclair; we found her very helpful and great at keeping our expectations realistic for what we could get and what were reasonable compromises to make. When we stopped looking in that area she referred us to another Red Oak colleague who helped us get our house in West Contra Costa. So really, I would say go to your local Red Oak agency and you'll be on good hands!

We absolutely loved working with David Valdez at Pacific Union in Montclair. We were living in Rockridge when we started working with him. He’s very knowledgeable and has been a realtor a long time. He ultimately helped us purchase in Glenview. I cannot recommend him highly enough (if you look him up in yelp you will see I’m not the only one).

We were first time buyers and used David Higgins ( and thought he was great- super knowledgeable. We will use him again as we buy a home for my mother-in-law. I think his office and specialty is right in that area- Rockridge/Claremont. We used Dianne Crosby at RPM for our mortgage and we would not use her again.

Faye Keough at The Grubb Company helped us find our magical house in a tight market. She's been trolling that beat for decades, virtually knows every house, and can dig up listings moments before they hit the open market (that's the only way we would have not been outbidden for this 3-lot beauty we now live on). Could not recommend her more.

Try Maria Cavallo Merrion (510.919.8841) and Carla Buffington at Pacific Union Oakland and Berkeley.  They really helped us on these issues.

I recommend Pam Oettel at Coldwell Banker in Berkeley. We worked with her 2 years ago.

Pam was very upfront about the pros and cons of every house, which made it much easier for us. She pointed out things like foundation problems, etc., right away and was very honest about the amount of money we'd probably need to fix some houses that looked (on the surface) like a "good deal."  Knows about things like sewer laterals, planning departments, etc. That means you won't waste time looking at homes that won't work for you. She really listens well.

pamela.oettel [at]

(510) 703-8636 mobile
(510) 486-1495 office 

Hey!  Here is the info for the realtor I used when we bought our house in San Pablo, who is now helping my friend looking for a house in Berkeley. We were first time home buyers and Daniel was great at explaining things we need to know and what to watch out for. He is easy going.

Daniel Lewis:

dlewis0088 [at]  

or dlewis [at] 

Good luck house hunting!

The Bloom Homes Team is awesome. I can't recommend Stephen Bloom and Robin Donovan enough. We have worked with them for six years, as buyers and sellers, 8 times now. I think we have lost out on 1 bid, maybe, and been successful in four purchases, and four sales. They are excellent. I'll warn you, however, that we do almost everything they say, which I think is the trick once you find someone you trust. They suggest and oftentimes will book/coordinate contractors, thoroughly review disclosures, help with appointments, and suggest aggressive and less aggressive offer prices, to name only a few details. They are kind, strategic, and incredible. I'm happy to answer any questions too!

Hi - We used Jenny Wang at McGuire. She's a Claremont/Rockridge specialist and I would highly highly recommend her. We used her to sell our house but also saw how she worked tirelessly for clients in both capacities. She's got great energy, listens well and is committed to helping her clients have great outcomes. Can't recommend her enough and I've been through the real estate gauntlet as a buyer and seller in Northern California for the past 20-some years. She is the best.

Good luck!

jwang [at]