$899 fixer upper in Orinda prompts bidding war

A quick look at a map around Orinda on Zillow.com shows houses for sale for $1.3 million, $1.9 million and $2.2 million. A housing situation like this begs the question, is it possible to find a home for sale in Orinda for less than a million dollars?

“Pretty much every morning we look at Redfin and when this listing popped up we were like, ‘oh my gosh we have to see it right away,’ because of the price point,” said Caitlin Regan who found the house on Robert Road in Orinda.

The listing price was $899,000, “The way to attract buyers is to put an attractive price on it,” said broker Ignacio Vega with Village Estates.

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home sits on a half-acre lot. It’s surrounded by great schools and offers easy access to the highway. It sounds too good to be true, but a look inside showed there is a lot of work to be done.

Tom Wolfrum, who went to the open house said, “There’s a lot of deferred maintenance here if you look at the roof and the grounds.”

Petros Firas agreed, “I think the ceiling, I would just change it right away.”

With a pink toilet and bathtub and plush blue carpet, this home was built in the 1950s and hasn’t been updated since, but the interest is there.

“80-100 disclosure packets have been requested. I’m expecting there will be more than a handful of offers,” said Vega.

There’s an exposed ceiling, barbeque built into a brick wall in the kitchen and even an abandoned underground shelter in the backyard. Bringing the ranch style home into the 21st century is a big project, but many showed up to the open house anyway.

“899 is a great price,” said Brandon Davis, who came to the open house on behalf of a potential investor.

The competitive nature of Bay Area real estate doesn’t discriminate, while many said they weren’t impressed by the house, the low listing price is why they went.

“Beautiful piece of property. I think it’s only been owned by one family, certainly a great opportunity,” said potential buyer, Henry Bowling. 

People visiting the open house expected the offers to be much higher than the asking price. Many guessing offers would push $1.3 million.

The home on Robert Road was put on the market October 8 and within one week Vega said he got 25 offers. The home is now in escrow. Vega couldn’t say exactly how much the winning offer was. He has to wait until the contract closes in mid-November to disclose that information, but said it was well over the asking price.

According to Vega, the new owners plan to expand and remodel the house and eventually move in.