Your Realtor should provide you with comps so you know what the market value is of that home in the current market. Then it's up to you if you want to bid higher or lower. I've been working in Oakland extensively, and I can tell you right now, you can't find the same deals that existed 6 months ago. Even broken little homes are getting multiple bids so i'ts very important you work with someone knowledgable.. Good luck!
There are a few ways to go about this - what I do is to try and get an idea of what the marketplace is doing in that zone - in your case 94608 is north Oakland as well as Emeryville - they share the same zip.
I spend a lot of time in that area as I think it is pretty attractive for home buyers as the prices are lower, neighborhoods are on the riser and there is a decent amount of inventory to look at that is either bank owned (REO) or short sale. What this has done is make the market pretty ripe for both investors (looking to fix up and then sell or rent) and first time buyers willing to put some work into the place. And this activity has also given appraisers stock in which to pull comparable prices and actually have things appraise.
Once I get level set on the marketplace I go to what has sold in the past 3 months and what is pending then I try to figure out the ratio of price per sqf to list price to sold price. This helps set the benchmark. I then factor in what kind of condition the house is in and what type of buyers may be attracted to that area. An example is a fixer being bought for 180k and then a house in good condition being sold for 380-425k.
The house you may be interested is a short sale and that can require being patient and making sure BOTH agents are competent - IE knowing who the lenders are, if a Notice of Default has been submitted to the seller, how many lenders there are - all of this adds to what you may want to offer â€“ ultimately what your time, effort and house are worth to you.
There are few other things to be aware of and you are welcome to call or email me.
415.225.4593 - cell
It has been my experience that many of the banks operate under their own guidelines that do not always line up with local market conditions, It would be great if the banks had some logical procedure they all worked with, but they don't.
Just make an offer you think is fair, hope ut will be accepted, but be prepared for rejection.