Hi Emjay and thanks for your post.
Right now, with so little inventory on the market, even the home that needs moderate upates (kitchen and bath) is selling for a lot of money (usually more than the list price) here in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and other parts of the county. And a lot depends on what you consider a "conservative budget." If you're hoping for prices that are 10-20 percent below the current market price, I'm afraid that such bargains do not actually exist here in the Santa Clara County. You can, however, find some bargains in parts of the East Bay and in the Central Valley. If, however, you're willing to or able to pay more than the listing price, then a fixer-upper needing moderate repairs can be purchased for closer to list price, although the price is still going to go over the listed price.
Although I understand your situation, because there are far more buyers than sellers, the only thing that the current market will guarantee is that great homes will sell for far more than the list price, and homes requiring updates and repairs will sell for more than the listing price, but less than the home with all of the updates.
And, in most cases, a home without renovations within the last 10-15 years, is not actually a "fixer", and, thus, would not necessarily be viewed negatively or with a feeling of loss of value by a buyer. True fixer-uppers are those in which homes have been neglected with deferred maintenance and that may have been unattended for more than 25 years or have been damaged by a catastrophic loss (fire, flood, murder, suicide, meteor strikes). In these cases, the home values do suffer, but, again, there is still pretty stiff competition for these homes too.
Finally, with respect to an agent who specializes in neglected properties, there is no such category of Realtor for which I'm aware. We all run across homes that have minor to major deferred maintenance, but none of us really goes out of way to find these types of homes, make a market in neglected properties, and/or cultivate a customer base for the properties--mostly because there is simply not enough neglected homes that are sold every year.
If you'd like to search the very same MLS that we, as Realtors, review daily, please go to http://www.mlslistings.com.
This is the public portal for the MLS here in Santa Clara County, and you can search for home that meets your particular skill set (as a repair person), budget and needs. Once you're ready to buy, then work with a great Realtor to assist you and to help you assess whether or not a home's repairs are within your budget or will require the extensive services of the local general contractor.
Allison James Estates & Homes