We spend a lot of time in this blog writing about million-dollar mansions with gourmet kitchens, pools and fitness studios. But the truth is these luxury “dream homes” are exactly that – a mere fantasy for the majority of Sonoma County residents. With a median household income of  $81,018, paying the mortgage on a $2 million dollar home is simply out of reach for the masses.

The good news is that there are a number of homes priced below the current median home price of $715,000.  In the Russian River area, Cloverdale and Cotati the average home sells for nearly $100,000 less than the county average. If you are interested in more upscale regions or a small slice of land you will have to pay for it.

A good way to break into a more expensive area is to invest in a fixer-upper. Agents may shy away from listing properties as “fixers,” for financing can be challenging.  Lenders are often unwilling to approve a loan for more than the home’s current value to cover construction costs.

But shows like “Small Town,” or “Good Bones” sure do make it appealing. If you are willing to put in a little sweat equity you just might get a property in a coveted locale or a house with a bit of land for growing fruits and veggies.

A quick search on Zillow for “fixer” and “TLC,” this week revealed a handful of homes in various states of disrepair in Sebastopol, Sonoma and Santa Rosa.  The residences range from total tear downs to basically move-in-ready.

Click through our gallery above to explore the listings.