Most rental housing investors consider self-managing their properties at some point. For some investors, self-management works, but for many, the hassle and time commitment aren’t worth it. If you are considering managing your own property, take some tips from us. Here's what you need to know:
- Make time. Property management is much more than collecting a rent check each month. And remember, if you only spend time on the properties when they demand your attention, you are likely missing opportunities to save time and money. Allow for time to proactively attend to the property and prevent future problems. Recognize that property management is at least a part-time job, and you are on call 24/7. Schedule accordingly.
- Prepare for everything. Property management can be a rough industry, and even with your best efforts to place good tenants, you are in for some surprises. Accidental and intentional damage, drug and crime activity, fire and natural disasters, family crises, tenant excuses, collections, and evictions; the seasoned property manager knows all of these are part of owning rental property and isn't ruffled. Accurate expectations and a professional attitude help but are just the beginning. Learning how to handle each of these events comes with time.
- Study up. Successful property management is a combination of several different disciplines, including marketing, leasing, maintenance, collections, evictions, accounting, inspections, and legal compliance. If you choose to manage your own rental property, dedicate time to study and plan for each of these aspects of property management.
- Get connected. You will likely find yourself in need of a small army of partners as you work to prepare, clean, maintain, repair, landscape, and buy parts and equipment for the rental unit. It can be difficult to get volume discounts if you don't manage a large number of properties, so do your best to hunt for deals and participate in loyalty programs that can help you make your dollar go a little further and avoid paying full price.
- Reconsider. If you really don't enjoy the extensive demands on your time and energy that property management requires, you likely are trying to save money by doing it yourself. If this is the case, contact us today.
We serve Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Loomis, Newcastle, Penryn, Auburn, Granite Bay, Folsom, and Citrus Heights.
You, as the property owner, determine the rent. However, as a part of our service, we will advise you on current rental rates in your area. To give you the most accurate estimate of rental value, we prefer to visit your property in person, so that we can see the condition and amenities of the property. We will also discuss the impact that including utilities, such as water and sewer, and/or landscaping service etc. will have on the rent amount.
Our fees are broken down into two parts; the set-up fee, more commonly referred to as the rent-up fee, and the monthly management fee.
The fee to rent-up your property is a percentage of the first month’s rent. It includes everything that we do to get your property leased. The rent-up fee is not charged until your property is rented. Contact us for the rent-up fee amount.
- Property Signage
- Property profile page on our website
- Social media marketing
- Craigslist marketing
- Syndication to major rental marketing websites including Zillow, Trulia and many more.
- Unlimited showings to prospective tenants by dedicated showing agent
- Unlimited screening of tenant applications
- Lease preparation customized to your property
- Thorough 100-point move-in property condition evaluation
- Lease review and signing with your new tenant
Our management fee for a single-family home or any one unit in a multi-unit complex is a flat monthly fee. The monthly management fee includes full management services. Contact us for our monthly fee.
- Normal maintenance and repair coordination using our extensive list of licensed, insured and most importantly excellent vendors. This may include house cleaning, painting, carpet cleaning, HVAC repair, etc.)
- 24/7 Emergency Maintenance response
- All communications with tenants
- Rent collection
- Monthly and year-end accounting statements
- Direct deposit of monthly funds
- Completion of Move-in property evaluation
- Completion of an “Initial Inspection” evaluation upon tenant request
- Completion of a Move-out property evaluation
- Coordination and oversight of repairs between tenants
- Completion of tenant Security Deposit Dispositions
- Serving legal notices including 24 Hour Notice to Enter, 3 Day Pay or Quit, etc. and appearing in court
- Payment of recurring bills for the property including yard care, pool care, utility bills, etc.
For tenant-occupied homes, tenants submit a maintenance request via their online tenant portal. Our portal allows tenants to submit a work order request by providing a description of the issue as well as upload photos of the issue when appropriate.
When a request comes in, we assess it and see if it needs immediate dispatch or if we can possibly troubleshoot the issue with the tenant. There are many common repair requests our team is trained on how to troubleshoot. If the issue needs to be fixed, we send a work order to one of our vendors. We use all third-party vendors and do not do maintenance in house.
The vendor will contact the tenant to set up a time to make the repair. Our vendors will complete the repair if under $250 and submit an invoice to our company for approval. We pay the invoice on your behalf and then a copy of the vendor's original invoice is uploaded to your owner portal. We ensure the cost of the repair is fair and that the work was completed satisfactorily.
The management agreement allows us to approve any repair under $250, without having to bother our clients. Larger repairs over $250 require owner approval, so we will contact the client in those cases. Exceptions to the $250 approval rule include emergency maintenance and habitability issues. If we have to act quickly to protect persons or property we will do so, to protect our owners’ best interest.
Tenants are responsible for the cost of the repair when the maintenance issue is caused by the tenant’s improper usage or negligence.
Yes, we have a list of preferred vendors we use. To be preferred, a vendor must:
- Sign our vendor agreement, where they agree to a certain standard and a code of conduct.
- Carry insurance.
- Consistently deliver great service and quality work.
Yes and No. Over the years we have tried hundreds of contractors. Cost is always important, but as you know, sometimes you get what you pay for. The contractors we use provide quality workmanship and competitive pricing.
With that said, we are always willing to try someone new. However, we do require that they become one of our preferred vendors. To do this they must provide us with the appropriate licenses, complete a W-9, and carry general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance, if required by law. If you would like us to consider using your contractor, please provide us their contact information so we can reach out and see if they are a good fit.
Yes and No. If the property is vacant, owners can handle the repairs needed to make the property rent ready, if they choose. However, either the client does all the work, or we do all the work. It gets messy when there are too many chefs in the kitchen. Once the property is leased, we require that we use only our preferred vendors. This ensures leasing deadlines are met, as we work with these vendors regularly and know what to expect.
Funds are disbursed monthly upon receipt and processing of rent through the accounting department. We offer direct deposit to our owners free of charge. Note: Given the third party (tenant, post office, and bank) involvement in remittance of funds, we cannot guarantee that funds will be available by the 8th of the month. Those signed up for direct deposit usually receive their funds sooner.
Yes, we only allow our staff to show available properties. We never use electronic lockboxes or allow realtors to show their clients without a Ferguson Group representative present.
The most important step in the process of renting your property is the selection of a qualified tenant.
We pre-qualify all potential applicants prior to scheduling a showing of the property with them.
We only show your home to two or three interested parties at a time. Next, each and every applicant must read and acknowledge our application requirements. Then they may complete a thorough application and provide proof of income. If the applicant’s income meets our requirements, we move forward with processing the background check for the applicant.
The background check includes the following:
- A current credit report with detailed history and score
- Employment verification
- Rental and/or mortgage payment history verification
- Eviction history
Once we receive the background check, we review the application and use our proprietary
AppScore application scoring system to evaluate the applicant.
We select the tenant for the owner, without the owner's involvement, as it is in our owner's best interest. There are strict Federal, and State mandated Fair Housing laws that many owners may violate during the application and selection process without even knowing it. The application process is one of the most heavily regulated aspects of rental housing management.
Here are some examples of Fair Housing violations: An owner prefers no kids, so he skips over a well-qualified family and selects a single person as his tenant. Another example may be an owner that does not want a single housing violations that carry stiff monetary penalties and all it takes is one complaint and you could be spending thousands of dollars having to defend yourself in court.
The best way to reduce the risk of a Fair Housing violation is to have clear, written, non-discriminatory rental application requirements that ALL applicants are subject to along with a consistent application process. We have developed our own detailed rental application requirements and application process that are in strict compliance with Federal and State Fair Housing laws. We constantly monitor changes in the laws affecting the rental housing industry to keep our process up to date and compliant.
For more information on California Fair Housing laws, please visit:
We will hold a property for up to 21 days for an applicant that has been approved and has paid their holding deposit. Their lease is signed, and keys are provided at move-in.
You need to carry a Landlord Policy. This has specific coverage’s important to landlords, so it is important you switch to this type of policy, if you currently have a homeowner’s policy. A Landlord policy is usually a little more expense, but the extra coverage is very important.
Let’s say a tenant trips at the property, breaks her leg, and sues. She is probably going to sue you and Ferguson Property Management. Your insurance should step in and defend you. Since we are acting as your agent, we need that same protection. Our management agreement, like all management agreements, has an indemnification clause that says you agree to indemnify Ferguson Property Management, unless we are found to be negligent. This means, if your insurance does not cover us, we must hire an attorney on our own. Then our attorney will be fighting your attorney and the tenant. If we are found not guilty, our attorney will come after you for the attorney fees. Had we been added as additionally insured, your insurance company would defend us both equally. Most major insurance companies do this and for no additional charge. If your insurance company will not add Ferguson Property Management, you will need to switch to an insurance carrier who does.
We carry General Liability, Workers Compensation, and Errors & Omissions insurance.
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) requires property managers to withhold 7% of gross payments to owners who live outside of California and submit the withholding to the FTB. You may be exempt from this regulation, eligible for a waiver, or eligible for reduced withholding:
- Form 590- Withholding Exemption Certificate
If you are a resident of CA or believe you qualify for an exemption under one of the other categories (please read the form for full details), you can complete Form 590 Withholding Exemption Certificate.
- Form 588- Nonresident Withholding Waiver
If you are not a resident of CA, you may qualify for a withholding waiver. Please read Form 588 for full details. If you feel you qualify for a waiver, please complete Form 588 and send it directly to the FTB.
- Form 589- Nonresident Reduced Withholding Request
If you are not exempt and do not qualify for a waiver, you may be entitled to a reduced withholding. You may complete Form 589- Nonresident Reduced Withholding Request and send it directly to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).
If you complete and mail Form 588 or 589 to the FTB, you should get a response within 2-3 weeks. Most of our clients, who were not eligible for a waiver, were granted some sort of reduction. All of the above forms can be found online at https://www.ftb.ca.gov.
To comply with the FTB requirements, we must withhold the 7% of gross rents, unless we receive Form 590 from you OR a letter from the FTB instructing us to proceed differently.
If you have questions regarding the FTB regulations, please visit https://www.ftb.ca.gov and/or talk to your tax representative for more information. We are not tax professionals and cannot give you tax advice.
If you choose to complete Form 588 or 589, put your property manager as the “Withholding Agent”.
If you currently have a property manager, you will want to review your contract and the termination clause. Most management agreements require a 30-day written notice, but your property manager may allow for immediate cancellation. Once you have completed and signed this letter mail a copy to your property manager and to Ferguson Property Management.
Once we receive this letter we will begin the transfer process at no cost. If your home is currently occupied, we will need to obtain copies of the leases, keys, etc. from you and you will only pay the monthly management fee once the property is transferred to us. If your property is vacant, we will begin advertising as soon as the contract with your current property management company has been canceled. If you are currently managing your own property contact us, and we will be happy to discuss the process with you.
You will be assigned a property manager who oversees both the owner and tenant relationships. However, at certain times you will be in communication with a few other key employees. We have employees who are assigned certain management tasks. This creates efficiency and higher quality service to our owners and tenants alike. The result is experts who focus on one specific job and doing it better and faster than anyone else.
This gives us a strong advantage over our competition. Most companies hire independent contractors to manage a portfolio of properties. That sole person is responsible for all showings, maintenance, accounting, collections, tenant screening, and many other duties. This results in a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Since no one person can be available all day, every day, we allocate our resources so that as a company, we can be available all day, every day.
If you decide to sell, please alert us before you commit. There are a number of things that we can do on our side to make it successful. You can sell a property while the tenant is living there, but often that is not the best choice.
Occupied homes generally do not show as well as vacant, professionally staged homes. They are also harder to show, as agents must work around the tenants’ schedule and give 24-hour notice prior to showing. If the tenant has multiple months left on their lease, the only buyers will be investors that are not intending to occupy the home. This cuts out the majority of the pool of buyers, which are those that want to occupy the home. If the lease is coming to an end, the tenant keeps the home in great shape, and the tenant is easy to communicate with, then it may make sense to list it for sale while occupied. We can guide you on the right approach for your situation.
We have a sales division TFG Realty that sells many of our client's properties. Contact us today for a free market analysis of your property!