Property Management Success Story: SVN / First Guardian Group

The Road to Property Management Success

Property Management can be very profitable  — just ask Sperry Van Ness / First Guardian Group. The San Jose, California firm recently announced the successful close of escrow on University Fountains, a student housing complex that sold for $34 million. Receiving several offers, the property saw substantial demand and competition among buyers.

SVN/FGG undertook the property management over an 18-month period before beginning to market the Class “A” property. Under SVN/FGG’s management during the current school year, the property occupancy increased by 15% — crushing other years in comparison. SVN/FGG set aggressive weekly leasing goals which compared improvements in occupancy and income against all other competitive properties in the submarket. The leasing team was given incentives based on their progress in moving the performance of the property ahead of all other comparable assets. The hard work of SVN/FGG Advisors produced returns of over 100% of the original equity.

So how did they do it? Proactive asset management and collaborative marketing efforts can get the job done.

Proactive Asset Management

  • Established aggressive weekly leasing goals to continually improve occupancy
  • Strong incentives for moving property performance ahead of all comparable properties in the submarket
  • Annual competitive re-bidding of all significant ongoing services (landscaping, garbage, pool maintenance, etc.)
  • Monthly owner conference calls
  • Detailed monthly variance reports including cost ratio comparisons to similar properties

Collaborative Marketing Efforts

  • All Brokers received marketing materials from day one, which included SVN’s statement “50% of the commission 100% of the time
  • All Brokers requesting access to the property data vault were personally contacted and encouraged to provide a bid
  • All Brokers were treated with the same respect and courtesy regardless of affiliation
  • All questions and inquiries were answered 90% same-day
  • SVN/FGG participated in all property tours with Brokers

Following these guidelines which emphasize competitive and collaborative practices can lead to property management success. So take a cue from SVN/FGG and collaborate with your team members to achieve a profitable property management turnaround.

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SVN PM Value Prop

Office Spotlight with Sperry Van Ness | First Guardian Group

This week, our Office Spotlight focuses on Sperry Van Ness | First Guardian Group based out of San Jose, CA

1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?

Our Silicon Valley location gives us exceptional access to many wealthy people who are interested in diversifying into real estate. We offer a full services approach that includes ongoing management of real estate investments through our in-house property management team. We have developed deep expertise in assisting our clients with obtaining attractive financing, completing 1031 exchanges, and assisting them in turning around troubled assets.

We have also developed skills in working with specialized ownership structures such as Tenant in Common (TIC) and Delaware Statutory Trusts (DST). This knowledge and experience provides us with significant differentiation that sets us apart from most commercial real estate companies. Finally, from day one, we have embraced the Sperry Van Ness philosophy of collaboration with other commercial real estate and management firms and split fees and commissions with other brokers in order to broaden our resources to better assist our clients. Through collaboration with other brokers, we are also able to expand our services nationwide and offer our clients “best of class” resources outside of local area. Our affiliation with SVN two years ago has proved to be a highly successful move to increase our branding resulting in two of our most successful years. Through SVN, we have also developed many new friends and business associates that have generously shared helpful ideas with us leading to greater business success.

2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team?

Nothing unusual. We treat all of our employees as insiders and fully share details of all deals in our weekly staff meetings. We also provide bonuses to employees for every closed transaction plus annual bonuses based on our annual net profit. We celebrate our successes with special lunches and have a refrigerator that includes chilled champagne that is shared on each closing.

3. What’s been the biggest challenge on how you run your business over the last few years?

Finding good talent. We are competing with some the best, highest paying companies in the world and finding and retaining good people is our biggest challenge. We have been very fortunate to recruit excellent people who have a passion for commercial real estate and have been successful in retaining them. However we have also experienced undesired turnover which causes us to be constantly thinking about ways to keep our current folks happy and also attract talented new people.

4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now?

We have generally maintained a core staff of about 8-10 people at our corporate offices. However we manage several hundred service providers across the US who work closely with us on various projects in addition to working with many third party sales and leasing agents across the US. Through frequent conference calls and use of screen sharing and video via WebEx, we are able to significantly expand our resources and develop a close-knit large team that greatly expands our capabilities.


Sperry Van Ness | First Guardian Group   San Jose, CA

Dinesh Gupta, Managing Director, SVN/First Guardian Group
Dinesh Gupta, Managing Director, SVN/First Guardian Group
Paul Getty, Managing Director, SVN/First Guardian Group
Paul Getty, Managing Director, SVN/First Guardian Group










*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.