There are multiple rental surveys completed by property management companies. Try Homepointe at https://www.homepointe.com/owner_services_rental_survey.asp but most property management companies will discuss or share it with you.
The other place I would check is the Sacramento housing Association, (which is a great resource for classes as well, if you're looking at managing your own rental properties), or the SHRA- the government organization that manages the Section 8 voucher program for Sacramento county. SHRA needs to match market rentals and will have ads for homes in the area that should be reflective of current market rents.
As Steve said, I typically consider $1/sq foot for a standard home up to about 1600 sq ft and then have a diminishing return from there. Considering amenities, condition, supply/demand (local competition), you can assess what the typical rent might be for that location of Folsom that you are evaluating. The best indicator is local rentals that were recently rented. You may just want to call off of some signs in the local area.... more
I believe there was a law passed in 2009 that makes the most a property manager can charge for an application fee is $42.06. It may have also changed since then so you would want to check this. A landlord by law cannot charge more than their out of pocket expenses for the application fee. I see the average application fee in Sacramento to be around $30.
As mentioned before, Trulia does not to my knowledge ever facilitate an application fee, they are merely an advertising venue for outside rental or for sale properties and sale data.
For more information in CA about the rental process, I would recommend you visit:
Purchasing rentals is always a good idea for growing real estate wealth. In purchasing a rental property there are different lending guidelines which may require you to have 6 months worth of resereves in the bank to cover you if the place isn't rented. You will also want to have "emergency account" in the event you need to do unexpected repairs.
If your main concern is the market hasn't bottomed out (no one can answer that for you) I am curious as to why you are looking for a rental. And, with interest rates at a low point it may be wise to consider purchasing a home you will live in to take advantage of those rates. Rates for investment properties are typically a bit higher. You really need to consult an accountant to see if that is the most tax effective way to invest your money at the current time.
As someone else mentioned you need to find a professional Realtor you feel you can trust and work with him/her to develop a plan to purchase property based on what your needs are. I own both rental property and a home in Folsom. The prices have gone down but I have every confidence they will rebound quicker than some of the other areas. However, El Dorado Hills, Rancho Cordova, Fair Oaks and some of the other areas are nice areas that will come back as well.
Location, price and your overall goal shoudl dictate where and if you purchase rental property vs. a personal home.
Alain Pinel Realtors
CA DRE #01143335