Have a great day,
Heather Paul, Realtor
That contract you and your tenants will sign, will bind both of you to its terms. So your first step is to make sure that you understand every point and aspect of the document, along with the responsibilities and rights of both parties, the consequences of each party's act, termination, covenants, ect...
If you're not comfortable with this, then you know that you're better off leaving it to an agent. As for what this agent will cost you, why don't you shop around?
A- charges vary depending on the area.
B- the commission is not fixed: it's negotiable between you and the agent
C- some agents now have a fixed fee vs. traditional commission rate
If you want to email me, I'll show you what benefits you get by listing your condo with me.
You are taking a risk entering into a contract with tenants and not having the proper information. Please do visit this webiste to gain the information you need to protect yourself and avoid liability. http://.www.dca.ca.gov. It will explain some of the laws pertaining to landlords and tenants.
The California Association of Realtors has a stock set of rental documents that agents have access to and generic rental applications and contracts can be found for free online. If you're not comfortable with your understanding of these, definitely talk to the appropriate professionals and become better informed.
There's also probably a local housing department that you can contact about your areas specific statutes and regulations regarding the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.
Being a landlord is definitely a governmentaly regulated business so you'll need to do all the reasearch necessary to give yourself the best possible experience.
Best of Luck.
In my opinion, you cannot afford not to hire a property management firm for at least the first year. It's a small price to pay for getting started on the right path, along with what you'll learn during the first year. The hard part will be finding one that is willing to take on a new client with just one condominium.
Best wishes, Rudi
Since I don't practice Property Management in your area specifically, my advice will be general in nature.
However, it should help you out regardless.
1) Make sure you have a rental application filled up completely, this way you can verify income, employment, credit, criminal background..etc..
2) A lease agreement that specifies the terms and conditions of lease... roles and responsibilities of both parties...
3) Inventory and Condition Report for both you & the tenant to fill out... keeps you on the same page in regards to property condition. Have tenant complete before personal items are moved-in, or during your walkthrough.. to avoid any confusion later on.
You might be able to get a company to handle the screening, and lease paperwork.... saving you money on the property management side.
However, I wouldn't recommend the trail and error approach to leasing/property management of your condo... especially in our "sue for everything" society... it may end up costing you money one way or the other.
I truly hope this helps in some way... all the best. Most importantly, cover your "you know what" when being a landlord!
All the best,