The answers listed below give good advise.
I have a couple of additional suggestions:
Try to narrow down where in Napa you would like to live. I assume schools will be important.
In addition, consider where you are going to work so that you can anticipate the commute.
Check out the local paper (Napa Register) on line so that you get an idea of what may be available.
The amount of $2,500 more or less should be enough to find a comfortable place.
I would get very serious about the first of October.
If you need assistance, I would be happy to have someone help you.
Wine Country Group
An internet search for Property Management Companies in Napa will yield you results. Speak directly with those companies concerning the timing of your travel. Many people have success finding rentals through Craig's List -North Bay Classifieds.
Good luck and welcome back!
I always refer my rental clients to PadMapper.com it is a rental aggregation website that scrapes data from multiple rental websites and allows you to map search a specific neighborhood. Another option is to find a short term rental such as a vacation rental vrbo.com or a local hotel that will do monthly rentals (I have a couple options there) then you will have a homebase to work from once you get here and that will allow you to find the perfect place and act quickly once something comes up. Trying to land a rental in Napa from afar with our 1.7% vacany rate will be a difficult task at best. Finally another option would be a lease-to-own option where you can move into a home and transition from renter to owner over the course of a few years and the competition for these type of properties is much lighter than a typical rental.
You should call rental companies in Napa, and ask for a rental agent for help. The agents will alert you as to what is coming up for rent in their office, since tenants have to give a 30 days notice to vacate. Our rental market is very active, and yes, rentals get picked right away. Please be aware that rental agents do not work during the weekends. Familiarize yourself on line with schools and areas, check the rental companies website, obtain pictures from the leasing agents, and most important stay in touch with your rental agents. By the way you can check on line the Napa register (our local paper) and Craig's list on line.
Owners will tend to advertise in those two medias.
The best way to find a 3 bedroom rental in Napa without missing out on showings is to hire a real estate agent in Napa to work with you. The agent can send you rental listings that most closely match your needs and desires and which are legitimate.
There are quite a few "scammers" out there who post rental listings that are not legitimate so be cautious about responding to any of them if you contact them. They are after your personal information or money. Craiglist.com is a good site for rentals but a few scammers are known to be present on that site so be careful.
Check the Trulia site for agents in Napa or try calling a few local real estate firms there to interview some agents that can assist you. There usually is no fee for renters working with an agent.
Hope that helps.
Good luck to you!
Prudential Connecticut Realty