Hello D Cro,
What is the address/neighborhood of your home for rent? That info would help us give you more accurate feedback. With the abundance of empty homes on the market, anticipated rent has come down substantially in the past 3 years. In Lakewood Ranch for example, a similar home 3 years ago would get $1,800/month and now $1,100 to $1,200. Ask a realtor to send you an MLS linkof comp rentals so you can see what is available. If you email me email@example.com and clarify what you need, I would be happy to send that list. As Bill pointed out below, many of these properties are in pre-foreclosure and I have met tenants who had to leave on short notice being served by the sheriff. Therefore, I would mention that there is no risk on your property in your ad.
ADVERTISING---Check out http://www.craigslist.com
& Sarasota or Bradenton to see other properties. This is totally free to you and worth considering; however, you should have a number of pictures and details. Personally, the Sarasota Herald is very expensive but the best local paper unless your property is on Siesta or Longboat.
MANAGEMENT--Considering you are an absentee owner, I would definitely use a property management company probably to qualify the renters, collect rents, and look after your property. Having personal experience of 2 seperate incidents with flaky renters that I had to evict and fortunately was able to accomplish within 30-45 days and without damage. I am a Coldwell Banker realtor who doesn't get involved in rentals, but we like the other major firms have rental divisions with seperate websites. I would google Sarasota rental companies to get a list of the independent rental companies like Rossi, Sarasota Properties, etc..
In closing, in my opinion for the next few years, I don't think the inventory of rentals will subside resulting in market rates going up. With that in mind, I don't think an offer of reducing the rent would be that enticing to a prospect, but you never know. So much depends after you qualify the tenant, what I would recommend. If you found a couple with multiple incomes or retirement incomes, it might be worth it to have stable tenants. With the current economic unknowns, one never knows if one of your tenants may lose their job and ability to pay. I am an eternal optimist, but wanted to give you practical advise. And be prepared for prospects to negotiate for a lower price. It is a sign of the times.
Hope all works well for you.