Went through that same circumstance with my family when we relocated to the Bay Area in '97. Four years later I left my Sr. Mgmt position to be closer to my 6 children and became a Real Estate Broker-Owner. My philosophy for serving clients comes many years of serving strategic accounts and that is, I want my clients to value me as a consultative source of advice for life, not as a "salesperson" interested in one transaction and a commission.
Therefore, we offer our clients relocating into the area our services at all stages of that transition. Depending upon the price of the home (level of rent) the best source for information varies... under $X's Craig's list is great combined with a property mgmt firm or two. At the high end of the market, often the best source is other Realtors I know that also serve that high end market that are aware of homes of that class available to rent.
But the real key, we have found is very similar to when you buy a home coming from outside the region, is first helping you get acquainted with the various communities, schools, lifestyles, commutes, etc... them understanding what you are looking for in the ideal home. We will help you find the best rental for your family in the least possible amount of time. Thing is, we don't typically get paid for that! No problem. As I said, we are looking to become your source of Real Estate consultative advice for life. All we ask in return, therefore, is that we have that mutual understanding and commitment upfront. Then when it's time to buy a home, think of how far along we are relationally & in understanding your family wants and needs in a home!
Call or email me. We can begin the "ground work" right away.
Stu Carson 408-209-0849
or Davlyn Giovanetti-Quick 408-461-1276