Hi Nicole! I'm assuming you are going to be a first time landlord. Being a landlord can be a daunting experience. First review your HOA documents and find out what restrictions you have agreed to in regard to renting your home.
Second, open a checking account for your new business. It is important that you treat your rental as a business and hopefully as a profitable one. The bank account will serve to document your expenses and income accurately. If you use the account only for business it makes your new status as an tax paying investor much easier.
Third, Figure out who will be most interested in renting from you. If your place is near Camp Pendelton for instance, a Marine family may be your client base and that is who will be attracted to your home.
Forth, place a nicely made sign in the most conspicuous place on the property. That may be a window on the busiest street or entrance to the garage area. Many renters will drive the neighborhood where they want to live. Signs on garage doors work well but may distress some of your neighbors. Call me if you want to know why.
If you get no response, you will need to cast a broader net, i.e. advertise in PennySaver or newspaper. This can get expensive but pay with your new account so you can receive credit on your taxes.
When you find a candidate, be sure that you control the situation. Don't let them sway you from your aggenda with their stories. Make them fill out a credit application which you can find a many office supply stores or online. Look at it and be sure they have included their Social Security Numer, California Driver's license and that they have signed the bottom near the statement that allows you to investigate their credit. Without that, you cannot have one of the Credit checking services run their credit check. This will cost you a few bucks, if possible eliminate the ones that you know will not be suitable, such as hunting dog owners since you only have a small patio, etc.
Be ready for your new tenants destroying parts of your home. You will probably need to paint the entire home after every tenant moves on. This shouldn't be a problem if you find tenents that will stay, and then take care of them. This is why you need to be selective. So, get a substancial non-refundable cleaning fee in addition to a refundable security deposit. Your agreement should include that they professionally clean the carpets prior to refund of the deposit, make them show the receipt because when the carpet is wet you cannot tell if they did a good job.
If you are moving from the area, hire a professional rental management company to watch over your investment. Call me for more ideas, (760) 445-1534.