If you are going to be relocating outside of a 2-hour drive to your condo, I highly recommend hiring a management company for the following reasons:
-They will advertise, locate and vet potential tenants for you, meaning they will run a background check on their credit, employment and rental history. They will make recommendations, but you pick which one you like.
- If any problems arise, such as maintenance or community issues, they will take care of it. A GOOD management company will even go to court for you, if it ever becomes the case and local courts allow it. Make sure you interview at least 2-3 companies before picking one and ask a real estate agent who works with investors for a referral. Some real estate agents also manage properties, but make sure they have a team to handle management the right way.
- The fee they charge will be chicken feed compared to potential legal fees if you manage a property yourself and don't know what you are doing. Typical fees are 10% of the monthly rent or $100 minimum/month, if 10% doesn't equal $100. The cost of finding a tenant is usually the first month's rent. Out of that first month, they take a fee for the advertising, etc. and offer commission to a real estate agent to bring them a good tenant.
The bottom line is you are turning your home into an investment property, ie: someone else is paying the mortgage. So, are you more concerned with how much it cashflows (anything over and above cost of owning that becomes income for you) or do you want no headache?