Since all of the responses up to now have only been by professionals, it is only fair that an individual home owner like myself who has done this in the past chime in as well. Granted, it is only my opinion, but I feel that professional management companies do not always do as good of a job as an actual owner might. Obviously, it can also go the other way too.
One thing to consider is are you able to budget for the cost of hiring a professional management company? Also, do you want to be a hands on owner, who will not mind the occasion service call? If you can afford it and quite frankly do not want to deal with it, then a management company is for you. However, if you are handy around the house and can not afford it, then you may want to do it yourself. A lot of people do it and it is not that difficult as long as you do the right things. Let's be honest, the rental market in SF is red hot right now so it is not going to be difficult to find great candidates to rent your place on your own if you are pricing it right. It is kind of like selling Toyota Priuses, how difficult can that be? You will need to gain access to the latest rental forms like the application and lease agreement, so if you can't find online you may have to join the local apartment owners association in order to not only gain access to those needed forms but also a credit checking firm. Once you have that part down, you can start figuring out how much your place should rent for. Check Craigslist and websites like this one in which rentals are posted. Once you have determined that, you can pretty much go ahead and post the listing in Craigslist or websites like this one if the place is ready to go. Look at how other posters list and incorporate those ideas into your posting. Be professional always and follow all protocals like not discriminating against any race or protected classes. Definitely do the credit checks or accept a current report from your applicants and do call their references. I sometimes drive by where the applicant is currently staying just to see if I can tell how the applicant is. Listen to your gut too since applicants often make excuses and may lie on applications. As long as you do your due diligence you should be fine. There are no guarantees however even with the aid of a professional mangement company. Good luck!!!