Think twice before buying rental

Financing, HOA rules among potential drawbacks

DEAR BENNY: In approximately one year, my wife and I are going to sell our house and move to Arizona. Selling the house is not a problem, but we have decided to rent out the next property we buy, whether it be a house or condo. We have already inquired about a real estate agent and we have talked to a friend of a friend over the telephone. We intend to meet with him on our next trip to Phoenix this year.

My question is: How do we determine what an appropriate fee is for this agent’s services? I know he will not do this house hunting for free, but is there a contract drawn up, is there a flat fee or is there a rate depending on the number of houses/units we look at? Are there other things we need to know ahead of time? –Patrick