With a 4 year assignment, we purchased a home in our new location. Then received orders 2 years later that we were to move. With the housing market beginning to have some challenges, we knew we couldn't sell. So we decided to become landlords. With some additonal 2 year assignments in far away states, we decided to hire a property manager. We conducted some interviews and chose one we felt best. It's been 3 years now. We've had 3 different tenents and it's had it's set of challenges and costs, but it is all a tax deduction and it has been worth it to protect our investment.
bigYou really do need to talk with a professional. Beside trying to get the most out of deductions you need to figure out your long term goals with the property. Are you planning on moving back, do you plan on selling it down the road or are you going to keep it forever and always rent it out. Theses are important question that go along with deductions. Mainly because a rental is an investment and if you deduct expenses and the house itself you can save money. However, when you sell the house the earnings are treated as profits and you may or may not have a big tax bill depending on what deductions you took.
So again before you become a landlord figure out your goals and why you are becoming one. Forced because you could not sell your home, plan on returning or just want to give it a try and see if you can continue making it work. My father-in-law bought a house everywhere he went and now rents them out. Some make and some lost money. He is not rich in cash but on paper he owns every one of these and has some bucks if he liquidates.