The best course of action is infact seeking out a reputable rescue. They will do an initial screening, background check (which you may not be able to execute), home visit and of course follow up after adoption. Contracts are binding and if there is a reason that these adopters cannot further care for the dog for whatever reason, they go back to the rescue.
Over time you will loose control on what happens to the dog. At the very least with a rescue they have a point of reference if for whatever reason years down the road the dog requires re-homing.
There are actually more great rescues then not. Of course, the people who surrender have no hands in to where the dog is placed once in the rescue, but you must understand why.
There are plenty of people here that can provide you with reputable rescue contacts. Some are rescues themselves.
Just my 2 cents.