If you are thinking of renting now because of credit issues, sit down with a loan offficer and see how you can improve your credit score. They will advice you and you can find out if you can improve your chances of getting a mortgage next year.
I also recommend if you do opt hire an attorney, then you should hire a real-estate attorney--preferably one who's also a real-estate investor or who at least has experience working with buyers using creative financing. Assuming that you hire one, who's also an investor, then s/he can help you to negotiate the best possible deal with several alternatives.
I agree with the other comments, the best way to start your search is to work with an experienced Realtor in Pittsburgh and with rates so low and tax credits, you might be able to close sooner then you thoughts
I know of some downtown pittsburgh condos that might be available as rent to own. Let me know if I can assist with any other questions.
Debbie makes some excellent points in her answer. I am an agent in Pittsburgh (Prudential Preferred, City office); several of our listings would consider a rent to own situation at this time. I'd be happy to help you find properties that meet your criteria and help you find suitable financing, as well as negotiate an agreement that ensures your rights are protected. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (412) 521-5500 x302.
Hannah Krause, Realtor
Prudential Preferred Realty