Three years is a very short time if you are trying to build equity. During this period, a huge percentage of your mortgage payments go toward interest, so your only chances to gain much equity will probably come from appreciation in the marketplace or improvements you make in the home (and few professionally finished home improvement pay for themselves these days). You should also consider that you probably will pay a commission when you sell, which could eat up some or all of the equity you accrue.
On the positive side, you will get the mortgage tax deduction, and, if you move quickly, you may get the federal tax credit that expires at the end of this month (if it is not renewed).
Therefore, I would suggest you think this through very carefully. You might want to run your number through the "Rent Vs. Buy" calculator on this page: http://www.freddiemac.com/corporate/buyown/english/calcs_tools/
I hope this helps!
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
Your other option is to find something that needs work you are willing to do that can provide you sweet equity appreciation.
Interest rates are currently so low that your mortgage payment is very close to what your rent will be. I would at least look and run the numbers on the specific property. Check and see if that house is one that will appreciate or gain from some simple home improvements or updating. Some homes gain value just with a better presentation.
Good luck and be happy with your choice.
Does it make more sense to rent or buy? Plug in your numbers below and see.
Why it could make sense to rent even if it costs more.
FINALLY! a house price prediction site. See what it says about Buffalo.
In ailing Buffalo job cuts and business closings dampened the home sales market, but since the inventory that is selling has seen prices slashed so much on foreclosures Buffalo is experiencing higher home prices. Buffalo is the third poorest city in the U.S. and as such most sales are foreclosures that have gone back to the bank. A second round of foreclosures is projected for the market in early 2010, which will send average prices down forecast at 7.3% for the year.
Unless buying is a whole lot cheaper than renting would be renting sure looks like the winning strategy to me. But run your numbers. That will give the real answer.