Ultimately, I guess what everyone is telling you is that it totally depends on the circumstance. Why won't you be buying for a year? Must you buy in a year? Do you have a home you would need to sell? How much are you looking to invest?
It doesn't hurt to start learning the market. You have the time, why not make the most of it? Of course, it depends on your personality and just how much into the details you really want to get. And, of course, we are currently in rather volatile times, so just remember that various parameters could change on you over time.
Navigating the ins and outs of the Massachusetts Real Estate guidelines, rules and regulations can be fascinating to some and daunting to others. It doesn't hurt to find a real estate professional with whom you can work well. As recommended below, take the time to interview a couple and find someone with whom you really click. A good way to find a good agent near you is to ask someone who has recently purchased a home. Generally, members of the National Association of Realtors will come with good references.
As with everyone else, if I can be of more help, don't hesitate to "call".