Hi Lauren. This is a great question. The important things to consider are where you want to live, how much you have budgeted for housing, and what the market conditions are in your preferred location. Right now the overall market heavily favors buyers, which should give you the upper hand in basic negotiations. Asking prices have dropped and there is, in most areas, plenty of inventory. Just as important are interest rates, which are near historic lows. This all points to great market conditions for buyers. If you are lucky enough to find a fantastic home that meets all your needs in a location that also works for you, buying might be the way to go. You get the benefits of ownership with the added bonus of affordability that our current market conditions support. Also, if you own for at least 2 years, any profit you make upon selling (up to $500,000) is tax free. Even if your profit is much smaller, you get to keep it all. While it is nearly impossible to predict the future, over the next 3 years there are better than average chances your homes value will rise. The benefit of renting is the ease in which you can leave, although you also have the limitations that most landlords impose on tenants (i.e. no smoking, pets, parking,,,,) . Also, most landlords reserve the right to incrementally increase rents or terminate leases as they see fit. Please check out my profile on Trulia and if you would like to talk further, I'm only a phone call away.
Best of luck, Thanks, Jason Lindsay, REALTOR