Depends on where you buy, but if your house is bought for the right price and well-maintained, and then priced correctly when it's time to sell, you should have no problem. Best school districts to buy in would be Eastwood, Chestnut Grove, Julian Harris, Walter Jackson, Priceville, West Morgan, or Hartselle schools.
The Decatur area is a very viable real estate market (like the Huntsville, North Alabama area). Of course, like any market, location plays a large factor in the overall picture. With a window of 3-4 years, it makes a lot of sense to buy because the property will more than likely appreciate enough, especially when coupled with the tax advantages of ownership, to make your time in Decatur a profitable venture from a real estate point of view.
Resales are often hard to predict, but the general health of the economy in this area has been very good when compared to other areas. Our home inventories are actually beginning to decrease, because sales of "used" homes have shown a good growth since January and the upward trend appears to be continuing.
Welcome to the North Alabama area. I believe you'll enjoy your time here.
Well, coming from a realtor, this is probably going be the answer you expected, but if it were me, I would lean towards buying.
If you were staying 2 years or less, I would say rent because it would be much tougher for you to break even on the sale, although not impossible. It all really depends on your particular situation. For some people, renting/leasing for 3-4 years makes sense.
As far as resale history, it would help to know what type of home you're going to be looking for. Certain types of homes have better resale value and sell quicker than others. Decatur is a city with many different types of homes and areas.