I would be glad to help you with you real estate needs. Regarding your questions about timing advice, I'll try to keep it short. I cannot in good concious recommend a "rent-to-own" option if you can avoid it. I've had first hand experience with this, it is more adventagous towards the seller and makes it fairly difficult and risky for the buyer to find a home. In a seller's market, such as today's, you have to entice an owner with a substantial non-refundable deposit (not to mention first, last, and security deposit). Bottom line, it means a lot of upfront cash to get that option to buy.
Renting vs. buying is a matter of your financing circumstances. With interest rates so low and the market prices now stabilzing (gradually increasing in some areas), it certainly appears to be a good time buy. If you'd like, I would be happy to meet wtih you and further discuss in greater detail.
CENTURY 21 City Real Estate
4500 University Dr.
Coral Springs, FL 33065