is living in an apartment.
That is personal preference: apartment living never suited me. Your mileage may vary!
Also it's an inflationary hedge - when we left Whitmore Lake, for example, our mortgage, all in (P+I+T+I) was under $900 month. Then we get a tax refund on the I part, which is mostly enough for normal repairs. And then: two car garage, basement, etc. Rent is likely to continue upwards over time, while other than the T part increasing, home ownership is relatively cheaper thanks to inflation.
We will consider both options when moving to Pitt, but if we plan to be there 3 years or less it will be a tossup as to which is the better option
But I now know to look for things like a 40 year old furnace when looking at a house
Three years could be tight with 6% gone for commission plus closing costs etc, ignoring any mortgage deduction.
On the other hand, we lived in our five-year starter house for ~13 years.
It will probably also depend what Sydney finds for work. I think I will start with an apartment/condo/rental/storage unit to not rush the process, see what she finds and if she likes it, and then decide what our longer term plan might be.