Sincerely Mark & Sarah 8)
Certainly hold off, rent for a year. Research ,research, research.
Do not believe a word agents tell you. There is never another buyer ready to pay a deposit at 6pm that evening. Prices are not rising, they are falling dramatically where there are any sales.
Be careful and pick a good highly recommended lawyer, read this forum everyday to see latest pitfalls and recommended lawyers.
To answer another of your questions”How long does a purchase take” I would ask you ,How long is a piece of string? It all depends on the property that you consider buying, is the building finished? , if not you could be talking about years. Is it a resale and the seller is desperate to return to country of origin ? then it could be a week.
Hope this helps