If you are moving from another state and are not 100% sure of the neighborhood or area you want to live then renting would be a good option.Owning is better long term especially when you consider the tax deductions for property taxes & mortgage interest and after the note is paid you own the house free and clear and have an asset to pass onto your children.
The appraisal is something you should have received from your lender. It is very common for the tax records to show a different number than that of an appraisal. This happens a lot with livable space. The tax records show that your home has a 3 car garage (not livable space), when intact you have a two car and the extra space is an additional bedroom and full bath for example.