How To Buy A Home With Long-term Value

Homebuyers naturally want to purchase a property that will be worth as much -- or more -- tomorrow as it is today. But what characteristics of a home hold their value over years or decades?

Like any prediction, the answer involves a fair amount of guesswork and speculation. Yet some solid data and plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests that certain types of homes are timeless in style and thus more likely to keep their worth, though none is immune to local market conditions or the ups and downs of housing cycles.

6 ways to select a home with long-term value

No. 1: Location. It has been said a million times, location is the most important quality of real estate because location can never be altered, says Brendon DeSimone, a real estate expert and blogger for Zillow.com. A property in a great location is more likely to hold its value.

Location includes proximity to employment opportunity, good schools, public transportation, low crime and attractive, walkable streets.

Proximity to jobs might be especially key, says Jessica Lautz, a survey research manager with the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

As evidence, she cites a recent NAR survey that found 43 percent of buyers ranked the convenience of jobs as a desirable characteristic. Only neighborhood quality ranked higher, deemed important by 61 percent. Even more telling, 46 percent of buyers who had school-aged children ranked convenience of jobs as important, the same proportion that highly valued the quality of schools.

No. 2: Rooms. Apart from location, the next best bet for a value-holding home has to be a single-family home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

"That's the most popular type of home purchase, so if we're talking about resale in the future, I would assume -- but I don't know necessarily, jumping seven years ahead -- that that would probably be the most popular type of home purchase at that time as well," Lautz says.