I think there are a few questions to figure out what your goals are.
1. Are you looking for appreciation or cash flow? In 'good' areas, home prices are bid up beyond the actual flow of net income you might make, especially in this market! So a more 'challenged' neighborhood might get you your cash flow with lower appreciation, whereas in a better 'hood', appreciation with a negative cash flow might be what you find.
2. 'Fixer' or 'turnkey'? Do you want to try to find a bargain and then fix it up ('diamond in the rough), or is coordinating contractors and getting your hands 'dirty' not your style. I.e maybe you want to just 'turn the key' and rent out the house without much more work? Easier to find the homes that nobody wants (still not easy in this market) than one that is all fixed up.
3. Seller's market. There are very few homes for sale at this time (in my neighborhood listings, they are all either pending or sold, no SFH available since they are all consumed before they get to the market). What I am saying is that there are so many buyers for each home (15+ offers) that you need to bid as much as 5-10% over asking and even then some buyers come to sellers with all cash and it is hard to compete. Not saying that price appreciation is going to stop and 15 years gives you a good horizon, but it's a little like trying to buy an air conditioner during a heat wave.
"What's a good investment option if someone wants to stay for 10-15 years before selling the property?"
The very fact you have set a 10-15 year timeframe for your personal ownership greatly increases the likelihood of positive return.
Furthermore, if you want to better secure such a result I would advise having your RealtorÂ® perform a 10Y growth analysis for the neighborhoods you are interested in based on a property profile (i.e. 3 bed, 2 bath, 2000-2700sf, year built, etc..) In this way you will better understand each neighborhoodâ€™s history.
While nobody can predict the future, this type of data-driven research should prove quite helpful in your decision making process.
Also, you probably want to decide whether you are a â€œbuy the best condition home and maintain itâ€, or â€œbuy the ugly duckling that lays a golden eggâ€?
I really like the Brookvale, and Oliveira Elementary areas and the schools and the neighborhoods are doing really well - let me know if you'd like to stop by my office done time to discuss further. You can reach me at (408)836-2383.