unless you have experience renovating homes I would suggest not to mix the 3 distinctly different "initiatives: buying a home for the 1st time, renovating a home for the 1st time, managing a project with a friend! The less complicated yis our agenda the more chances you have for success. Many do not realize, until they are deep into it , the amount of details, dollars, negotiations and other skills it takes to succeed at such combined project!
As an Interior Designer and a Realtor I do sometime engage myself into buying and renovating a property for myself or for my client, yet I would not do this without a clear vision of what it takes, what will I do if things don't go the way I hoped, what should I budget and talk through with the friends who are not involved in the project, rather who may have had some similar experience. You'd be surprised discovering all the complications.
That said, I believe that, in general, a single family home has the greatest resale value in Newton. However, what is right for you and for the exact situation obviously can have a number of variables and the real answer may be different for your specific case.
I'd be happy to meet with you and discuss your specific situation when we are face to face and have the confidentiality of potential client and agent. Feel free to call me at (781) 304-1048 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My office is in Wellesley and I live in Newton.