When we talk about the new house, we're always focused on the look. Nobody talks about the lasting look or what it takes to get one. What's required to ensure that your new house will look as good in 30 years when your mortgage is paid off as it did on the day you moved in? The answer: a strong focus on durability, which is "the most underrated aspect of any new house," said Dan Chiras, a green building expert, teacher and author of "The New Ecological Home," who is based in Evergreen, Colo. It's surprising that it gets such scant attention from the buying public, he added, because over time it's the reason that some houses come to be valued more than others. In every market in the country, there are houses that command higher prices because of their durability. These houses are rarely labeled as such. Instead they are identified by the name of the person who built them because his or her work has stood the test of time. In some cases, the builder's reputation lives on long...
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