Investing in real estate is almost never a bad idea, but you have to do your homework or work with a buyer's agent who is versed in the market in which you are considering a purchase. Barre has always been an industrial city and as such, appreciation of property value is not as high as other areas, like Montpelier for instance. You can, however get a great value on property in Barre that you also cannot find in other areas.
When considering any investment, you should set our your ideals (i.e., amount you're looking to invest, the rate of return you're expecting and what your expectation is for the long-run with the property) and once you find a property that meets your specifications or close thereto, assess for yourself and with your agent if there are other factors that may make you not want to purchase the property.
Regarding your safety concern, crime is everywhere but in VT we see so little of it compared to more urban areas that when something does happen it's more pronounced in the media. A review of the area's crime statistics, input from your agent and people you know in the area and even talking to local law enforcement are all things you can do to help ensure you don't end up with a property that is located in a high-crime area.
Good luck to you! If you have any other questions feel free to give us a call.
Tonya Cher, Broker
Cher Real Estate, Inc.
(802) 479-6996 (office)
(802) 249-6904 (cell)