I would advise that you research, find and contract with a good realtor first and foremost. To start with, an important aspect of investment property is knowing appreciation values based on a 5-year period or longer. If a property can hold or exceed values through the current shifting market (12 months) then you can bet you've found a nice property that will benefit you in the future. Your realtor will be able to access information relating to rentals in any specific area you choose. Properties near a school or college is advantagous.
Your choosen realtor can pull data based on sold properties within an .8 mile - 1 mile radious of the subject property to include seller concessions and incentives which impact the final closing price of a property. These comps should include only sold properties over the past 7-8 months. The appreciation analysis should include 5+ years of information. Knowing all the facts of how a property performs is key to making a great investment.
I love real estate!
Best of luck to you