Durham has a variety of excellent neighborhoods for rentals. They vary in term of stability, cash flow, updates needed. Sometimes those with less stability offer greater cash flow. I have some rentals in Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro with a variety of tenants, ranging from Section 8 to grad students to families.
In general, the better the neighborhood, the more costly the purchase and it doesn't mean that you'll get so much more in rent. There are trade-offs with every decision. Just as buying a house for yourself, location is one of the most important decisions. Same is true for rentals. If you want an updated bathroom and kitchen, so do tenants and you'll tend to keep them longer. Are you planning to manage yourself or are will you use a property mgt company? I used a property mgt company to begin with, then took over when they didn't keep things up to my standards. Now I like managing my properties, knowing the tenants, really knowing my properties.
If you live in MD and are staying there, why not look for rental property close to where you live? Whatever you decide to do, I wish you happy hunting and enjoy the process.