Hello - you've already gotten some great recommendations, though I'm going to agree the most with Larry Hines and recommend that you start by buying local. I recommend buying within 30 minutes drive of where you live, if you can find a property that meets your investment guidelines. Here's why:
- Travel costs will be lower during the acquisition process.
- You should manage your first property yourself to learn how it is done. Later, when you start hiring property managers, you will know what they should be doing.
- When there is a problem with your rental you want to put your own eyes on it, not just call a plumber, carpenter, electrician, etc. Showing up to see the problem yourself will reduce the number of bogus problem calls you get from tenants (and you will be getting some).
Before you start looking at properties, work with a broker who specializes in investment properties and can help you create a draft business plan that includes a profile of the precise property that fits your needs. Later, you will use this plan as a template for most of your purchases regardless of which market you buy in.
All investors want to buy in the hot markets, regardless of where that market is, but for your first investment you should consider a good deal close to home as you grow your investment skills.
Best of luck, John