Roy, I would first suggest you get educated on investment real estate, as proper education will determine your level of success. In terms of areas to buy, it really depends on your overall investment strategy. In this market, I'm advising my clients to buy and hold long term, with an emphasis on maximizing residual cash flow while building future wealth. As an investor, it's all about the numbers...cost of capital, cash flow, ROI (rate of return), equity positions, tax deductions/savings, and capital gains.
Determine what type of investor you want to be...active or passive? If you want to be an ACTIVE investor (materially participate), you need to really be concerned with more "subjective" attributes relating to location, schools, shopping, neighbors, and other "feel goods" of the subject property you consider buying, as this will determine the level of energy and frustration that you will ultimately experience as a landlord. If you want to be a PASSIVE investor, you need not worry as much on emotions, but rather "quantitative" attributes that really drive profitability and wealth. I recommend passive strategies unless you really want to become a full-time landlord...it's not an easy business, but very profitable IF you get can get it right!
Bottom line...get educated to understand various investment strategies before you invest any money. Buying investment real estate, at any price or location, without proper knowledge and planning will result in failure. As a full-time investor of 15 years with a multimillion dollar portfolio, I speak from experience and would be happy to introduce you to the world of investing. Just be sure to get advise from someone who actually is currently doing (not once did) what you want to do...hindsight is 20/20, time tested and proven!!
I offer free consultations to get you started; just visit our website for more info. We offer complete passive "turnkey" investments already renovated and rented starting at only $39,900 that average 20% ROI with free property management. Please let me know how I can help. Good luck Roy!