If you are thinking about investing in inexpensive rural property in an area of the country where you do not currently live, then there are many things you should consider before purchasing, such as the following issues:
Consider the Limited Tenant Pool and Low Wages in Rural Areas
Since rural areas often have few employers, they tend to be lower cost-of-living areas where people don't make a lot of money. This will affect your ability to rent your properties and will greatly limit the amount of rent you will be able to demand, even for the nicest properties in the area.
Consider the Fact that Contractors in Rural Areas are Expensive and Hard to Schedule
If you are used to living in a city where you can call up a plumber and they come to your home on the same day, then you need to realize this is often not the case in more rural areas. Oftentimes, rural places will have one plumber, and you will have to wait in line for them to be available. If you are fortunate, this can be the same day. If you are not so lucky or there is a big storm, then you may wait for a week or two. Additionally, there is no "shopping around" in this case; you will have to pay whatever the plumber's rate is. And, without competition, this can be high.
While waiting for services isn't a big deal when you are living in a home you own, it certainly is when you have renters living in that same house. Your renters will expect you to fix problems as soon as possible and may not be too tolerant about waiting.
Since you don't live in the area, you may find yourself making expensive trips to fix problems because you can't find a local professional who can do the work in a reasonable time.
Consider Hiring a Professional Property Management or Real Estate Office to Handle Your Rentals
In conclusion, once you have actually purchased rental property in a rural area, then you should consider hiring a professional property or community management company or real estate office to manage it for you. Having professional management ensures there is someone local for your tenants to contact in times of an emergency, and it puts a layer of anonymity between you and your renters. This keeps them from bugging you when their toilet won't stop running in the middle of the night or other "emergency" situations.