When investing in a brand new state, what is the main criteria a home MUST HAVE when deciding to make a purchase?

For example, how do you identify a city/community that you believe is on the up and coming?  Is your main focus on factors such as safety ratings, school district, etc.?

Would love to hear how your selection process works when picking a place that has factors that can attribute to solid appreciation/return when you have never stepped foot in the state. 

THANK YOU!