How Would You Do It?

If you had 1.0M - 1.2M to invest in rental properties with the goal of providing income for now and into the future, how would you do it? I find myself in this exact position, and I'm ready to purchase rental properties. I just can't see re-entering the work-force and I find investing in real estate more comfortable than the stock market. I will either manage the properties myself or have a management company do it for me. I'm sure that will depend on the returns I'm expecting to see. I do have a good relationship with a bank that keeps their own mortgages. They have stated that they see no problems with lending on as many as 10 properties with me. They may lend on more, I only inquired about 10. They are fully aware that it's only me, my cash, and expected rental income. The area I'm looking in is outside of St. Louis, MO. St. Charles County to be exact, and the homes that appeal to me most are 3-4 bedrooms single family in good, established neighborhoods that list between $180,000 - $200,000. Rental rates for similar homes kind of seem to be all over the place, between $1,200 - $1,800. I probably need to contact a management company to learn more about those. Where do the numbers needs to be? I need to follow concrete examples that will not fail or I may as well take some retarded job for $50k/year and put all my money in the market and pray. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I'd really like to do this. Thanks!
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