Even a poor structure will need home owners insurance. You would have to carry insurance on vacant land as well. Some stupid kids get on 4-wheelers and go mudding on your property, they are trespassing but they fall into a ravine of sorts that you knew about, as the land owner, but they didn't as the interloper. Guess what... no insurance, their mommy & daddy sue you for having such open, dangerous, unmarked property. Dumb? Absolutely! Conceivable? Absolutely! So you will need insurance regardless. Home owners tax would just be assesed as land value only, no buliding if it was vacant land. It used to be an excelent investment. If you were looking at this for short term, I would say bad idea. But since you are looking at this for the long haul you will have appreciation in value, even in this still somewhat stagnant real estate climate. We owned property while I was still married but it was houses to live in. You buy & sell like a shell game in the military, if that's your desire. Sometimes you get stuck with a house somewhere and then you rent to people. But even that isn't so terrible. You can make enough to pay your first mortgage on that place, BAH covers mortgage on the 2nd place (if entitled) and you have enough generally speaking to pocket some cash for any future issues on either house, more the rental property since you want to keep happy tenants.
It isn't a horrible idea. Just make sure you are in a financial position to carry a mortgage. It sounds like you have the skills to weigh your options carefully and you won't buy Donald Trump's place on a non-rate salary. It also sounds like your parents are giving you sound advice. Start looking... if you find something, make an offer. If you don't, hold out and wait until you do! You have time on your side right now, take advantage of that. Good luck!