As webmaster of The Old House Web I sometimes try to offer answers on these boards where there's no doubt people out there with far more expertise than I'll ever have.
But let's see: Cheap house in the Maine woods. Now HERE'S a subject where I guess I really am an expert. I bought, rehabbed, restored, remodeled houses in central Maine for a number of years before I retreated back to the somewhat more sane(?) world of journalism.
Some questions that come to mind:
--Do you live in Maine? I can't imagine trying to restore or remodel an old house long distance. And Maine (while my home state) is a long ways from most places.
--Do you have an intricate knowledge of the local real estate market where the house is located? A $10,000 or $20,000 house (yes, they still exist) isn't much of a bargain if you're going to plow 60 or 100 grand into remodeling a place that will be worth 60 or 70 grand when you're done. (Yes, it's possible. I've done it.)
--Do you have a good working knowledge of what wells, septic systems, kitchens, electrical systems, etc., cost? And do you know enough about local soils, water tables, distance from the house to a telephone pole, etc., to know what you're getting into?
--Oh, and as for the sneakers that Scott suggests you purchase (in order to run away quickly) I'd say do your research, make an intelligent & informed choice as to whether to buy it -- and if you do decide to buy, hang onto the sneaker money. You'll need it for mosquito spray.
Good luck -- and tell us more about this place!
Ken Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org