You sound like you have a good handle on what you are intending to do and a better than average skill set to acheive it
Am not living aboard
, but I would suggest before buying
a) checkout where you will be living / mooring
the boat before buying
- for availability and prices as well as for shoreside services (do you need 24/7 walkon access in a marina? parking? nearby shops? security
for boat (and car?!)? access to public transport? - simply the dull stuff pretty much the same as living in a house!).
b) If you are considering buying away from your home port / area research
how much it will cost (in fuel
/ crew or captain
/ aggro!), remembering that no boat is ever "ready to go", at least not on an extended trip. Will find that the further away a boat is the more it costs in cash and aggro, so that "bargain" may turn out not to be. IMO the ideal boat purchase
is within a days sail of "home". and ideally in the same harbour! - not just on relocation costs but on buying visit / travel costs (likely you will kiss a lot of frogs - that is just boats!).
and reading is very useful, but you also need hands and eyes on experiance of boats. the more the better. Poking in corners and asking "dumb" questions of everyone and anyone to get a handle on what is normal / expected imperfections and what is pig in a poke stuff! Boat Brokers and Vendors pretty much the same as in the S/h car trade
- except sometimes (often?!) a little bit more forgetful about problems. and sometimes a lot more devious........caveat emptor.
Whilst you likely will get a survey
for "the" boat, it is way cheaper for you to screen
out the no hopers yourself rather than paying someone else hundreds of dollars each time to do that because you didn't get much past the curtains.......
All that means I would go boat shopping
as soon as you can, even though not intending to buy yet. It's called being a tyrekicker! and I would include boats you likely would not buy due to design, size and especially condition (being worse than you would touch with a barge pole!) - you will nonetheless learn a lot of the common areas to look at and think about on all boats, especially on the POS boats - so you don't end up with a polished turd........
d) For the living aboard angle - I would think carefully whether you want a boat that will only be tied to the dock
24/7 (nothing wrong with that) or one you will be using at sea (at least now and again). As a motorboat gets older more of the value gets tied up in the Engines, ones that do
work! Especially on the older end of the market likely will be discovering engines in various stages of last legs and owners with varying levels of skills and budgets to maintain (big old cheap
boats tend to get bought by those without the budget
to buy big new boats - the maintainence on the older is more expensive than the new one, 3 guesses how that often goes!). Obviously you being an engine
guy is a big plus - nonetheless plenty of a boat engine
does involve marine
(and anything with "marine" in the title is wayyy more expensive than having "auto" written on the box!) so don't over assume that is one area of the boat that will be the easy / cheap
bit for you to deal with.....all that a long way of saying is that if not leaving the dock then the value might be found in buying a boat with fooked engine(s), perhaps with one eye on fixing later - or not!
Anyway, a bit more of a ramble than I first intended.........