Here is what worked for us:
We too were new to sailing, had never been on a sailboat in our lives, didn't know people that sailed, etc.
We purchased an older, but solid Catalina 30
for about $24k in CT that was in perfect working order, but not quite so on the cosmetic side.
We sailed her to her new home in Haverstraw NY and then proceeded to make her ours - new canvas
, new cushions
, new paint
job, new bimini/dodger, etc.
None of it strictly necessary, but it was what we wanted.
Over the next 3 yrs, we learned to sail on her, doing day sails
, then long weekends, then 2 weeks, then a month long cruise
and finally a year-long cruise
down to the Florida Keys
Once we knew that full-time cruising was "definitely" for us, we sold
her to a friend for just about what we paid for her and considered all the additional upgrades the "cost of learning" and then purchased a new 40' Hanse.
Just a thought on a possible approach.
Enjoy the journey!