Welcome to the forum, AJ.
For some useful reading, check out Nigel Calder's books
There are advantages to not taking on a project
boat before you get to sail. A non-project boat is time consuming itself (I'm welding up some new anchor cleats
today), and our local yard is littered with project boats that never made it to the water
. Some have gone through several owners as the first one ran out of money
, got old and died, found the job too big, or lost
interest. This seems particularly true when the owner wasn't a boat pro, as you can imagine. Consider finding a starter that is ready to sail (Ha!) or nearly so, even if it is less boat than you would like to own.
I made it to the water
with my build-it-yourself, but the two year job took twelve years, one of them full time.