Well, such a loaded question. As you may have already heard, you can spend as much as you have or as little as you need
On a side note, if you decide to buy boat that requires a lot of work or a complete refit, the advantage of that is that, not only do you learn all the systems of the boat and where all the wire/pipes are, you also have the advantage of becoming an “expert” in those systems.
First of all, you want a boat that floats. That said, you need a good hull and through hulls that are in good condition. Hauling out to replace through hulls and paint can be costly, so that has to be factored in.
Secondly, the engine needs to be considered. This is second because of the expense in repair or replacement. We spent quite a sum of money replacing the old Volvo that was in our boat. We went with a Beta 60 from Beta Marine primarily because Beta Marine is still building their diesels using tried and true old-school technology. Their Beta 60 can be bought for just over $19k as of the date of this article and they are great engines.
Third on our list is the standing rigging. This can also be an expensive repair or replacement. We have not had to replace any standing rigging probably because our Morgan was a liveaboard for so many years and the previous owners didn’t sail her very often.
In addition to those items, there are other areas that might need attending to. Buying new sails is just under the cost of replacing the rigging, so check your sail inventory and condition! Refitting the galley was a big expense for us. The previous owner had cut out part of one of the cabinets and put in an apartment-sized refrigerator. Needless to say, that had to go! We had the cabinet rebuilt and we installed cold plate refrigeration as well as a drawer refrigerator, then installed a new stove.
By the time we were finished with the most expensive parts, we had spent in excess of $75k. Although that whittled away a bit at our retirement, in the end, we considered the expense to be part of renovating our home. When you think of it in those terms, it really makes sense. We didn’t want to go into debt, so we paid for (self-financed) everything ourselves. To go into debt would have gone against everything we have worked for since the 2008 crash. So, you can spend as much as you want, but you really should spend as much as you need to get the boat into a safe condition for sailing her in the waters that you plan to sail in.
Please feel free to post questions. We love to help others get out there and sail!