In my mind and what I have done is search out a boat that is very cheap but needs a lot of work, but none of the needed repairs are a massive deal breaker and wallet breaker. What I wasn't anticipating on my new old boat was the necessity to re-power. When I look at older boats with dual engines, I am both envious - mine's a single engine - and wary because now I have an idea of what it will take financially to re-engine a boat.
My boat is gas engine and I am re-powering with a new Mercury 6.2 litre duoprop 350 hp. But to install a new engine, you have to take out the old engine, remove the stern drive, re-glass the original hole in the transom to make do for a new hole. And in my case, glass in two exhaust holes which was for exhausting as the new engine exhausts through the leg.
The new engine installed but before that the area that hasn't seen the light of day for fifty years, inspected, cleaned up, any structural damage repaired (wood), repainted, new risers installed then the engine and stern added in. Then the engine and leg has to be thoroughly tested to ensure warranty from Mercury, the installation done by Merc approved guys.
Then I am removing the old steel fuel tanks and replacing them with two 75 gallon the material some type of plastic which I type I don't know. Do the old tanks need to be replaced, probably not, but maybe. With the tanks, you can see the top and side and one end, you can't see the bottom, the other end and the other side. On the visible side there are no issues, on the non-visible side there might be issues.
So on that Grand Banks ask yourself how much it would be to replace one of them or both of them, or rebuild them. Not only include work on the engine but access which on some boats is almost non-existent. So on the Grand bank boat you are interested in, can you see easy engine accessibility so one or both can be removed? Or will they have to cut a hole that might intrude into your salon, doable and repairable but think expense here.
I have and will be paying around $50,000 - $55,000 for my re-powering job which is a cheaper gas engine compared to diesel. So far the old engine and leg have been removed, the new engine arriving any day now.
I will probably be paying 2/3rd's of what a new 29 foot boat would cost, but mine will be equipped for me, for my needs in Coastal BC for extended cruising and extended time on the hook in a sometimes rainy, humid, somewhat cold environment.
The expense of an old boat is substantial and usually folks purchasing an older boat are doing it because they are "cheaper." Cheaper is often expensive in boating dollars.
If I were purchasing an older $40,000 boat, I'd be planning for $100,000 in my head. So at $100,000 that means I either have 1) cash 2) an investment I can readily sell 3) a large line of credit or 4) your father is Bill Gates.
Wisdom in boating is learning that bigger isn't always better, smaller makes for savings, more spontaneous getaways, easier to single handle. For me, the greatest waste of space is the cockpit, not really necessary and better served as a stern birth. You can have a lounge area above the stern birth. One example is the Corvette 34.
But I thought I'd search out an example so I just looked local to me of a boat that fits this description. It is a steel boat so many will warn you of having to always maintain steel, which is true. But notice the layout of the boat, this is brilliant, it uses the full length of the boat for interior living space, thus making it feel larger.
What I don't like about the boat, 1) some of the interior just needs some TLC to make it visually more enjoyable 2) No where to sit at the inside helm which in my area would be used frequently, so for me that autopilot would get a a lot of use. 3) The electronics would need an upgrade. This boat needs a great deal of elbow grease but it will probably reward you with years of wonderful cruising, going lots of places slowly.... lol.
Massive windlass on this boat: [Canadian dollars $65,000 = $49,000 American] It is 32 feet, it will appear larger even in the first picture, again because the entire boat is living space:
I'm guessing you live on the East Coast of the States so there is even larger used boat selections there. But, I wanted to give you an example of a boat using all the available space, giving you a larger boat in a smaller footprint.