I'm another youngster who's been at this in a 30 foot boat for a year. There is great truth in the statement that a dorm room is training for a liveaboard. Anyway here are some points of consideration.
you could get a boat on ebay or craigslist.
don't know what it is where you are, but around here a survey is $20 a foot. for a good survey you gotta haul the boat out to see the bottom and splash it for a sea trial, so you need to account for a haul n launch.
To get a 30 foot boat inspected, for me, cost $1000 because the previous owner wouldnt come and insisted i hire a captain for the sea trial.
The Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread can often give you enough information to decide whether a boat is worth going ahead further on, saving the cost of a sea trial, inspection, haul out, etc., for only the boats that are worthy of it.
After that, you're making repairs to get the boat in liveable conditon. Oftentimes, the windows are leaky and need caulking (or butyl tape if you don't like to redo it every year), the ac wiring is insufficient to carry a space heater, the plumbing may need something.
Yes, getting the boat to be a dry boat is key to making it a comfortable boat to liveaboard. The other things need to be addressed, but only after you get the boat tight and dry.
All these first time expenses point to the necessity to get a loan for the boat purchase.
Depends. If you have a decent boat buying budget, and reserve 15-20% of it for refitting, modifying, repairing and upgrading the boat, then a loan may not be required.
After that, there's regular maintenance. Sanding and painting the bottom is expensive and filthy, and even more expensive to have it done. Engines cost money to maintain, unless you're mechanically inclined.
The more you can do yourself, the more money you'll save. Boat yards generally charge $85-125 PER HOUR for working on boats...
You can get insurance from boatus for not much. I recommend towing insurance if you go sailing, tows are ridiculously expensive.
Towing insurance, particularly unlimited towing, is a very good idea. About $145 per year, and well worth it, kind of like AAA for boats... One tow will pay for several years of membership pretty easily.
Points of consideration when looking at boats
-Does it have a head? How big is the holding tank?
-Does it have a fridge? These are valuable!!
-Does it have a shower and hot water?
-Can you stand up in it?
-If you run a space heater, will it trip the breaker? Will it burn up the shore power cord?
I'd point out that the head, holding tank, shower and hot water are often unnecessary for a liveaboard boat at a marina, since most marinas provide these facilities as part of their amenities.
A refrigerator and good galley will be a necessity, unless you are independently wealthy and can afford to eat out all the time.
Standing headroom is pretty nice, but not a necessity.
A good shorepower system will be a key part to making a liveaboard boat workable.