Heres my 2 cents,
I have very limited sailing experience and have spent the last 2 years looking at sailboats. I looked at many models in the 28-32 ft range in backyards and fancy brokerages. I finally settled on a C&C30 MK1. It was affordable, well built, surveyed very well and the broker was great to work with.
My advice to you is LOOK, LOOK, LOOK! Then look some more. You will learn more this way than from 100 message board responses. Look at every boat for sale in (or just out of) your price range and in your area.
I started out wanting a Hunter or an O''Day with a cabin big enough for a pool table
By the end of the second year I was looking at Tartan''s and C&C''s. I ended up spending less than I planned, for less cabin space in a better built and faster (I hope) boat.
Find your surveyor before you find your boat. If you don''t like his style walk away. I talked to my surveyor 3 times before I found a boat to survey, he was very helpful and I was careful not to waste too much of his time.
Narrow the choices down and call him with details and ask what he thinks. If he tells you to walk away, do it and start over.
If the broker/seller doesn''t seem like they will work with you on issues walk away.
Your first sailboat probably won''t be your last, so don''t kid yourself into thinking you have to have everthing the first time out.