If that is your price range and you don't want to spend a lot of money on surveys you NEED to buy your own moisture meter AND learn how to use one correctly!!!
Holland Marine Products
out of Canada sells this moisture meter:
Trust me it will pay for itself the FIRST time you use it. Getting a surveyor out to a boat will cost you a minimum of about $400.00 to tell you the thing has decks like sponges. With your own moisture meter, and some studying, about proper use, you can eliminate ten boats a day until you find one with dry decks, that you like, and are then willing to commit to a survey on..
Click on the words Holland Marine Products above then scroll down the main page a bit to see the moisture meter..
You can be penny wise and not buy one but TRUST me it will pay for itself during the first use if used properly.
My personal feeling is that if every boat buyer had a moisture meter brokers would smarten up and be a LOT more honest!!! Many brokers have moisture meters and do check decks before listing a boat but then WON'T admit any problems and force you to hire a surveyor to find out for yourself.. It's like they are in coo hoots together..
The savvy boat purchaser always comes prepared and owning a moisture meter is the number one thing you can do other than reading and studying books on boat surveying and construction ...
Oh, and I'd buy the Ericson over the Grampian 10 times out of 10 !!!!
One more thing is to leave yourself some "slush money". The general rule is a minimum of 10% of the purchase price for upgrades and repairs. Unfortunately, as the price of the boat goes down into the 10K range for a 30+/- foot boat that percentage can grow to as much as 40-50% of the purchase price for upgrades and repairs. Just because the boat is old and inexpensive it doe not change the cost of wire, running or standing rigging, plumbing etc. etc....
A new halyard for a newer 45k 30 footer will run you the same price as a new halyard for a 10k 30 footer.....