I am madly, head-over-heels in love with the Albin Ballad. I bet I know which one you are looking at -- there aren't all that many in the US (where I'm assuming you are), and Ike took out another. I haven't owned one, nor even sailed on one, but here's some things picked up along the way....
Boat has a solid hull and foam-core decks. Water intrusion isn't generally an issue. Overall build quality is very solid and slightly conservative -- skeg-hung rudder; integral keel (no bolts); medium beam, draft, sail area. Fairly light for a 30 footer at 7500 lbs, but with a normal racer/cruiser ballast ratio.
The chainplates bolt thru the side decks to a horizontal stringer built into the coach -- not to a bulkhead as such. This might set off alarm bells re: seaworthiness, but I've never heard of any problems with strength and many many Ballads have crossed oceans. It does make for obstructed side decks, however. Capsize ratio is right at 2.0, which is higher than ideal; motion comfort numbers indicate a somewhat bumpy ride. Like the Contessa 32, a boat very similar to the Ballad (both grew out of the Norwegian Folkboat), the Albin is slinky rather than powerful, and the low freeboard can make for a wet ride. Most Ballads sport oversized dodgers, and many carry spray skirts on the lifelines.
The Ballad is a masthead rig with the huge headsails and small, high-aspect main typical of late CCA/early IOR designs. This means you can wait a long time to reef the main, but wrestling down the genoa in bad conditions might be unpleasant short- or single-handed. Some people add roller furling, but for some reason that seems to really hurt the boat's (very, very good) pointing ability. I've never seen a Ballad with a Solent stay, but it seems like a useful addition. Downwind, you really depend on the headsail or spinnaker to drive the boat, since the main is so small. The Ballad is said to be better-mannered when running than some boats of that era, less prone to broaching than more extreme IOR designs.
Belowdecks, it's strictly old school. These boats are pokey and cramped, with little light or ventilation compared to modern cruisers. A modern 25 footer will have more interior volume than the Ballad. I think it's 5'9" headroom. There are two settees, each with a pilot berth above it -- though these latter have often been converted to storage. A sort of a double berth is stashed behind the nav table to port, though again this is often converted to a sail locker. Normal V-berth up front. So theoretically
you could sleep eight on a Ballad, but a crowded four is more realistic. Galley is nothing special. Clever little stowage everywhere, and (common to northern European boats) the cabinetry is modular rather than a molded hull liner. You can remove it for refinishing, alterations, or to get at the hull.
The original engines were 'meh', Volvo Penta IIRC; a nice Yanmar repower ups the value of the boat. Not much tankage for ocean crossing. If you are really serious, really ready to pull the trigger on a boat of this quality and age, I really do advise spending a little money on a survey, esp. of the engine if it's an older one. Typical price for these boats is about half a Contessa 32 -- $25k, tho I've seen them go for $8k at auction. I will give you all the links I've collected on the Ballad, in hopes everything works out, you buy it, and you let me come sailing with you.
Ballad in the round (NFS)
Not-very-active Ballad blog; lots of links, tho
S/V Love, a transatlantic trip with lots of photos
S/V Joy, another
Norwegian Ballad porn
"The Journey in a Cocktail Shaker"
, a German series of YouTube videos about another Atlantic circle, with guitar. The one will lead you to the others.
A new website with forums
and an active group, mostly in English.
More porn (Norwegian?)
OMG ... I'm sorta embarrassed.
It's like stalking Ingrid Bergman