As to why everyone keeps saying run away from this boat: Are there any specific reasons why?
What's so bad about this boat that I'm missing and everyone else is seeing? Dirt and bad paint make a boat look a lot worse than it is, I'm not seeing what everyone else is.
Main reason is that most people see a boat as an investment. As such, requiring a lot of work really ruins the investment value by reducing the profit margin.
Gell coat is used by manufacturers mostly for appearance and ease of building, many boats are sailing with the gell coat removed that have barrier coat and bottom paint as the only covering. Any of the quality paints will work above waterline. So don't let the crazed gell coat scare you.
Another issue is how much of the work you will do yourself. If you are paying to have the work done, it cn easily be four times more than the cost of materials. (which will also be substantially mrked up)
If you are willing to put the work into it, and willing to wait to sail it next year, it's a good project. If you want to sail NOW look elsewhere.
Best move in my opinion would be to get the exterior in overall seaworthy shape and ready to sail condition, then move on to the interior while it's in the water where it can be done at a more relaxed pace.
I'm one who works on boats (cars,bikes,trucks too) simply because I enjoy it, so I don't look at them as investments. That boat, would be sitting in my yard right now if I could get it at a low cost.