If I'm reading you right, sounds like an older boat will be fine for you. I don't know what your definition of "not super rich" is, but sounds like used is the way to go for starters. One of the most important things to check is the compression. Also take the floor out and check for exposed/rotten wood. Exposed is OK as long as it's not rotten, you can re-glass it (and use it for bargaining power) but no exposed wood would be better obviously. Try to turn the motor mount bolts that go into the stringers. If they just spin and spin chances are it has rotten stringers.
Of course I'm partial to Nautiques
which I feel have always been top quality. Mastercrafts, too. I wouldn't hesitate to buy an older one of these, either, if they've been taken care of. If I had the time and money for two water toys, I'd buy an old Stars and Stripes MC to keep my SN company! ;) Scour the internet and look at as many as you can so you know what to pay for what you want. Good luck, keep us posted!