I thought I'd add my name to MS.... I'm a relatively new (~80 hours total, ~35 since finishing my ticket in August) private pilot, currently flying a perfectly okay, but ugly and slow (even for the breed) C172M as part of a flying club at one of my local airports (KILG).
I've been reading MS for a few weeks now and see at least one familiar face from my other local airport, N57. (Hi, Chris!) I'm getting to the point where buying a plane looks feasible in the near future (roughly 1 year timeframe), and it seems like a Mooney is the ideal way to meet my needs. I've now sat in an especially nice F (again, Hi Chris!) and a pretty nice F, and I'm hoping to fly with the owner of the pretty nice F when we get some decent weather and he's available.
My reason for preferring a Mooney is that being able to get from N. Delaware (likely N57) to Bar Harbor, ME (~450NM) in a reasonable time (3-3.5 hours, which corresponds to >130KTAS) without refueling drastically improves the happiness of my better half with an airplane purchase. She's fine with flying, but unexcited about flying for its own sake; she's much more enthusiastic about getting somewhere.
Most of the time, it will just be the two of us, and I'd imagine any trips with 3+ people would be relatively short, so I'm mostly eyeing the C/E, though I'm open to an F if the right one comes along at a price within my range. My plan is to get my instrument rating in the plane after getting comfortable in it as a VFR pilot.
As of now, my priorities (in approximate order) are:
1. Good, clean, solid airframe
2. Good engine/prop with a decent amount of time (likely) left on them
3. Decent or better avionics. I'd like a 430W or better, a functional second nav/com, a decent panel layout, an autopilot, and an engine monitor. I'd LOVE better, but I can live with that for now.
4. A good interior is important, but I'm fine with redoing that as needed.
5. Not-horrible or better paint is great.
I'm ambivalent on electric/manual gear.
Anyhow, I thought I'd introduce myself and say that I've been enjoying reading this forum. I should also mention that I'm a big fan of more information rather than less, so feel free to let me know why I'm wrong.