Just the thought of working on such things is enough to give me pause. Are you in such hurry, that you can't wait till the end of school year for the bus auctions to fill up? Please let me assure you that there will be more buses available for you. There is no shortage of school buses in the US, but most of them are auctioned towards the end of the school year. Do you have a pressing time frame you have to hit or are you just excited to get started on the months/years long conversion process? When we bought our bus I was VERY impatient, I have wanted to go down this road for a decade or more and I finally got her to say "yes" (it was more of a "fine, go ahead" but green light is green light
) I scoured CL and ebay daily, we looked at a couple of buses locally. It become my obsession for weeks, then I found an auction with a bus that fit our size and budget. I scrambled around to get registered for auction, got everything in order and waited for that timer. Placed a bid, and quickly got out-bid.. went back and forth a bit......exceeded what I wanted to pay by a couple hundred bucks but I got us a bus! That was a Friday, we went and picked it up the following Monday. We were thrilled!
Now looking back, I know that I jumped too soon. I love my bus, don't get me wrong but what we really want is a BB tc1000, flat front shorty. I say this to tell you to be patient, make a list of "must haves" make a list of "nice to haves" make a budget, and then take the time needed to find your bus. How much time and $$ do you think you want to spend repairing rust spots and holes? Does replacing a rusty brake line mean you can't get the couch/dinette/bed/fridge/stove/awning/stereo you want? Keep an open mind, you may start out your conversion with a crazy road-trip like the Squirrel and Crazycal or you may find in next door to you like mine. From where I sit, converting a bus is more about the trip and less about getting finished.
Good luck to you whatever you decide!