When we were looking, we looked nationwide but started locally and went out from there. During the searches we kept finding buses we liked in 'crazy' places like California and Oregon but as we all know, distance = $.
After looking at quite a few buses in this part of the country and having some deals fall through, we decided that we would just look for the right bus for the right price and hope we could afford to get there.
The budget was $4k. The bus was $2800. Plane tickets were $700 and we spent about $1k on fuel for the return.
Add food and 'first time ever driving across the country in OUR freakin SCHOOL BUS" souvenirs and the budget was shot, but it was absolutely worth it.
So technically, the bus was still within budget
If you asked me before we left I would have said I would like to find one close to home and try to save some dough, but hey, supposedly we only live once so to hell with it! Besides, I think even if you bought your bus down the street, the first time you crank that sucker up as the proud new owner of your skoolie is an experience all its own!