I have a few choices for a great deal on my first Martin. First is a 2006 D18 that's in mint condition for $1000, Second is a D28 from the late 90's that's starting to develop the seam split near the bridge but is in other wise great condition and it comes with a LR Baggs M1 Active pickup for $1200, Third is a 1996 D35 that's got a full seam split and has a ton of dents, dings and scratches as well as some fret wear for $1200. All three sound great and the D18 and D35 play a little better than the D28. All come with cases and humidifiers. I really like all three but what do you think is best to go with?
i personally would take the D18 just simply because when you're buying secondhand it's always best to go with the mint. there aren't any warrantees once you're buying used. if you're willing to get it repaired it might be a lifelong dream guitar, but the risk is that you might need to make expensive repairs 20 minutes after you get it home.
Now, if the seller is the original owner, they could have it fixed by Martin prior to sale under the lifetime warrenty.
No point in buyin a busted guitar is the way I see it. If you intend to play this guitar the go with the one without the seam split. If you want a project guitar or something to fix then buy one of the busted ones.
I'd say if you could find out how much it would cost to fix up the D35, and if it's reasonable, that's an option. But if you're just looking at buying something to bring it home and strum (or pick) I'd say the one in good shape would be your best bet.