Hello and welcome Mark
For that kind of money you probably looking at anything up to around about 2003. I've owned two MK1 Laguna's and I loved them both, however, you're in MK2 terratory with your budget so the following is just from what I've gathered over the years I've been on the forum
First off, seeing as you have a family, I'd say the Laguna is a great choice due to it's 5* Euro NCAP rating, I believe it was the first to receive the accolade.
I would suggest avoiding the 1.6 and 1.8 models as they have been reported as being sluggish, particularly the 1.6. Having said that, the 2.0 and 2.0T may be out of your price range and they appear to be quite thin on the ground, having just looked on
Again, as you're a family man, perhaps the 1.9DCi may be more suitable. Enough power and torque and cheaper to run
Now, Renault aren't particularly known for their electrical skills and most common failures are linked to some type of electrical componant somewhere which can be frustrating and expensive to fix (sometimes)! However, any marque you choose is gonna have it's failings! Pay close attention to the key card and make sure it works properly also it would be a bonus to have two incase one does fail, that way you've got time to save for a replacement!!
Avoid an automatic like the plague also, they're made of chocolate....nuff said!
Anyways, after the above advice the only other advice I would give you is to ensure you pay close attention to service history, higher mileage cars are more likely to have suffered any negative issues which would hopefully have been resolved already so don't discount a higher mileage car. Also, pay close attention to any funny noises coming from the
if you go for an aspirated version, if the cars been well maintained there should be no problems. As with any aspirated car, if they are not looked after you could be looking at big bills for a blown
and other associated problems!!
So to summerise SERVICE HISTORY
Good luck in your search and take your time, don't buy the first one as there are plenty out there
EDIT: One last thing, if you've never driven a Renault before ensure you take some pro plus before long journeys as they are by far the most comfortable cars you will ever drive in