Several years ago I had the same question. I took a gamble, strolled into a store that sold & repaired violins. Told them the truth, I still played on the student violin I’d had since childhood, and I brought that with me & showed it to them. Told them I could not afford a better instrument at the time, but could they tell me what to look for? They gave me lots of advice, most of which is in this thread. Then they went in the back and brought out a $10,000 violin they were repairing for a professional. Wow! So beautiful. I was not allowed to touch, but they pointed out the fine features. So, maybe you can try this. Don’t know if they’ll give out free advice at your local local, but I do think people who love what they do love to talk about it. Good luck!