Investing in a nice single tier system would be a good start. You can always home-make the automation later. A couple PIDs, SSRs, temp probes, and ASCO valves are much cheaper than the pre-built automated systems.
Consider something like the morebeer single tier, and then check out some of the Brutus 10 brew systems. It wouldn't be hard to retro-fit. Plus when something breaks, you'll know where to source the parts.