Get a 36" walk behind with a velkie since you're just starting out and you'll be fine. And yes they are a true zero turn. Most people have to make a 3 point turn to turn on a ztr. On a belt driven walk behind most of them the reverse will not work, don't worry about it. I run a 36" and a 48" and neither have reverse. I also think with your budget a stander is out of the question. Good-luck.
All equipment is wore out.
<- Never mind. All equipment has been repainted and with new decals. It's like I have new mower's again!
48" Ferris WB
36" Ferris WB
All Echo hand helds
<- That's how I feel at the end of the day.