My best advice is to take the time to research the different equipment brands. You know what sizes that you need, you know what your budget is, you know that having a tail on your excavator is no big thing. So........
Find equipment that is simple and has the fewest weak points. The Mustang/gehl/Takeuchi TL 130 are a great machine, I bought mine (2000 hrs, 2002 year) for $16500. bucket, forks, no cab. It was ugly, but a few hours and some paint, she looks pretty nice. Last year I purchased a 2007 IHI 35n for $19000 with cab 2000 hrs.
I spent literally years researching on this and other sites. I had to drive 12 hrs for the Tak - found on machinery trader. The IHI was a hour away found on Craigslist. I did not buy site unseen, I test drove both machines before writing the check.
Anyway, long story longer, my stuff looks nice and is dependable and does what I need for minimal cost, my monthly payments equal one days rental for each machine.