I was gonna start the same way as you. Then I realized that I could buy a used 36" for the same price as a new residential Toro - about $400. I spent a week looking through Craigslist.org and Ebay and finally found a mower. It's really old but it runs great and has a reputation for reliability. Now I can take on bigger properties than I was planning to originally. On a side note, I found a slightly used Honda commercial for 150 in mint condition and I will probably buy that too incase I can't fit my 36" in certain places and as a backup. I would shop around......the deals are out there, you just gotta hunt 'em down and find em.