you could probably get a peavey for a pretty fair price pretty easily, think around 500 or so, and with all the peavey's I've known, they've been known for not falling apart - it's just darn good gear really. As far as brands go, I'd recommend a peavey. With that said though, you'd be getting some well-loved equipment, this is one big advantage with buying used gear - it's already been well-loved, so if it's still standing when you get it, chances are it'll still be around for years to come. The thing is, I don't like recommending much in terms of gear brands quite so much as recommending that you play it first, whatever it is, and figure out if it works and how well it works (eg. how loud it goes) before buying anything.
You don't seem to have quite so much experience with bass for me to say "if you like it, then buy it", because you probably haven't tuned your ears and gotten a good tone in your head first. That's just going to come with experience, so for right now, just try to save up some money, keep looking on craigslist/kijiji, and check out anything and everything that comes up, and practice and mess around with the EQ and have fun with it.
#Big Macintosh of the brony bassist club.