I would also love it if you had a section on advice for people buying their first cello

First, YOU have to like it, I mean the looks (colour, varnish, size), the weight, the handling, then think about the sound. YOU must love the physical appearance of the instrument, it does not matter whether the thing is old or new, and does not really matter either, what socalled experts around you think about it. Then split you budget in two thirds for the cello, one third for the bow.

That sounds relatively much for a bow, but a good bow improves you playing by far more than a better cello. Here again, YOU must love it (looks, weight, handling). Pick one which plays by itself, you should work as little as possible. It should stay on the string easily, either by flexibility or by weight, it is up to you. Take your time, but do not try out too many bows. If you have the alternative between two finally, go by feeling not by ratio.