I avoid sewing anymore, but I used to sew a lot. I've made prom dresses (for me), baby and child clothes for my girls, curtains, etc.
What type of machine you get sorta depends on what you want to do. Many of them come with all sorts of bells and whistles and dozens of stitch types. I really only used the straight and zigzag stitches, used the zipper foot, etc. So think about what you'll be doing.
BTW... my machine is an old Kenmore and other than maintenance stuff it's barely needed any repairs.