As an alternative, very simple beginner system...
You could build your own stand, use a standard 55 gallon tank, eliminate the sump and return pumps, and buy your RO water by the gallon from a good local LFS. This would save you about $700. You can also gradually add live rock, starting with about 30 lbs and growing from there as you add corals. This will save you another $500 or so initial set up costs. However, you will sink another $500 or more into the system over the course of the next year as you add more live rock.
The limit of such a system is the lack of a sump. Although you can do a small reef without a sump, say 75 gallons or less, most experienced hobbyists would generally not consider doing so. If you do not have a sump, be prepared for DAILY replacement of evaporated water, and make sure the aquarium is not in a living area. The noise of a hang on protein skimmer and pumps can be frustrating to many people, and the sump is very helpful in eliminating these noises.
For the record, i do not have a sump on my 38 gallon aquarium, and I am quite happy with it. However, I do not consider it a permanent system. I am in an apartment and wanted something to "play with" for the next year or 2 until I set up a permanent (much much larger) system. The total cost of my system would be about $1500 new retail. Most of my equipment and supplies were ordered from ebay or www.thatpetplace.com
, and the overall cost was about $800. My tank started as a fish only with live rock, and grew to contain Xenia, Colt Coral, Leathers, Green Star Polyps, Yellow Polyps, Hammer Coral, and Button Polyps. I saved considerable money on my coral selection by buying clippings and propagated corals. In such a small tank, they have grown quickly to make a nice display.