Where do I start?

I am looking to get back into vinyl. I say back because I had albums in the late 70's and 80's when I was a teen. Obviously things are different now. My processor has a phono input, but do I still need a phono pre-amp/stage or can I just hook up the table to my processor? And what about all the set up? Would a dealer set it all up as far as weight, anti-skip, etc? If I were to buy used, which I would like to do, how can I be sure I or the previous owner got it right?
I greatly appreciate any and all advice.
A little more information might help... How many albums do you currently have? What is your budget, for TT setup and are budgeting for more album purchases, rcfs and rc machines? What equipment do you currently have? What kind of music do you listen to? Be aware you are opening a big can of worms here!
If your processor has a phono input, all you probably need is a functional turntable and the associated cabling / ground wire.

As far as setting the table up, you can take it into a dealer and they can cover the basic install for you. Having said that, my experience is that they'll do the bare minimum to get the arm / cartridge / table working, so don't expect wonders or pay too much for this service.

If you're in the Chicagoland area, which i'm kinda guessing at going by your moniker, try contacting Bes at Music Direct. Depending on what you want done with your table and what you need, he can typically help you out at a reasonable cost and turn-around time. Sean
Make sure that your processer's "phono" input is a real phono input and not just a line input labeled phono. If it really is phono it's almost certainly a moving magnet input so make sure whatever table you get that the cartridge is MM, or if it's MC get either a step up or just a seperate MC phono stage. Happy listening!
I am starting from scratch, again. My budget would be in the $1000 range for the table and set up. No set budget for albums. I'll just keep building.I listen to a variety of music. Rock, jazz and blues mostly. But not limited to those.

My equipment consist of Sherbourne amp & proc. Paradigm Studio surround system. 40v3 for fronts a rears.

Should more money go towards the cartridge or table. Or should there be a balance. I'm also sure as this progresses, I will be upgrading in a couple of years. Hopefully anyway.

Thanks to all who help.

PS Sorry Sean. I'm in Tampa. The Bulls refers to the University of South Florida. Beware to the rest of the nation, in a couple years there will be 4 football powerhouses from Fl. USF football is young (10yrs) and growing. (Sorry for the little outburst. The season is just getting started.)
For a $1K budget you should definitely consider a used table and arm. They're plentiful enough on both A'gon and ebay, though in general I'd trust an A'gon seller more. Used cartridges are riskier business, so unless the table comes with one I'd go with new.

Put the large majority of your $1K into the table/arm, at least 80%. At any level up to at least $4-5K it is a mistake to overspend on cartridges. A too-revealing cartridge typically displays any shortcomings in the rig. OTOH, an inexpensive cartridge on a good rig will have the support and stable environment it needs to perform its best. I'm not spouting theory BTW. This is based on real experiments with mismatched equipment. Good table/cheap cartridge is almost always better than the other way around.

In addition, since your phono stage is rather suspect and you don't have the budget to improve it, you won't hear most of what an expensive cartridge can do anyway. I'd upgrade the phono stage before I'd consider spending serious money on a cartridge.

P.S. Set aside some money for record cleaning and setup tools.
Great stuff Doug. Thanks very much.