ousitc or Electric?
Decide what type of music you will be playing. Based on the type of music, you can decide what type of guitar will be the most versatile and give you the tone you want.
A beginner can learn on either an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. Most beginners start with an acoustic. There are several "student" model acoustic guitars that are economical and a great start for building your basic skills.
Others start with an electric to get that rock and roll experience, just remember you will need an amplifier.
Be cautious not to buy a "cheap" guitar. Cheap guitars are hard on the fingers and they do not want to stay in tune. They end up sounding bad and playing the guitar is suddenly not fun and you may get discouraged and quit.
A good guitar is easy to play, stays in tune and will be a pleasure to play.
Acoustic guitars are great for guitar players who want to strum a few chords and accompany themselfs while singing at home or for small groups ~ Not so great for rock and roll.
Acoustic electric guitars are great for playing guitar in coffee shops and church because it will amplify the sound for larger crowds.
Electric guitars are generally easier to play and the most versatile. Keep in mind that you will need to invest in a good amplifier for your electric guitar. The amplifier really has a lot to do with the sound of your guitar.
Decide how much money you want to spend.
Stick with known brands and reputable Luthiers.
Beware of "off brand" copies. It is very easy to fake a Fender or Gibson guitar and many companies make "aftermarket" parts - even logo decals.
If this is your first guitar don't go for a cheap guitar, there are several very good beginner guitars that are economically priced. Plan on spending around $300 for a decent guitar. Great Divide Guitars offers a quality guitar that won't cramp your budget.
Buy Used - You can get nearly new guitars for a lot less when you buy a used guitar. (See: What to look for when buying a used guitar.)
A great guitar is a great investment. A well taken care of more expensive model will hold it's value.
Buy the guitar based on sound and playability - not just for the way it looks.
Test and play several guitars (including the expensive guitars) to see what a good guitar feels like, what it sounds like and how it plays. You will have a better frame of reference when testing a less expensive guitar that may fit your budget better.