First off welcome to the Forum. You will find plenty of folks in your neck of the woods that have games. Williams, Data East and Bally will be good options to get started in the hobby. There are 100`s to choose from so I would suggest that you either drop by a local arcade and play some to figure out what you like and dislike. You can also look on papa.org or pinballvideos.com to referenc some machines. Most people are honest but you will always find the folks that want to take advantage of you. Not sure or have questions this would be the perfect place to ask. You can also find good information on ipdb.org for all specs etc..
If you were to buy use I would check the following on a game that I am scoping out:
- Is there playfield wear?
- Are the inserts on the playfield lifting?
- Is their planking on the playfield?
- Are all the components working (check videos about how to do switch tests etc.. on a machine)?
- Check the boards make sure there is not anything burnt
- Make sure there are no hacks (improperly cut wiring etc)
- Make sure the DMD is not ghosting (fading or missing lines)
- Is their fading on the cabinet?
- Is the cabinet in good shape?
- Find out the going rate for a specific machine (ask on this forum)
- Is the backglass cracked peeling etc...
- Battery (acid damage)
- Cracked plastics?
- Old rubbers than really need to be replace
- Also make sure that the parts that a rebroken on the machine are obtainable....you don't want to get stuck with a broken game that doesn't have a piece for replacement.
If you want to buy new go Stern, but only with a game that as completed code. The price is pretty stiff but their games are top notch.
Most importatnly have fun.