First time buyer questions

(Topic ID: 219110)

First time buyer questions


By MrFancy

4 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 20 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 89 days ago by MrFancy
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 months ago

    Hey what's up everybody! I'm moving from an apartment to a house and looking to buy my first machine. I'm in the DC-MD-VA area, looking to spend in the $750-$2000 range, or maybe a little more for a great deal. I've been doing my research and have found a lot of good advice here and elsewhere on the internet, still have a few questions though:

    1. When an ad says there's some wear on the playfield, is that just a cosmetic thing or does it affect the game play? If it does affect game play, does it usually mean there are a couple of spots where the ball rolls a little funny, or can a worn playfield completely screw up the gameplay?

    2. I'd like to learn how to take care of my machine, but I'm not very good at stuff like that and I don't have a good set of tools. Considering that I'm looking at an older machine, are there any that are particularly easy or hard to maintain?

    3. I don't live too far from York, PA- would it be worth holding off until the show there in October? Would it be risky for me to buy a machine that way since I don't really know exactly what to look for in terms of damage, warning signs, etc.?

    Thanks!

    #2 4 months ago

    shows are nice because you can play the game before buying and have a lot to choose from. Prices may be a bit higher though

    Wear won't cause the ball to do crazy things, it's usually just cosmetic. Light inserts being cupped or raised will though, but at some level those are unavoidable on older games, and some people even think they're part of the charm.

    Bally/Stern games are more reliable overall, and replacement boards are more readily available. I wouldn't worry about it that much though if you buy a fully working game that the seller has gone through. You'll definitely end up buying some tools either way though.

    #3 4 months ago

    Always buy in person. If an ad has been up for any length of time, probably a reason it hasn't sold.

    Find a fellow collector to go with and help. So you don't get caught up in drag that first game home no matter what. Maybe budget more for a good working pin to get your feet wet.

    Quoted from MrFancy:

    2. I'd like to learn how to take care of my machine, but I'm not very good at stuff like that and I don't have a good set of tools.

    http://www.pinballnews.com/learn/index.html Scroll down to near the lower part. Lots of good articles on tools and soldering. Look for any by Todd Andersen. And Youtube is littered with short how to videos.

    Quoted from MrFancy:

    are there any that are particularly easy

    I'd start with the Williams DMD era pins. Lots of help available. Lots of parts available.

    Quoted from MrFancy:

    I don't really know exactly what to look for in terms of damage, warning signs, etc.?

    Get a pinhead friend to help. For a basic I like to look at hard to clean areas, if they are clean it has probably been maintained. Look at boards, repairs done with right tools and parts and skills ? Or were monkeys working on it ?

    Most of all . Learn all you can, even before you buy a game. You'll be better prepared. And play the game. Do you like it ? Does everything work ?

    The effort before you drag a pin home can go a long way to making the hobby a great experience for you. Or a nightmare.

    Welcome my friend, and best wishes !
    LTG : )

    #4 4 months ago

    Get connected with a few fellow collectors in your area - waiting for the show is a good idea so you can play games first. Patience will pay off. Again, patience will pay off for you in this hobby. Better to spend more on your first machine and get a good 100% working example and you will have much more fun starting out in this hobby (some try to save and buy a project and then never finish = no fun). Always buy in person and best is from a fellow collector that has taken good personal care of their machines. eBay not a good place to start. Retailer selling used games also not great and you could pay double. Ask questions on pinside (as you are doing) as there are lots of helpful folks here. Good luck and welcome to the hobby - best hobby ever!

    #5 4 months ago

    Come out to VUK in Bethesda on Sunday afternoon/evenings sometime - there's a league at 4:30 where you could guest and a weekly tournament at 7 (not this Sunday though due Father's Day). Lots of pinheads there to chat with and find leads on games for sale.

    #6 4 months ago

    Thanks all! Great idea to stop by VUK on a Sunday, I’ll do that.

    1 week later
    #7 3 months ago

    Thanks again for the advice- I’ve got one more question You guys and other people I’ve heard from have convinced me that I’m better off spending a bit more for a newer machine that won’t need as much maintenance and repair. The ones I’ve found that I’m considering are a Spider-man and a Ghostbusters Pro, both in great condition and in the $4-$5k range (leaning towards the SM).

    My question now is, how hard or easy do you guys think it would be to re-sell a machine like those later on? If the price I’m asking is fair value, could I be confident that I could find a buyer within a few months, or is that not necessarily the case? I live in the DC/Baltimore area if that matters.

    #8 3 months ago

    Why would you sell your first pin within a few months?

    To see how popular a game is for resale, look at each game profile and see how many owners there are, then see how many have it on their wantlist. More on the wantlist than the more likely it is to be in demand when you sell. It is an art not a science though.

    Plan on losing 10% and you will be ok, but SM and GB in nice shape will likely sell for close for what you paid.

    As mentioned above, buy from a collector for normal pricing. The collector can possibly help you with a fix later on. May become a friend also. Don’t plan on “getting a deal” for a popular game. Hard to do that for someone with free time and experience, so a newb chances go down even more. Best deals will be a little extra off a game from a friend, but that takes time to build relationships. It is totally worth it though. My pinhead friends are some of the funniest, most reliable, best friends I have. Easily

    Good luck

    #9 3 months ago

    Thanks, that’s helpful, I’ll check the want lists.

    Also just to clarify, I wasn’t trying to say I’d sell it a few months after I bought it... just wanted to know if I can be sure that I’ll be able to sell it if I decide to do that later on.

    I don’t mind losing some money on it, but it would be a whole lot easier to drop $5k (and more to the point to convince the wife!) if I knew I could get most of it back if worse came to worse.

    2 weeks later
    #10 3 months ago

    Just made my first legit offer, hoping it’s accepted!

    #11 3 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    Just made my first legit offer, hoping it’s accepted!

    what's the game you made offer on?

    #12 3 months ago

    Dirty Harry... picking it up next weekend

    #13 3 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    Dirty Harry... picking it up next weekend

    Good luck. I hope you're not walking into a nest of raiders who want you to be the gimp

    #14 3 months ago

    Can't geek be any geek off the street...gotta be handy with steel if you know what mean! Soder it up!

    #15 3 months ago
    Quoted from Anonymouse:

    Good luck. I hope you're not walking into a nest of raiders who want you to be the gimp

    Yeah, the guy I bought it from said something about needing a new gimp- I guess that's pinball slang for "buyer" or something, right?

    #16 3 months ago

    Here's another newb question- how much space would you say is the minimum you should have between games in order to be able to play comfortably? I could fit 4 average width pins in my basement with about 8" between them on each side- is that enough?

    #17 3 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    Here's another newb question- how much space would you say is the minimum you should have between games in order to be able to play comfortably? I could fit 4 average width pins in my basement with about 8" between them on each side- is that enough?

    That's plenty.

    #18 3 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    Here's another newb question- how much space would you say is the minimum you should have between games in order to be able to play comfortably? I could fit 4 average width pins in my basement with about 8" between them on each side- is that enough?

    My rule of thumb for the the minimum acceptable distance between adjoining flipper buttons is the space taken by placing my left fist and right fist side by side between the machines.

    #19 3 months ago
    Quoted from stevevt:

    My rule of thumb for the the minimum acceptable distance between adjoining flipper buttons is the space taken by placing my left fist and right fist side by side between the machines.

    That seems more thoughtful then my "get it in the basement and just make it work" approach...

    #20 89 days ago

    4 pins it is! I love you guys

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