I bought the car off lease and it had all the records. Unfortunately I ended up paying approximately $7,000 in repairs in 7 months.
I thought I was done when the shifter started popping out of fourth gear. I had a 997 shifter installed, along with having the gear oil changed in hopes of solving the problem. Unfortunately it ended up being a gear box, and/or transmission issue. I later found out from numerous blogs and forums online that this issue is very common with the 996. I was quoted $8,000 to replace and install a new gearbox and $12,000 to fix worn synchros in the engine/transmission. That would have made my total repairs $16,000-$20,000 for less than 7 months of ownership. No thanks.
I unloaded the car. What a waste. Stay away from all 996. I heard that the 993 and all previous iterations of the car are great. Unfortunately this was my third Porsche (1984 944, 2000 Boxster, 2003 911) and once you drive a Porsche you are hooked. I am now looking at purchasing a 1985 911. The 3.2 911 Carrera series from 1983-89 are supposed to be the most reliable Porsche series ever. Wish me luck.