What do you look for when buying a used table?

Looking to get back into wax...but its been awhile since I've had a table...and posters here really seem to know their "stuff"...what are some key areas to investigate when buying an older,say Thorens table...If you have some specific advice or hints that would be great...also...how much does a "check up" run at most audio shops...I plan on replacing the belt and cartridge...just want to know what other "hidden" cost might be found in a used table..wish me luck! One last thing...cant afford a record cleaner...what is the best,cost-effective way to keep wax clean? Happy Holidays....
Make sure that the spindle is not loose in the bearing, and that there is oil in it. Check the tonearm bearings for play. Make sure that the motor holds speed, and that the belt is good. View any modifications with suspicion, until you can verify that they are an accepted mod, and that they were done by someone who knows what they are doing. Check the power cord and the audio cords and plugs. Then cross your fingers that nothing will break when you get it home.
LISTEN and INSPECT it thoroughly at a reputable dealer that will back the unit up with some kind of warranty.
I like to know too. I'll hopefully be buying my first table soon. Yea me! :-)
A knowledgeable AND honest seller/dealer who knows ALL about the turntable- it's history,maintenence etc- Good luck. You'll be surprised at the performance and some of the great deals to be had in vintage turntables