2000 civic brake replacement?

Hi all,
I'm considering buying a 2000 Civic VP with 78,500 mi on it from the previous owner. He says the car is in great shape, but that last time
his mechanic saw it s/he said that the brakes were 45% done and would need to be replaced before this winter. Is this plausibly normal? How much should I expect it to cost?
I know very little about cars except what I've picked up from life and Cartalk, so I appreciate your advice.
-Sasha
ps, why is VP "value package"?
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Absolutely. My first brake pads (on a new, 91 Civic) lasted only about 40k miles and 1.5 years. The variation is wide from one driver to another and from one type of driving (e.g. city vs. highway) to another.

The 2000 Civic LX has brake pads on the front and brake shoes on the rear. Shoes last much longer than pads, generally. I'd be surprised if the mechanic meant the rear brakes were about due, too. Ask if it's both front and back brakes. If just the front, figure around $100, assuming nothing odd like highly worn rotors is found (that would be unusual). Find an independent import shop and ask them how much to install (1) new brake pads on the front; and (2) new brake shoes on the rear. This assumes you have the 2000 Civic LX. I strongly recommend only genuine Honda pads and shoes. You can buy the pads online for about $38 + shipping/handling at places like www.slhonda.com .
Edmunds.com has a great used car appraiser, by the way. You put in make, model, mileage, condition, extra features, etc. and it spews back private party price, dealer price, etc.
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Definitely. Brakes wear out at extremely variable rates, depending on driver, driving style, weather and neglect.

Dealerships and independents often have "brake specials". The price can range anywhere from $60 to several hundred, depending on what needs doing. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most ripoff-prone parts of a car. It really helps to have a competent and honest garage look at them.
And stay away from aftermarket parts if you can.

Context please?
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Thanks for your comments! That particular purchase ended up falling through, but it's definitely useful info as I keep searching. Its damn hard to find a middle-aged Civic around here-- they're either new (and out of my price range) or have 100k+ miles on them. I guess that means people like them.

It's a 2000 Honda Civic VP. That's the trim name, like LX or EX. I was just wondering about the context for that, since NADA doesn't list it and I couldn't find the story behind that trim line online. What features it has, why they created, where it falls with respect to the other trim lines. I'm more curious than anything else, but it's not really pertinent anymore, unfortunately.
Thanks again!
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