Whether buying a secondhand or new piano, there are so many different piano makers that for a beginner it is a mine field. Whilst the more recent used piano can be a better prospect, giving the option of a higher quality instrument at a reasonable price, it is still important to find the right piano and even recent ones can have significant problems according to their age. There are some really good secondhand British, German and Japanese pianos around as well as some reasonably priced good new imported pianos- you just have to know which manufacturers make the grade and which dont.
It is essential, then, that even a recent used piano is assessed carefully first, followed by the full range of checks and adjustments and then any necessary repairs carried out. When buying a piano, don’t go ahead without advice or the guarantee of a reputable company. Newer pianos do have the huge benefit of more modern materials designed to cope with central heating as well as using better glues and more advanced methods of wood drying in their construction. In particular, they have laminated tuning blocks which provide much better tuning stability. The mechanism will not be worn out and you will have an instrument that you can rely on for many more years.