The 96 Honda Accord is a very good car, but I am a little partial on that as I have a 97 Accord, owned since new and it is essentially the same as a 96. However, you need to find out when the last timing belt service was done. If your coworker has never had it done, then you should count on that as being needed ASAP. BTW, I just had this done at my local dealer, timing belt, balance shaft belt, drive belt, water pump and all oil seals, coolant service and valve cover seals for $735.
The other thing to check it the transmission fluid. It should be a bright red. If it is a light brown, you can get the transmission serviced, just do a drain and refill, but use only the new Honda ATF. It shouldn’t cost any more than an oil change. The new ATF is about $9/qt and it only takes 2.5 qts (you have to pay for three), no filter to change. DO NOT flush this transmission, even if the dealer recommends it. Honda warns against this is their factory service manual.
If you need new wheel bearings, and I’m surprised that you would, you might as well have the brake rotors changes as well. Replacing the rotors involves splitting the hub from the steering knuckle, a time consuming and expensive job. Same for the wheel bearings. Honda uses really beefy rotors so they don’t have to be changed very often. I recommend that you replace with Wagner rotors though. If your pads are getting thin, this would be a good time to replace them as well, but use Wagner Thermo Quiet ceramic OEM replacements. If you use Honda pads, make sure they are the ceramic pads and not the semi-metallic.
Also, since you have to remove the steering knuckle to replace the wheel bearings and rotors, this is the best time to replace those upper ball joints, do both sides. Make sure the shop you chose is giving you the break on labor and not charging you the stand also rate for each part individually. Its not exactly a 3 fer, more like a 3 fer 2. That is the basic rate for one of the jobs, plus a little additional for each of the added ones, but not the whole fee.