$14.600 sounds like a fair deal. I paid $1k less for my 996 biposto last fall. It was a year older and was a demo, but it had a whopping 9 miles on it. As for the free service, that's a Ducati promotion right now, and it looks like a great deal.
As for the RPM range of my 996, it's not good to go below 4k, especially if the engine is hot. During some unfortunate rush hour traffic a couple weeks ago, I had it at about 3500rpm and gassed it. It sputtered, backfired, popped and was generally crappy. It smoothed out over 4k, and has never been a problem otherwise.
As a final note, the gearing it absurdly tall, so consider going with more teeth in the back. Stock sprocket is 36t, and I know people that go up to 41t in back. Just a though.
About that free service promotion...it is free service for two years. I was also told that Ducati doesn't really like to squeeze in two 6K services but it has been done. How long has this promotion been going, I just heard about it.
A stock 996 is very smooth, even with the restrictive cans. I've ridden a 750 Monster, and it doesn't compare at all to the snatchiness you're talking about. They are geared tall, though, and most people go up two teeth in the back.
Thanks everyone for your input. Well my father is a pround owner of a new 2001 996 Mono. He decided today to go with it. He picks it up on friday night. I think he is going to love it. I get some pics this weekend and post them. Thanks again.