A Home Inspection is a very important part of the buying process and I always have my clients consider putting the inspection clause into their offer. For the most part the transactions move along smoothly but lately I have found that these inspections are holding the Seller's hostage. It used to be that you loved a house and you were willing to take it with a few "flaws" and of course anything major could be negotiated if not already provided for in the price ie. furnaces, roofs, and major structural, mechanical, electrical or plumbing issues. I think part of the problem is all the designer/real estate shows. On these programs we are told to have the house in "Move In" condition, even paint colours & light fixtures have to be right - what about floor plan, good bones in the house & a great location? You aren't going to find a house without any flaws or a home that is exactly to your taste - part of the fun is making it your own. Even brand new homes have problems. In my 14 years of experience my clients have never found a home where the home inspector didn't have a few items in his/her report.
My point, and what I tell my clients, is a home inspection is not used to renegotiate the price. We are looking for major issues that need to be attended to in the short term. A Home Inspector goes through the home and points out items that are major all the way to minor and can be considered regular maintenance. Most of the issues can be looked after by the Buyer when they move in and over a long period of time. Buyer's need to be educated that you can't hold up, or walk away from a deal, because of a slow draining sink, chipped paint or a few nails that have not been caulked on a roof. You also risk getting the Seller's back up and losing your dream home if they don't agree to the terms you set out after the inspection. In some cases the deal ends up in the lawyer's hands and then nobody wins.
As I said earlier, some of these minor issues are holding the Sellers hostage. These "minor issue" deals do proceed, but with a bad taste in everyones mouth, because the Buyer has dragged the Seller down by nitpicking every single detail in the Inspection. In the end the Seller even wonders if the Buyer wants the place and wonders if they are going to show up on closing day with the balance of the money. This obviously makes for unsettling times up until closing.
When purchasing a home, consider this: hire a Professional Home Inspector, listen carefully to what he/she has to say and look at the items that they are recommending as "Major". The other items will be up to you to look after (or not) when you move in. Your Real Estate Agent will guide you through the process.