Home inspections can be highly stressful for all parties involved. There is no such thing as a "perfect" home, and there never will be.
Generally speaking, a thorough home inspection should last two to three hours, and it will address the key components of a home, including the roof, foundation, HVAC, plumbing and electrical components.
There may also be comments about the paint, siding or drainage, as well as comments about commonly ignored areas of deferred maintenance.
The "Big Five", so to speak, are the items that can make or break a deal, because they affect the overall health of a home and repairs can cost thousands and thousands of dollars.
How buyers and sellers respond to inspections is subjective. Some people take things with a grain of salt, while others have severe reactions when they are informed of flaws or potential flaws that exist with a home.
Inspections are a trying time, and this is really where a skilled agent is needed to hold a deal together.
Ignore or miss something big, and brace for an angry outburst (or potential litigation) from the buyer somewhere down the road. Nitpick the seller to death on small things, and the entire deal may come unraveled when the seller decides to take a hard line.
The market plays a role in how this process plays out, as well. In the market of 2008, 2009, 2010 and even the first half of 2011... sellers were often desperate to sell and they would accommodate some large quests. Today, however, with buyers swarming the market and inventory at record-low levels, buyers must be much more realistic about what they ask for. Many sellers do not fear going back on the market when homes are selling in days instead of months.
How buyers, sellers and agents handle the inspection process is often the most critical component in holding a deal together once a home has gone under contract. And it is one of the key reasons why experience is such an important factor when choosing representation. Hire an agent who has seen it before, and chances are he or she will come up with solutions. Hire someone who hasn't, and brace for a bumpy road.
The key is to assemble a competent team, giving unbiased assessments, with no agenda other than protecting the client's interest. If you get that right, chances are excellent that you will survive the inspection process.