Whenever possible, the buyer should attend an inspection. The reason for this is that the inspector can show you problems, and you can ask any questions you have about fixing them. Seeing and hearing about a problem is always much easier to understand than reading about one.

Not all inspections go well. Many buyers don't get inspections on new constructions homes, and I think they are absolutely crazy for not doing so. We always recommend inspections, and even inspections on new builds don't always go the way you think they would. It's new, everything was permitted and done by professionals so what is there to be concerned about? Everything comes with a warranty so I shouldn't need to worry about it, right? If you only knew...

What constitutes a bad inspection? Well, it's hard to say because it varies with the area of the city and age of the homes. Things get very serious once you are talking about structural issues, aluminum wiring, cast iron plumbing issues, etc. Unpermitted work done to a home can also be a huge issue. I firmly believe that a bad inspection has occurred when you no longer feel comfortable in buying the home due to the results of the inspection. 

It may be frustrating and/or disheartening when these things happen, but it's important to remember that you found these things before you bought the house so you could be in a far worse situation.

For an example of a bad inspection and how it could be viewed as not that bad by others: We had buyers who went under contract on a flip house. The inspection revealed a bad leak in the pipes... in a completely obvious spot, but it was draining into floor drain in the basement. The leak had been there for a long time, and although there were several cosmetic improvements around it there was no attempt to fix the leak. The buyer felt that the person flipping just made the house look nice and didn't actually fix problems. Another buyer may have just said, okay, let's fix the leak.

For another type of inspection concern, one dependent on the inspector, please check out One Page Inspection Reports.