I always encourage an inspection for my buyers and I always attend the inspection. Even with new construction -- I've never had an inspector say, "Yeah, it's all good". Their inspection develops a punch list for the contractor about items that would have gone mostly unnoticed.
I also recommend that my sellers have an inspection prior to putting their house on the market so they can make repairs or at least know what to expect during negotiations.
By attending the inspection, I learn firsthand what any issues may be and am able to communicate them effectively. Inspections also give me an opportunity to learn more about potential issues and what to look for when I am showing properties.
By having this knowledge, I can point out potential issues to help advise the buyers on what they should be be thinking of when offering a price.
Once the agreement is signed around and the inspection begins, the items we saw in the beginning may no longer be part of the negotiation. Unexpected findings will bring further negotiation and this is usually the case.
I have three inspectors I have worked with, trust and recommend. They give my clients great ideas about repairing issues as well as general maintenace and care of the house once it is theirs.
There are numerous items that are noticeable and should be part of the original negotiation; some recent ones: Windows with failed sealing, squeaky floors, missing handrails or missing turn in pieces, furnace maintenance, roof (sometimes, it is obvious).
Common Items that Inspectors Find: hot water heater issues, toilets with damaged drain seals, electrical not up to code, outlets without ground fault protection, moisture damage, roof longevity, Hydronic (water) heat system issues, crawl space vapor barriers, window trim flashing, eaves with missing bird blocking mesh, voids in the garage firewall, gutter condition, check furnace further, gap valve missing for the dishwasher, exterior siding issues, even termites!, mold, chimney condition and foundation issues ...
The inspection that took the cake: a missing foundation ... The owner had a leaking pipe in the basement and he dug out all of the dirt that was holding up the house to make it easier in the future. He put in makeshift supports. It was wild and we definitely negotiated a better price ... and learned lots more about foundations!