In the home buyer consultation, I talk to buyers about my role in our "partnership". My role is point out all the little stuff. The flaws in the house, the quality of the remodel, the location, the way that they want to live in the house, etc. I am the proverbial "mom" that is showing them all the negative things that they shouldn't overlook in the process of making a decision. If the house survives after they know the good, bad and ugly...I didn't sink it.
It is my job to read through the seller disclosure with you and look for warning signals or premonitions. If the seller states that the roof age is unknown, I might suggest that we have a contractor take a look and see what the cost of replacement might be. If the seller states that they have had water in one part of the basement, I am going to point it out and alert the inspector so he takes a thorough look at that area of the house.
Sometimes, parents come to see the house that their adult children have selected and they pick it apart the same way I do. It reaffirms what is cosmetic and can be fixed easily vs. what is structural and would require a lot to fix to their liking. I recently went to a home multiple times with a buyer where the house photographed beautifully, but the devil was in the details. By the third time at the house, with their parents, we took a more thorough look and noticed even more oddities about this "flipped" home. There were nice selections, but it lacked finish work details. In other words, it was sloppy. But not at first glance, it took a closer look....more sets of eyes to submarine that one.
No house is perfect, especially in the price range for first time home buyers. It is about functionality and potential. And it all depends on how long they plan to be in their first home. Because compromise is a must. Flooring and paint are easy. Moving walls to create a more open floor plan is not. Knowing your limits in the DIY department is important. You don't want to end up spending so much to make it what you want that you will never recoup the cost!