When working as a buyer agent, I have a standard talk with all buyers as they prepare for an offer. I suggest that we give the house a hard look to find things that might come up during a home inspection. Obviously, I do not try to "play" home inspector, but I do try to point out the obvious (I.e. curled shingles, windows that have a broken seal or do not open close).
Then, I tell them that it is not ethical to try to renegotiate the price after the inspection unless something comes to our attention that is structurally or mechanically unsafe or beyond the layperson's ability to identify during a walkthrough. For example, we recently inspected a home that had a newer heating system. Since it was August, the inspector had to turn it on and run a series of tests. After testing, we found that there were problems and asked the seller to have them fixed by a professional. On the other hand, we did not "go back to the well" for door jams that were kicked in and broken.
On another recently closed deal, the buyers renegotiated several thousand dollars off the price for items that "might break." I honestly felt that the negotiated amount had been decided before the inspection even began ... I think some people enter the home inspection as a "Phase II of Negotiating."
This is not my style; I don't think it's fair to the seller or an ethical strategy. In fact, one of the agents in my office has the seller sign a release before each inspection. If the buyer "nickel and dimes" the seller after the negotiation, the release is immediately sent. (He claims that it has never been signed and returned.)
Please share your thoughts and how you have played either side of this game.