Often, the touchiest part of a real estate purchase involves the delicate dance of requesting repairs. A real estate agent will be able to identify trouble that you may not see, as well as recommend a good independent home inspector who will provide a detailed report on problems with the house.
These reports can be dozens of pages long. Within all those pages, some problems are important and others aren't. If the house is in reasonably good condition, requests for repairs can make or break a deal. The agent will have a good sense of what's reasonable to request and what's excessive.
In many cases, it depends on you as the buyer, too. An agent can read the situation and suggest what would work for you. "Each buyer has a different tolerance for what they need to do," says Elizabeth Mendenhall, the 2011 vice president of committees for the National Association of Realtors. "Some need [a house] to be in a better condition."