For me, the best answer to this question would most likely be, yes. While there are some buyers that have extensive building or construction backgrounds and may have the ability to self inspect a property, the vast majority of buyers do not have the necessary training and background to adequately determine whether there are significant problems with the property they are considering buying.
It is important to consider that inspectors are trained and licensed to perform this particular function, and their experience can provide valuable cost savings information for the untrained buyer. Many inspectors have years of experience, and as a result, they can easily spot problems areas, poor construction, non compliance with code issues, potential hazardous problems, and as a result of their experience and inspection can provide the buyer recommendations where problems need to be corrected. Most of the time, inspection reports are thorough, accurate, and very detailed, which is all very useful for the buyer to ensure that they understand what they are buying.
Although there are buyers and some agents that may not believe in the importance of an inspection, all parties should consider that an inspection provides an independent third party professional opinion relating to the condition of the improvements. Not only should it be considered a way to provide assurances to the buyer, but it actually can help protect not only the clients, but also, the agents through additional third party documentation. It boggles the mind to think about all the problems that could ultimately arise after a sale from not having an inspection performed from a licensed inspector. As an agent, you might lose a few sales as a result of an inspection, but that should be viewed as a good thing, since those sales could have easily ended up in a post closing problem or dispute. By recommending that a buyer get an inspection, a third party independent opinion, buyers will respect your efforts to protect them and to ensure that they know what they are buying. It really is one of the strongest tools for all parties.
As an agent, you should consider that as a result of the inspection, there may be repair requirements placed on the seller. It's important for someone to follow up on the repairs to verify that they have been completed and done in accordance with acceptable industry practices to avoid any misunderstandings at a later date. This can be accomplished through a follow up visit by the inspector or by the buyer or some other buyer's representative. While the agent can recommend and remind the buyer of the follow up, the actual confirmation of repairs process should be left to the pros.