In general, when you are reading a Sellers Disclosure it is just that- from the Seller and not the agent. However when a house has issues that are discovered by an inspector, then it is the legal duty of the agent to let any future potential buyers know.
In cases of 'distressed homes' for whatever reason, the condition of a house could deteriorate over time - often these types of homes are neglected or not lived in at all. Changes in temperature, which bring moisture problems, and potentially problems with pipes and major systems, all types of malfunctions can develop over time beyond the merely cosmetic issues that you may spot. Look for cracks in the drywall, gaps in flooring, water stains, foggy windows, damp basements, etc.
That is when the 'as is' clause is most used. It is important to have a special clause in any agreement of a potential sale... to allow time for estimates for repairs and perhaps an engineer's inspection in those circumstances beyond the building inspectors' training.
Even in a more typical sale situation, a certified home inspector is crucial. Professional quality repairs are recommended, in order to maintain the value of the property. I use my own background in renovation and design to guide clients to a 'best practices' method of negotiating repairs. I prefer that my buyer manage or have oversight of any repairs, and charge it back to the Seller in one of several ways, depending on the individual circumstances.
If I have a Seller with a property that is older or has apparent repairs that need to be done, my advise is to do professional repairs before putting the house through inspections. Many sales go sour and the Seller looses precious time on the market otherwise.