Your Annual Inspection

Set a date to inspect your investment annually.

Take notes and pictures.

Look on the outside first. 

Look closely at horizontal ledges and areas where water may run towards the house. 
Downspout locations are common problem areas.
Look also for any cracks or gaps in the foundation or siding. 
Determining the cause and significance might best be left for a professional. Monitoring any you find unless significant (large, surface planes off, sister crack) would be your first step. Try measuring cracks with a familiar item (match stick, pencil), document and photograph.

Exhaust vent hoods need to be clear and have a functioning flap.

When you go inside, look at areas where you noticed problems outside. 
Darkness or peeling surfaces are an indication of moisture. 

This may be a good time to check the furnace filter.

Inspect and clean out dryer vent hose. 

Look into those areas that don't see the light of day.    

This is a good start at getting to know your home. 
Being familiar helps to prevent small repairs from ballooning.