Location! Location! Location! That's what you need to think about when buying a home, but after you've bought that home in a great location, your theme needs to become Maintenance! Maintenance! Maintenance! Nothing will decrease the value of your home faster than neglecting those maintenance chores.
Water is worse than a wreaking ball when it comes to destroying homes, so do everything you can to MAINTAIN the features of your home that keep outside water out, and inside water confined to pipes. Even a small leak can result in big problems with mold or structural damage.
Rain gutters and downspouts are an excellent way to keep water away from the foundation of your house, but they only work if they are clear of debris. Use your garden hose to fill the gutters with water and check the downspouts to make sure they are clear and the water is directed away from the house.
Last year we had Starlings build nests in all 4 of our downspouts. What a mess! We cleared the nests, which were the entire length of the downspouts, and fit screen covers over the holes. No bird nests this year!