One of the most common things I find when inspecting a home is the proper use and maintenance of the gutters and downspouts.  These systems are designed to keep water away from the foundation of your home.  By extending the downspouts 6 feet or more away from your home you prevent water from saturating the soil next to the foundation.   Water next to the foundation will expand and contract during the freeze and thaw cycles of winter, putting undue stress on the foundation of your home.  A damaged foundation is one of the most expensive repairs you will encounter on a home.   Given the relatively low cost of replacing and maintaining your gutters and downspouts I am surprised how many home owners neglect this key component of their home.

One other point I would like to make, most modern homes have downspouts that easily lift up out of the way and lock in place.  This feature should be used only to move the downspouts out of the way to do lawn or yard maintenance.  Once you have completed the tasks at hand, replace the downspouts in the down position ready to do their job during the next rain storm.  I have yet to meet someone who runs outside at the first sign of rain to “put down” the downspouts.