Do your buyers think that once the home inspection is over and the concessions have been negotiated, they're done? Remind them that their own annual inspection can save them a bundle by preventing headaches and spotting problems while they're still minor.
Outside the house, they can use binoculars to get a good look at the status of high walls, the chimney, and the roof line. Make sure everything is level and looks solid. There shouldn't be any crumbling in masonry or rot in wood. Also, look for crags and clogs around gutters and downspouts, cracked or peeling paint, and blockages or cracks around the chimney. The roof might be missing shingles, or tree branches might provide a path for pests to enter the house. Anything that lets water in can be a particular source of long-term problems.
Lower down, they should keep an eye on the grade around the foundation, check the driveway and garage for loose or cracked asphalt, examine caulk and other seals around windows, and check above and below stairs, decks, and porches for problems.
Inside, a flashlight comes in handy even in well-lit areas to help highlight small flaws. Check walls and ceilings for stains that suggest mildew or mold, kitchen backsplashes and seals for open spaces that let moisture in, tub surrounds for entry points for water, stairs and railings for solid structures, and other features to prevent long-term deterioration.
Finally, turn on hot and cold water at every faucet to look for leaks; start the heating and cooling systems to find loose pipes and listen for irregular sounds; and check boilers and heaters for problems. Doing this regularly ensures that your customers understand what normal is like so they can spot anything not normal as soon as possible.
And remind them that knowing their house inside and out gives them not only a solid home but also a line on a good market price and the comfort of knowing the home should receive a good inspection when it finally does go on the market.