Besides termites, the number one enemy of the wood on your home is moisture. Given an entrance point, moisture that gets behind the paint on your house can wick its way into the woods fiber through capillary action and remain trapped there, invisible to the eye where mold and rot will occur. Wood reacts to temperature changes by expanding and contracting, so if you have areas exposed to frequent wetting from rain, irrigation systems, dripping plants etc, that are not adequately protected, you can have a recipe for rot. Areas most prone to this infiltration are places where horizontal and vertical pieces come together. Homes with wood siding typically have vertical corner boards and horizontal siding. Wood expands far more across the grain than with it, so the vertical corner board will shrink, opening a crack that moisture can penetrate. Care should taken to inspect any likely spot that regularly gets wet for adequate caulking, check for cracks in the caulking, or dry brittle caulking. If you suspect that there may be some rot, an ice pick used to probe spots is a good way to find it.
Clogged rain gutters are another big problem that can lead to rotted fascia and soffits. You should have your gutters cleaned once a year to remove debris and install gutter screens to prevent debris from accumulating. When cleaning your gutters you should always have you head above the gutter so that you can see what you are cleaning. I know of at least one incidence of some one getting bit by a pygmy rattler that was in the gutter.
Some things are better left to professionals, like termite inspections. You may be able to see tubes of the subterranean termite some times, but dry wood termites don’t build tubes. You should look for droppings around windows and along baseboards, look for what looks like brown sand, but when it comes to termites and other wood destroying organisms, or WDO it is always best to have a professional inspector conduct an indepth inspection.
To wrap up, almost nothing can match the beauty of a finely designed and crafted wood home and with proper maintenance they can last for centuries as we see in the historical sections of almost every city in the country, from Arid LA, to Boston, to sultry Miami or New Orleans. In short, your wood home will serve you well if you give it just a little regular care.