Drainage-related issues can turn a dream investment into a nightmare for homebuyers. Home inspectors can come to the rescue for would-be homeowners by identifying drainage issues before a buyer seals the property deal.

Water is the number one enemy in home inspections, home inspector Rick Yerger told HGTV.com. Damaging and costly water damage to the structure causes foundation problems, rot and “the dreaded mold,” according to HGTV.com.

Overlooking or ignoring drainage issues—existing or potential—could take not only a significant financial but also a physical toll on homeowners, according to an article by NDS, a manufacturer of drainage and storm water management products, published on RealtyBizNews.com.

Drainage-related issues can turn a dream investment into a nightmare for homebuyers.

Among the potential health consequences of poor drainage, according to the June 10, 2017 article:

Drainage problems related to roof runoff can flow into basements or invade a home’s foundation through cracks and leaks. Warped floor boards and potential electrical problems are only the beginning of what can result in unhealthy amounts of mold and mildew, and unwelcomed insects and rodents.

The pest problem from standing water that results from inadequate or nonexistent drainage is especially concerning. Gutter downspouts that don’t do their jobs correctly can create pools of standing water, which becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. As many have seen on the news in recent years, mosquitoes carry disease, including West Nile and Zika viruses, as well as heartworms.

According to NDS article, financial tolls associated with poor drainage can be devastating and include:

A blog on GutterHelmet.com suggested the cost to drain a basement of sewage or otherwise tainted water could be as high as $25,000.

Most home buyers spend just under $4,000 to repair foundation issues, according to HomeAdvisor.com.

There’s also the long-term issue of a home’s value. NDS cited information by the National Association of REALTORS® that a home’s value can plummet 10 to 15% if it has a major drainage issue or damage to its foundation.

A blog on GutterHelmet.com suggested the cost to drain a basement of sewage or otherwise tainted water could be as high as $25,000.

Home inspectors to the rescue

RealtyBizNews.com recommends simple steps when checking for drainage issues around a home. One of those steps: Walk around the home’s perimeter, looking for dirt adjacent to the foundation that angles, or slopes, toward the home. This could result in wet crawl spaces, structural damage and mold. It should slope away from the house.

Check rain gutters and downspouts to make sure they’re functioning properly. For example, gutter downspouts should carry water 10 feet or more away from the home, according to NDS.

Inspect for cracks in exterior walls and a home’s foundation. A crack wide enough for a quarter to slip through could mean the home has foundation settling issues, and often the cause is that gutters and downspouts are delivering water too close to the foundation, according to the article.

Look for water stains in the basement. Especially troubling are water stains high on the foundation wall, which could be traced to an overflowing gutter or runoff that hasn’t drained properly.

Asking a few questions can go a long way in determining if is a home might have drainage issues, according to NDS. One of those: “What happens when it rains?”