Part I: When it comes to certain issues.......
IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE!
This post is directed to any and all stakeholders involved with a real estate transaction be you a homebuyer, home seller, real estate professional, contractor, home inspector, lender, title or escrow company.
Above left: A very futile attempt at installing an effective French Drain system. No matter how many times we've all heard it....Water doesn't flow uphill. This might have worked had the installer kept the drain line flowing with gravity towards a storm drain or into a sump well and pump system that would divert it to a storm drain system.
Middle: Drains don't function well whence damaged or clogged.
Right: This catch basin will have to have a major 3 inch flood on this property in order for it to function. Always place catch basins below ground level and at the lowest spots on the property allowing water to gravity flow towards them.
Over he years we've been involved with many unhappy and disgruntled folks over drainage related problems and things can really get extremely costly, time consuming, frustrating and very ugly literally and figuratively.
Don't let this happen to you no matter where you are on the ladder. You must be proactive or it could come back to haunt you for years to come.
If you're a home seller you could get sued.
If you're a RE professional better check your E & O insurance.
If you're a home inspector get ready for a law suit that could drive you out of business.
If you're a home buyer/owner. Get ready for months perhaps even years of grief, frustration, expensive repairs and inconvenience whether you like it or not.
While you are hoping to win a legal battle you will be shelling out thousands of dollars in the process for proactive and deferred maintenance.
Home Inspectors don't cut the inspection short by not wanting to belly crawl the distance under a crawl space and be sure to walk the property thoroughly looking for low spots and ponding or standing water.
Also look for signs of soil erosion and flow paths leading to these ponds. If you can't or don't wish to comment on these issues inform the homeowner and potential buyer to seek the advice of other experts i.e. civil engineers or experienced drainage contractors who do deal with drainage issues regularly.
Above: Cracked expansive & contracting soil. This is your first sign of a chronic drainage problem or a plumbing leak. In either case should you see this be you a home buyer, seller, RE professional, or home inspector don't close the door and walk away. THIS PROBLEM WILL NOT GO AWAY with you!
HERE'S WHAT HAPPENS
Water permeates around and under the crawl space and/or slab.
After a period of time if this situation is not addressed moisture, mold, and mildew will begin to take it's toll and eventually the entire structure could become inundated with tens of thousands of dollars in damage and in some cases even a total loss.
Now that you have an idea of all the horrific things that could happen to your home, listing, sale or inspection take the time and spend the money to be proactive from the very beginning so you will never have to deal with this ugly issue.
As an EXPERT WITNESS for the past 20 years dealing with drainage and almost every other construction defect issue I can tell you that DRAINAGE is perhaps one of the most costly, time consuming and painful experiences you could ever go through no matter where you are in the line up.
In Part II I will share some very basic and comparatively easy ways to go about dealing with this issue before it ever has a chance to become a NIGHTMARE.
But understand that although it is imperative that you deal with a drainage issue it is not always going to be easy on your pocket book.
Remember, even if you resolve your drainage issue it is still an issue and should always be disclosed. I'll explain more in Part II.